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Jim Tait 02/01-02/28/17

home : opinions : opinions July 25, 2017

7/11/2017 7:28:00 AM
Trump can make American energy dominant
Stephen Moore
Columnist

At the recent Unleashing American Energy event, Donald Trump renewed his promise of an era of American global energy dominance. He said this energy superpower status would be gained by using all of our energy resources. He also noted that in just six months, we've reduced the petroleum share of the trade deficit by 5 percent. What a welcome change from Barack Obama, whose administration took every possible step to stop American fossil fuel development.

Trump recognizes what almost all his critics choose to ignore: We are entering an age of American energy renaissance that will last many decades. While the left keeps placing bad bets on expensive and unreliable green energy, Trump has a more robust and realistic strategy: Make the United States the 21st century's Saudi Arabia. We are well on our way, given the continuing story of the shale oil and gas explosion.

Since 2007 America has increased its oil and gas output by 75 percent, with most of it coming from North Dakota, Texas, Oklahoma, West Virginia and Pennsylvania.

Since 2015, when Republicans in Congress passed a law ending the ban on oil and gas exports, the U.S. has exported more than 150 million barrels of crude.

At the moment, natural gas is the disruptive energy source which is blowing away the competition. This is good news for America, because we have far more natural gas than anyone, with perhaps the exception of Saudi Arabia. The U.S. has by far the cheapest natural gas and is capable of replacing the Middle East and Russia as primary suppliers to Europe and Asia.

Thanks in part to Trump's energy vision, we are now building liquefied gas terminals which will lead to sharp increases in exports of our abundant natural gas. Bloomberg reports, "Since starting up last year, Cheniere Energy Inc.'s Sabine Pass terminal in Louisiana - the first major facility sending shale gas overseas - has shipped more than 100 cargoes of LNG overseas."

Pipelines are necessary to make this energy future possible, and Trump is already greenlighting such projects that were delayed or killed by Barack Obama.

If we are to sprint ahead of the rest of the world when it comes to energy production, we need to allow drilling on federal lands. We are talking about unlocking some $50 trillion of energy assets lying underneath us. Just the royalties, leases and income taxes generated from all of this energy treasure would raise about $2 trillion for the federal treasury.

Coal production this year is up about 15 percent, according to The Wall Street Journal, and mining jobs are back as well. That's thanks to Trump's reversal of Obama-era regulations meant to bankrupt coal. We need cheap coal to produce steel and other manufactured goods in America, so coal production is basic to keeping blue-collar and hard-hat jobs here at home in Pennsylvania, Michigan, Ohio, Indiana and West Virginia. Out of necessity, Big Coal is learning how to produce cleaner and cheaper coal every day, as the industry that still supplies nearly one-third of our electricity competes with natural gas.

Instead of importing $200 billion of energy every year, the U.S. and Canada could soon easily be exporting that amount. Of course, the current low global price of oil - below $50 a barrel - has all producers struggling mightily as the world absorbs a wonderful glut of cheap energy. But the amazing American frackers are discovering new ways of producing more and more energy at lower and lower costs.

The industry which has gotten most financially flattened by low natural gas prices is green energy. As long as natural gas prices stay below $3 per million cubic feet, wind and solar are as viable as cold fusion for years to come.

Without billions upon billions of government mandates, tax credits, production subsidies and other tax giveaways, there would be virtually no wind and solar industry today in the U.S. What other industry couldn't create jobs if the government kept showering it with billions of dollars of free money? We've been doing this since the 1970s. Perhaps there will be breakthroughs which make green energy viable, but we've heard those unfulfilled promises now for 40 years.

No one knows where the future will take us with energy technology, but for now, no nation is better poised to exploit the new global age of shale energy. Better still, this is a fortuitous outcome that won't cost the government money but instead will raise trillions of new tax dollars to fund public programs.

It's a testament to Trump's vision and gut instincts that a real estate developer from the Northeast gets that when so many so-called energy experts, including Obama, don't.

Stephen Moore is a distinguished visiting fellow at the Heritage Foundation and a senior economic analyst with CNN. His latest book is "Fueling Freedom: Exposing the Mad War on Energy." To find out more about Stephen Moore and read features by other Creators Syndicate writers and cartoonists, visit the Creators Syndicate webpage at www.creators.com.

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