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In this March 28, 2017, file photo, surrounded by miners from Rosebud Mining, U.S. President Donald Trump signs he Energy Independence Executive Order at the EPA Headquarters in Washington, D.C. In this March 28, 2017, file photo, surrounded by miners from Rosebud Mining, U.S. President Donald Trump signs he Energy Independence Executive Order at the EPA Headquarters in Washington, D.C. Jim Watson/AFP/Getty Images

Energy Week: The Importance of Unrestricted Energy

By Ken Blackwell 11 July, 2017

This week, President Trump is scheduled to talk extensively about U.S. energy policy and the administration’s push for “energy dominance.” This comes at a time when oil giants like OPEC are looking more fragile than ever. Both the President and his team are putting in place policies to continue the boom in domestic energy. They aim to turn America into an energy exporter with fewer limits and regulations on American energy production.

It’s clear that some of Trump’s greatest triumphs have come in the form of cutting harmful energy regulations. These include the Energy Independence Executive Order, the elimination of the Stream Protection Rule, and the extension of the National Air Quality Standards (NAAQS) for ozone. Each are major actions designed to combat the federal overreach that Americans have dealt with for the past eight years.

Supporting Our Energy Infrastructure

Economic growth in the U.S. is dependent on a vibrant energy infrastructure and a regulatory environment that supports business growth. Halfway through 2017, the United States’ economy is looking strong. Job growth, employment rates and wage growth all show significant increases. Consumer confidence and economic optimism both jumped to nine-year highs, as people finally start to feel financially secure.

Energy is one of the largest drivers of economic revenue in the country. It’s also one of the greatest sources of jobs. 6.4 million Americans work in the traditional energy and energy efficiency industries. These industries added 300,000 new jobs over the course of 2016 and represented about 14% of the nation’s job growth. We have a bounty of resources in America. Petroleum, natural gas and coal account for more than 75% of our energy consumption. These fuels are used to support transportation and industrial projects while keeping utility prices low.

President Trump is doing a good job of fighting the harmful regulations put in place by Obamas team. In the past, politicians have waged war on the energy industry instead of using our vast resources to bring economic prosperity. During Obamas time in office, the EPA published thousands of complex regulations — like the Clean Power Plan, EPA Regional Haze Goals, and EPA Emissions Standards. All of these ideological hurdles have worked to undermine the energy infrastructure in resource-rich states.

Stopping the Harmful Clean Power Plan

The Clean Power Plan, for example, would have required North Dakota to reduce its carbon dioxide emission rate by 44.9%. Thats despite the fact that North Dakota is one of only 12 states that achieves all of EPA’s air quality standards for public health. Even if all industry was shut down in the state, the EPA Regional Haze goals would still be impossible to achieve.

Energy regulations are needed, but let’s be clear. None of these even make a dent in the effort to curb emissions. Its limited environmental gain for real economic pain. The Clean Power Plan is projected to reduce global CO2 emissions by a mere 1.8% by 2030 and forestall global warming by 0.019 degrees Celsius over the next 83 years. This negligible difference is not worth the measures $39 billion price tag for consumers and businesses.

Beyond businesses, its the poor and the elderly who are hit the hardest. In Wisconsin, for example, the Clean Power Plan would increase the average electricity prices by nearly 20%. That will affect whether or not someone can heat their home or put food on the table.

Reducing Regulatory Burden

The Trump administration has embraced a top down and bottom up approach to dismantling the government-wide architecture put in place by Obamas team. The former viewed nearly every action or policy through the lens of its impact on climate change and greenhouse gas emissions.

Take the revisions to the National Ambient Air Quality Standard (NAAQS) for ozone. Under Obama, the EPA lowered the mandated standard to 70 parts per billion. In doing so, it effectively destroyed tens of thousands of jobs across the country. Areas that would not be able to meet the new standards would face the threat of “increased regulatory burdens, restrictions on infrastructure investment, and increased costs to businesses.”

Replacing open threats with genuine cooperation, the Trump administration has decided to work with the states. That way they can address their environmental responsibilities without devastating their economies. Just earlier this month, EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt announced that they will extend deadlines for the 2015 Ozone area designations. They will also “continue to work with states to ensure they are on a path to compliance.”

This energy week, I applaud the president for taking a stand and supporting affordable energy. A push for U.S. dominance in the energy space is better for both the average American’s wallet and our national security. The Trump administration is doing something from which we can all benefit — unleashing the United States energy industry.

Last modified on Tuesday, 11 July 2017 15:17
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Ken Blackwell

Ken Blackwell is the Senior Fellow for Family Empowerment at the Family Research Council. He is a national bestselling author of three books: Rebuilding America: A Prescription For Creating Strong Families, Building The Wealth Of Working People, And Ending WelfareThe Blueprint: Obama’s Plan to Subvert the Constitution and Build an Imperial Presidency; and Resurgent: How Constitutional Conservatism Can Save America.

Mr. Blackwell has served as mayor of Cincinnati, Treasurer and Secretary of State for Ohio, undersecretary at the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, and U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Human Rights Commission.

Ken’s commentaries have been published in major newspapers and websites: the Wall Street JournalUSA Today, the New York TimesWashington PostWashington Times, and Investor’s Business Daily. In addition, he has been interviewed by many media outlets including CBS’s Face the Nation, NBC’s Meet the Press, ABC’s This Week, and Fox News Sunday.

He holds Bachelor of Science and Master of Education degrees from Xavier University in Ohio, where he later served as a vice president and member of its faculty. In 1992, he received Xavier’s Distinguished Alumnus Award and was inducted into Xavier’s Athletic Hall of Fame in 2015.

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