Energy Independence

Dear Editor:

America has made great strides toward energy independence under President Obama.

But you would never know that if you read the partisan baloney of Congressman Bill Johnson where he defines President Obama’s energy achievements as failure. According to Johnson, in his July 3rd column in the Times Leader, President Obama has “no national energy policy…no pathway to independence.” And of course Johnson throws in the phony arguments about the War on Coal and the false value of the XL Keystone pipeline.

The President’s take on where we are at on energy under his presidency is quite different, and far more accurate, than Johnson’s. According to the White House’s web site: “since the President took office, domestic energy-related emissions have fallen to their lowest level in 20 years, and our dependence on foreign oil is at a 20-year low – and declining. America is producing more oil, gas, and renewable energy, and the U.S. is becoming more energy efficient overall. These trends are increasing our energy security, cutting our carbon pollution, and enhancing our economic growth.”

Here is a summary of facts of what progress has been achieved toward energy independence during the past five years:

Domestic oil and natural gas production has increased every year since President Obama took office.

U.S. dependence on foreign oil has decreased every year since President Obama took office. We now import less than half of the oil we consume and in 2013, imports as a share of total consumption declined to a 20-year low.

The U.S. has doubled renewable energy generation from wind, solar, and geothermal sources since 2008 thanks to the President’s record investments in clean energy.

New fuel economy standards for cars and trucks, the first in 30 years, will cut oil consumption by 2.2 million barrels a day, slash emissions by 6 billion metric tons, and save the average driver $8,000 at the pump by 2025.

New programs to improve energy efficiency in our homes, buildings, factories, and transportation systems will reduce pollution and save money for businesses and families.

Taking control of our energy future by expanding domestic oil and gas production to create 600,000 new jobs and using more renewable energy like wind and solar power.

Investing in a domestic clean energy economy powered by sources like wind, solar, and clean coal. Attempting to renew successful bipartisan tax incentives that create American jobs and reduce our reliance on foreign oil.

No one is waging a war on coal. Only after a decades long transition will coal move from a dominant position in our energy supplies. Mining jobs will continue to exist for many more years.

I do hope the President disapproves the Keystone XL Pipeline. Not because rail tankers are safer than pipelines (they aren’t) but because the real environmental danger is that the oil sludge they want to refine will cause significant global warming and greatly harm our children. (By the way Johnson is dead wrong about the new jobs the pipeline will create–after a few months of construction, the number of permanent jobs is only a few thousand, not “tens of thousands”.)

According to some estimates The United States has already achieved energy independence or is close to it. Energy independence has been the goal of all presidents since Nixon, but none even came close to it–except President Obama.

So let’s applaud President Obama’s very successful balanced energy/environment policies that are providing energy independence and fighting global warming.

Bill Bryant

St. Clairsville