ICYMI: America's Energy Revolution Requires A New Architecture Of Abundance
By Energy and Commerce Committee Chairman Fred Upton (R-MI)
Technological advances have dramatically transformed our lives over the last decade. Thanks to new advancements and American ingenuity, we can now grocery shop from our living rooms, monitor our heart rate and sleep habits on our smart phones, and check email while 35,000 feet in the air. But often overlooked is how technology and innovation have changed the way we produce and consume energy. Advanced energy technologies have unlocked vast supplies of American energy resources and spurred an energy revolution in this country. Technology took us from energy scarcity to energy abundance.
But like with any technological revolution, we are faced with new opportunities and challenges, especially when it comes to infrastructure. The Industrial Revolution required the construction of the Transcontinental Railroad, the invention of the telephone required a new cross-country telecommunications network, the rise of the Internet required broadband deployment, and this new energy revolution requires the construction of a visionary Architecture of Abundance. America’s new energy abundance requires a new and improved energy infrastructure to meet market demands and keep prices affordable for consumers and businesses.
But as so often happens in Washington, our policies have not kept pace with new technologies and breakthroughs in the private sector. Many policies and beliefs are still rooted in the obsolete assumptions of energy shortages, standing in the way of new opportunities and growth and obstructing the construction of this much-needed energy infrastructure.
A case in point is the Keystone XL pipeline. The review of this landmark jobs and energy project has now exceeded 2,000 days. And to add insult to injury, the Obama administration has just announced they will extend the review process indefinitely. We will never be allowed to take full advantage of North America’s growing energy resources if it takes over five years to simply approve a privately-built pipeline. We are going to need to build dozens of new oil and natural gas pipelines and transmission lines over the next decade to fully realize the potential our newfound energy abundance.
Remember also, we already import more than a million barrels of oil from Canada every day. With the political unrest in Nigeria, Venezuela, and Russia, isn’t it better to rely on our friends like Canada?
The Energy and Commerce Committee is meeting this challenge to update and modernize our distribution infrastructure. We have advanced legislation to reform permitting processes for interstate natural gas pipelines and cross-border energy projects. By cutting red tape and eliminating bottlenecks, we can get projects in the ground sooner, create jobs, and help deliver affordable and reliable supplies to American consumers and businesses. And with our success in passing pipeline safety legislation into law, we can ensure that these pipelines will be safer than ever before.
Our energy abundance has also opened new opportunities and markets abroad, but our current infrastructure and regulatory policies are choking off this potential. For example, the Department of Energy’s slow process for approving liquefied natural gas (LNG) export applications is threatening the opportunity for America become a natural gas export superpower. Exporting more American natural gas will help provide our allies greater energy security while improving our economy and creating jobs here at home. It will also send a message to Russia’s heavy-handed aggression. That’s why we are moving thoughtful legislation to clear the backlog of applications at DOE and update the approval process so we can start building more export facilities.
Private sector innovation and advancements in technology created a new 21st century energy landscape, and we now need a 21st century energy infrastructure. Our job as policymakers is to pursue visionary policies that will allow this Architecture of Abundance to soon become a reality.