It is an exciting time for American energy, but only if American energy policy spurs innovations rather than stifling them.
U.S. energy policy needs a reboot—a broad reassessment of our strategies—because much of what we thought we knew has either dramatically changed or turned out to be plain wrong.
When I first became involved in these issues, President Jimmy Carter told us our domestic energy supplies were running out and a foreign cartel would determine everything from the cars we drove to the temperatures in our homes. The future he painted looked bleak.
Consider oil and natural gas. Not long ago, many believed supplies had peaked and it was only a matter of time until we were left with nothing but dry holes in the ground and increased dependence on foreign imports. Based on this belief, Washington decided that American taxpayers needed to spend dramatically on developing alternative supplies to replace hydrocarbons.
President Obama continues this policy today. During his recent energy public relations tour, he repeatedly referred to Republicans as subscribers to the “flat earth” worldview because we do not share his affinity for massive taxpayer spending on more expensive energy sources. But if anyone is stuck in the past, it’s President Obama, as he has refused to acknowledge the great potential of America’s energy resources thanks to new technologies that help us unlock them.
New discoveries and production of resources like shale oil and gas are dramatically altering our energy supply outlook and the entire global geopolitical landscape. And the pace of change—particularly in the past few years—continues to accelerate.
When it comes to energy supply, efficiency, and environmental safety, our prospects are better than they have been in a long time. And the outlook will only improve if the government unleashes the private sector and stops getting in the way.