Heat or eat: That heart wrenching choice grows more probable for countless Americans with surging inflation, gasoline and natural gas prices at seven-year highs, and Americans’ winter heating bills set to rise by at least $13.6 billion over last year.
These alarming jolts have been exacerbated by recent decisions that have discouraged investment in American energy by making it almost impossible to site or build new pipelines. One only has to look at the cancelled and litigated projects in Pennsylvania (PennEast, Constitution, New England Supply Enhancement) that slammed the door shut on family-sustaining union jobs and harmed local businesses. As energy prices increase, everyday products that use plastic or petroleum become more expensive – burdening families, businesses and those living in poverty.
Fortunately, we can fix this with the right policies. America is the world’s largest oil and gas producer – a fact that for a few years, insulated us from the price shocks that foreign nations orchestrated for decades when we did not control our energy destiny. Curiously, we are begging OPEC for more oil, when we could produce it ourselves.
We must continue to add more clean energy sources and build on America’s environmental leadership as the world’s largest reducer of emissions for two decades. Yet to do that without tanking our economy or creating unacceptable California- and Texas-style blackouts, we need to recognize that oil, gas and infrastructure are all essential to a thriving economy, energy security and part of the path to meeting our Paris climate goals.Author: Mike Butler