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Tags: oil | energy | natural gas | environment

US Should Develop All Energy Sources

US Should Develop All Energy Sources

Alfonse M. D'Amato By Wednesday, 31 July 2019 11:22 AM EDT Current | Bio | Archive

In a little reported but major milestone, the United States recently became the number one oil producer in the world. Despite the usual outcries of naysayers and enviro-alarmists, I believe that America’s growing energy independence will ultimately be good for both our economy and the environment.

For decades America was addicted to foreign oil produced in the Middle East, a cauldron of political instability and radical Islam. Every time conflict roiled that unstable region U.S. energy consumers were held hostage to fuel shortages and sharp spikes in energy prices. From Iran’s revolution to Iraq’s invasion of Kuwait, each tumult inflicted serious damage on America’s economy.

Worse yet, oil producing countries like Saudi Arabia used much of their petroleum wealth to underwrite Islamic extremists bent on terrorizing America. Let’s remember that fifteen of the nineteen 2001 9/11 New York and Washington D.C. airplane attackers came from Saudi Arabia. They had been radicalized in Wahabism mosques led by Imams directly subsidized by the Saudi government. In a very real sense, U.S. oil dollars sent to Saudi Arabia paid for the 9/11 attacks.

The fact that America now produces enough oil to meet our domestic needs is a stabilizing force in the energy world. Our energy independence means we are not sending billions of dollars to authoritarian countries that underwrite our enemies. Instead those dollars are staying in America, benefiting our trade balance, strengthening our economic competitiveness, while paying good wages to the 6.5 million Americans who work in the energy sector.

And America’s energy boon extends beyond pumping more crude oil. Over the last few decades there’s been a huge increase in natural gas production across our country. In addition to the economic benefits domestic gas drilling provides, it’s also been very good for our environment. That’s because natural gas has displaced coal as a major energy source for electrical production. Most Americans may not be aware that by burning more gas and less coal American electrical generating facilities have significantly cut harmful air pollution here. One of the greatest ironies is that the U.S. is the only major national energy consumer that has reduced CO2 emissions in recent years. Not Europe nor China, nor India, all of which continue to burn huge amounts of coal and build hundreds of new coal-fired electrical plants each year. And not in the developing world — with over a billion people still living without electricity — where countries will continue burning coal to generate electricity.

So where should U.S. energy policy lead in the next decades and beyond? I’d like to see America further strengthening our energy independence and diversity, from both traditional and alternative sources. When it comes to U.S. energy policy and which energy sources to pursue, I believe the answer is “all of the above.”

But that will require setting aside the straightjacketed political arguments advanced by environmentalists and opening America up to all viable means of producing energy. The “Green New Deal” advanced by those on the far left may sound catchy, but it would leave gaping holes in our energy future to fit the narrow ideological views of its proponents.

Let’s begin with nuclear power, a carbon-free energy source that already provides 20 percent of U.S. electrical generating capacity. Shortsighted Green New Dealers would completely phase out nuclear power production, rather than following promising new technological developments that could lower the cost and increase the safety of nuclear reactor design. They insist that we “follow the science” when it comes to climate change but abandon it when it comes to improving and advancing nuclear energy that would continue to help lower CO2 emissions.

Other promising energy producing technologies also deserve more consideration. One that would address two big challenges is “waste-to-energy” electrical generation. Garbage landfills everywhere are breaking at their seams. And much of the recyclable paper and plastic waste we separate out of the waste stream is piling up with no buyers. But this waste is potential fuel. Before enviros go bonkers, they should remove their blinders and look to successful advanced waste-to-energy technologies.

Last, but not least, the U.S. should continue to develop solar and wind power generation. While these alternative energy sources currently provide 10 percent of U.S. energy production, as solar panel and wind turbine costs continue to drop, they can generate more future electric power. But these intermittent power sources depending on sun and wind will continue to require back-up, which takes us back to “all of the above.”

This column was originally published in the Long Island Herald Community Newspapers.

Former Senator D’Amato served a distinguished 18-year career in the U.S. Senate, where he chaired the Senate Banking Committee and was a member of the Senate Appropriations and Finance Committees. While in the Senate, Mr. D’Amato also Chaired of the U.S. Commission on Cooperation and Security in Europe (CSCE), and served on the Senate Intelligence Committee. The former Senator is considered an expert in the legislative and political process, who maintains close relationships with Members of Congress on both sides of the aisle. He is regularly called upon for his advice and counsel, and is recognized for his incisive analysis of national and international political affairs. The former Senator will share insights gained from his years in Washington “with a clear-eyed view of the political forces that shape the world we live in today.” To read more of his reports — Click Here Now.

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In a little reported but major milestone, the United States recently became the number one oil producer in the world.
oil, energy, natural gas, environment
Wednesday, 31 July 2019 11:22 AM
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