What the Midterm Elections Mean for Energy
The 2016 election ushered in a new era of energy optimism. For eight years the Obama Administration strangled America’s natural gas, coal, and oil producers with unnecessary red tape, but the Trump Administration has swiftly worked to reduce barriers to the production, use, and exportation of our abundant natural resources. The results speak for themselves. America is on a path to becoming a net energy exporter for the first time since 1953 and ultimately a global energy superpower.
Pipeline permitting, regulatory streamlining, and reopening federal lands and waters to energy development are just a few of the key changes that the Trump Administration and Republican-led Congress have initiated. We know that energy is the lifeblood of our economy and these policy improvements are providing the foundation for a robust economic boom. But just as the tide has turned in favor of energy freedom, the 2018 midterm elections loom, threatening to thwart the president’s pro-growth energy agenda.
To take back the House, the Democrats need to gain just 23 seats. Ominously for Republicans, dating back to the Eisenhower years the average number of seats lost by a president’s party following his first election is 24.
With the parties more divergent now than ever, especially on energy policy, the stakes are high. America’s continued growth and prosperity is hanging in the balance. To paint the picture of how damaging a Speaker Pelosi could be to the continued vibrancy of America’s energy sector, look no further than the Democratic party platform.
The platform reads like a death sentence for energy freedom -- and by extension a death sentence for affordable, reliable energy. It can be summarized in three points: Drive up energy prices. Force people out of their cars. Spend billions of taxpayer dollars on renewables and other pet technologies.
Affordable energy is a hallmark of economic progress, enabling all other areas of the economy to thrive. Yet, the Democratic platform promises to increase energy prices by pushing for a carbon tax, increases in the archaic Corporate Average Fuel Economy (CAFE) mandate, increased subsidization of renewables and electric vehicles, and support for costly regulations like the so-called Clean Power Plan (CPP).
What the platform doesn’t tell voters is that each of these measures would drive up the costs of the electricity and transportation that Americans rely upon. The CPP, which President Trump has rightly cancelled, would result in double-digit percentage increases in the price of electricity in many states. CAFE mandates, which the Trump Administration is currently reforming, have already made automobiles several thousands of dollars more expensive.
The Democratic Party’s key energy goal is the complete elimination of natural gas, coal, and oil from our society no matter the cost to American families. This manifests in various ways including their push for climate change regulations, as well as in the use of taxpayer funds to subsidize expensive technologies like electric vehicles, which today only benefit wealthy individuals and big corporations like Tesla and General Motors.
The Democrats also plan to spend taxpayer money on their preferred sources of electricity generation, namely, windmills and solar panels. The Democrats are “committed to getting 50 percent of our electricity from clean energy sources within a decade, with half a billion solar panels installed within four years and enough renewable energy to power every home in the country.” This flies in the face of reality, will unnecessarily threaten the reliability of our electricity grid, and will send electricity bills through the roof. As we have seen in deep blue states like New York and California, these stringent renewable requirements tend to backfire at the expense of both taxpayers and ratepayers.
Fueled by the environmental left, today’s Democratic party has officially and unapologetically turned its back on abundant, affordable and reliable energy, and consequently, those of lesser means. With 46 mentions of climate change and just 27 of wages in the entirety of the party platform, is there any question as to where the Democrats’ priorities lie?
The midterms are Tuesday and when it comes to energy policy, the choice is clear. While the Republican majority could be doing a lot more to support President Trump’s agenda, a Democratic controlled House will do whatever it takes to thwart the president’s progress towards unleashing our energy potential, and thus deny American families the economic benefits that come from affordable and reliable domestic energy.
Thomas J. Pyle is President of the American Energy Alliance (AEA).