As for more forward-thinking policy choices, first and foremost should be increasing access to our nation’s vast supply of affordable energy resources. According to the Institute for Energy Research’s North American Energy Inventory, the United States is host to more than 1.4 trillion barrels of technically recoverable oil and 2.7 quadrillion cubic feet of recoverable natural gas. Exploration for and development of these energy supplies could create hundreds of thousands of jobs and spur enormous economic growth. Consider:
Granting the permits necessary to explore and produce offshore resources in the Chukchi and Beaufort Seas in Alaska would help maintain capacity in the critical TransAlaska Pipeline, as well as deliver an additional 1.4 million barrels of oil per day to U.S. markets. Further, approving the Keystone XL pipeline, which a majority of Americans already support, would bring more than 700,000 barrels per day, along with more than 20,000 immediate jobs and $5.2 billion in revenues for the corridor states alone.
Also critical to establishing sanity in our energy policy is restoring the Gulf of Mexico to its pre-Macondo production levels, which would add 130,000 barrels per day to the nation’s energy supplies. The sum total of these three steps -- all of which can be done easily by this Administration or one that follows -- would increase domestic oil supplies by 2.2 million barrels of oil per day and create 114,700 high-paying American jobs.
This does not mean, of course, that we should abandon the development of renewable energy sources such as solar and wind. In fact, we should develop these sources more aggressively to further diversify our national energy portfolio and, in turn, increase energy security.
However, during this election year we must demand specific answers in regards to our nation’s energy portfolio from the President and candidates alike. Indeed, a well defined plan to unleash the nation's full range of energy resources is the one New Year’s resolution that will provide the most benefit to American consumers, as well as the economy.