'Keep it in the Ground': Not the Energy Plan We Need

'Keep it in the Ground': Not the Energy Plan We Need

America’s energy revolution has resulted in record-low oil and gas prices, which have allowed us to keep warm for less, use energy-intensive electronics like smartphones, drive more than ever, and better provide for our families.

For many, the pleasantries of everyday life are made better with abundant, safe, and affordable energy. For others, reliable and inexpensive energy ensures shelter, food, clothing, and the ability to make a better life.

If you’re an energy consumer – and if you’re reading this, you are – your life has been made better by America’s energy revolution.

Unfortunately, according to the International Energy Agency (IEA), this could all change.

The IEA recently warned consumers not to let the current low price of oil and gasoline fool them into a false sense of security amid forecasts of a price spikes in the next few years.

“It is easy for consumers to be lulled into complacency by ample stocks and low prices today, but they should heed the writing on the wall,” IEA executive director Fatih Birol cautioned. “The historic investment cuts we are seeing raise the odds of unpleasant oil-security surprises in the not-so-distant future.”

This warning is a stark reminder that today’s budget-friendly energy prices might soon be the good old times of tomorrow if we don’t maintain a domestic all-of-the-above energy strategy – a strategy that, as President Obama outlined in a State of the Union speech a few years back, “develops every available source of American energy.”

That includes oil, gas, coal, nuclear, and renewables. Each complements and supports the expansion of the next. It’s not a pick-and-choose kind of thing.

Unfortunately, anti-energy groups, sensing how low energy prices have weakened America’s energy revolution, are on the attack, pushing for a so-called “energy plan” that experts say resembles more of a “none-of-the-above” strategy than an “all-of-the-above.” To compound matters, they have yet to offer any real solutions to meeting our modern energy needs without fossil fuels.

Do they not know that they won’t be able to tweet or post to Facebook without electricity from natural gas?

The campaign is called “Keep in the Ground,” and it’s the latest in the push from environmental extremists. Its goal is to block as much energy development on public and private lands as possible, no matter the how safe it could be, and regardless of how stringent the regulatory process becomes. Any project related to fossil energy – pipelines, processing plants, oil exploration, and electricity generation – is an automatic no-no, supporters say, no matter what.

Even if it leaves you and me footing a bill that looks a lot different from the ones we’ve grown accustomed to recently. Are you ready to go back to $5-per-gallon gas and ever-increasing utility costs?

If you’re appalled by the thought of that, imagine those far less fortunate than yourself.

Low-income families living paycheck to paycheck spend a larger percentage of their disposable income on electricity, heating costs and transportation fuels than those in other income brackets. Unlike other necessities – housing, food, and healthcare, for instance – these consumers oftentimes cannot shop for cheaper resources, and most federal and state governments do not have sufficient resources allocated to assist with their bills.

Because the cost of energy is embedded in nearly every good and service we use, price spikes in energy often act as a regressive tax for families, seniors living on fixed incomes, and those with incomes below the poverty level.

That means that the last thing consumers need is an unproven, unrealistic anti-fossil fuel strategy led by extremists that simply opposes every energy project out of hand and threatens to disrupt America’s electrical grid reliability, reduce our energy security, drive up prices, and cut high-wage jobs.

When evaluating the impact of energy policies on consumers, policymakers must consider how prices affect the most vulnerable among us: low-income and fixed-income families for whom price increases result in difficult decisions. Likewise, they need to ponder what hard-working consumers really need – a well-balanced energy mix that centers on rate affordability, energy security, job growth, and power reliability.

Such a strategy would appropriately continue our incredible run of protecting the environment and expanding American energy development in an effort to meet the basic economic needs of our citizens for generations to come.

Now that’s a real energy plan that should not be kept in the ground.

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