During the worst economic downturn since the Great Depression, the president experiments with mandatory health insurance penalties, a failed $831 billion stimulus and other issues. At the same time, he largely ignores a major policy area with tremendous, job-boosting potential – growth of the energy sector.

Increasing American energy production could create millions of well-paying jobs, provide new revenues to pay down the federal debt, restore confidence to every business and provide more affordable energy to households across America – all while advancing environmental progress.

Unfortunately, after nearly four years in office, the president has failed to develop a sensible, comprehensive energy policy.

In fact, by impeding projects like the Keystone XL pipeline and enacting policies that restrict energy production, this administration has made clear that it is unwilling to fully harness our domestic energy or provide the benefits of energy development to the American people. We need a leader with a bold plan to get our country on the right track.

To fill the void in leadership from the president, Republican governors have developed “An Energy Blueprint for America” that gives a true assessment of the energy challenges and opportunities facing our nation and, more importantly, offers solutions for reaching our energy potential. The plan recognizes the need for a state-centric approach that utilizes every means of energy production.

Key provisions include:

Regulatory Modernization

  • A cumulative cost-benefit analysis of the barrage of new regulations promulgated and enacted by the Environmental Protection Agency under this administration must be undertaken.
  • Our nation’s core environmental statutes have not been modernized in over 20 years. The time has come to re-examine these statutes to make certain environmental policy is performance-based and responsive to changing costs, technologies and needs.
  • The Department of Interior has restricted millions of square miles of federal lands and waters from energy development. The department should open federal lands and waters for energy production – and not just for renewables.
  • Litigation has increasingly been the norm for determining air quality standards. The states and private sector need certainty – legislation is necessary to provide this certainty.
  • The National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) process must be reformed to create consistency among federal agencies.
  • Federal agencies such as the EPA must respect the states’ role in federal and state partnerships.

Oil

  • Approve the remaining portion of the Keystone XL Pipeline and ease regulatory burdens which prevent the construction and operation of adequate petroleum infrastructure.
  • Allow for responsible development in the National Petroleum Reserve and the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge.
  • Lift restrictions on drilling on the Outer Continental Shelf. Waters off states like Virginia, which was removed from the most recent Five Year Plan by the Obama administration, should be reopened to job-creating exploration and development.
  • Work with Canada and Mexico to further develop the idea of a “North American Energy Partnership.”

Natural Gas

  • End attempts by the federal government to restrict natural gas production and allow states to develop sound environmental regulation.
  • Establish state best practices for regulation of hydraulic fracturing. Federal regulatory regimes layered over state regulations increase costs and delays with no added benefit.

Coal

  • Reconsider federal environmental regulations proposed and promulgated under the current administration.
  • Allow the NEPA process to fill its intended purpose. Do not use it to block commerce and exports.

Nuclear

  • Support state leadership to provide safe and effective regulatory management of uranium development.
  • Insist the federal government fulfill its obligation to implement a program to manage used nuclear fuel.

Renewables

  • Any renewable or clean energy standard for electricity production would be counter-productive and should be left to the states.

Infrastructure

  • Expedite permitting for transmission, pipeline and refinery infrastructure. Establish sensible regulatory policies for refiners and reconsider burdensome rules.

Research & Development

  • The government plays an important role in research and development but long-term subsidies are counterproductive. The private sector must be profitable in order to develop new technologies.

Despite the impact of energy on every facet of the economy, America’s energy future is not a focus of the current administration. These ideas offered by Republican governors will help put America back to work and provide American economic and energy security.

(Virginia Governor Bob McDonnell is Chairman of the Republican Governors Association. Wyoming Governor Matt Mead is Chairman of the Republican Governors Public Policy Committee’s Energy and Environment Committee.)

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Published on August 22, 2012

  • Kathy Tompkins

    “Any renewable or clean energy standard for electricity production would be counter-productive and should be left to the states.” :( :( Counter productive? Left to the states? Translation; Wyoming doesn’t want a plan B. It’s plan A (or nothing) with its boom and bust scorched earth mentality to make a quick buck for the fossil industries. Governor Mead is counting on those dollars for his future political goals.

  • Brodie Farquhar

    Reading between the lines of these boiler-plate talking points from any GOP state party platform, I can only conclude that Gov. Mead is either gearing up to run for Sen. Mike Enzi’s seat in two years, or wants to make the coal/oil/gas tycoons happy enough that they cut large checks when Mead runs for re-election in 2014.
    We’ve tried a light regulatory hand before and all we got was a massive oil spill in the Gulf or fracking-based ground water pollution. Mead also takes a jaundiced view of alternative energy systems (wind, solar) that ignore Wyoming’s future.

  • Progess Wyoming

    I agree subsidies create an unfair playing field. The fossil fuel industry received nearly $72 billion over the last seven years, more than half of what was put toward renewable energy in that same period. Lets play fair, I’m all for it. I agree this country needs an energy plan (we are one of few developed nations without), but I don’t agree with all the points outlined above. Not all energy development should be carried out as fast as possible– look at the mess Wyoming just found itself in with respect to natural gas. Also, clean water and clean air are not accounted for in GDP- this is scary and shortsighted, in environmental economic terms– a tragedy of the commons. I’m all for state-run environmental regulation if these groups are held accountable and transparent. Please remember your children in all of this, they don’t care about how much money the energy companies are putting in your back pocket.

  • Bob LeResche

    I find this superficial and uninspiring — a rather awkward compilation of highly partisan political talking points. It raises two questions:
    1. How does publication of such a piece during a national election — especially with “Governor Ultrasound” of Virginia as senior author — advance the interests of the State of Wyoming?; and,
    2. How does the governor explain his convening of a large group of citizen volunteers to discuss and draft a national energy policy last month make any sense when he has already signed onto his own “energy policy?” Those who dedicated their time and expenses to that exercise must feel a bit chump-ish at the moment.
    I was really hoping that our new governor would chart a more thoughtful course, independent of these silly national politicians.

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