American Elephants

Where Are The Jobs? Sitting On a Bureaucrat’s Desk. by The Elephant's Child

The main concern of the American people, in spite all efforts to get them concerned about other things, remains the economy and jobs. It seems that the administration has given up on job creation, expecting the economy to recover without its help. Our energy sector is booming, the portion of the sector that operates on private lands. The Department of Energy reported on its website last week:

While the overall energy history of the United States is one of significant change as new forms of energy were developed, the three major fossil fuels—petroleum, natural gas, and coal, which together provided 87% of total U.S. primary energy over the past decade—have dominated the U.S. fuel mix for well over 100 years. Recent increases in the domestic production of petroleum liquids and natural gas have prompted shifts between the uses of fossil fuels (largely from coal-fired to natural gas-fired power generation), but the predominance of these three energy sources is likely to continue into the future. (emphasis added)

President Obama has consistently promoted renewable energy sources, and said during the 2012 campaign that “We’ve got to look at the energy sources of the future, like wind and solar and biofuels, and make those investments.” By ‘investments’ he clearly means massive taxpayer subsidies for wind, solar and biofuel. He speaks dismissively of fossil fuels as “the energy of the past, ” an unfortunate designation.

Allowing increased natural gas exports would be a real boost for the American economy as it would expand American market opportunities. According to a new study from the American Council for Capital Formation (ACCF) expanded natural gas exports would:

  • increase employment by between 73,100 and 452,300 jobs;
  • increase manufacturing job growth by between 7,800 and 76,800 jobs;
  • Grow American GDP by $15.6 billion to $73.6 billion per year on average.

The advent of hydraulic fracturing (fracking) has not only opened up huge deposits of natural gas, but the country now has the potential to become a net exporter of natural gas. Energy Secretary Ernest Moniz said there would be decisions this year about the exports.

The Greens strenuously oppose increased exports, claiming the long-term environmental impacts are unclear,  but fears that the exports would raise domestic energy prices seem overrated. We need jobs, and increasing exports of natural gas provides overwhelmingly positive net economic benefits and much-needed jobs.

It is not clear why the DOE is involved in the export-permitting process. Natural gas should be treated as any other good, and Congress should remove that requirement and lift restrictions on recipient countries.

And of course the Keystone XL pipeline hangs in the balance. Obama’s Big Green supporters oppose it largely because they oppose any and all fossil fuels, believing against all evidence that ‘clean green renewable fuels’ can suffice. Obama’s Big Union supporters badly want the jobs that the Keystone XL promises — some 20,000 directly on the pipeline, and vast numbers of ‘spin-off’ jobs. The dreadful accident in Canada with a runaway oil train should have informed thinking environmentalists that transporting oil by train is considerably less safe than a pipeline.


Please note that the renewable percentages include hydropower with the wind and solar and biofuel.

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