The Washington Times recently published an opinion piece by GAIN strategic adviser James “Spider” Marks underlining the importance of American energy and its critical role in the global market. Marks contends that the oil and gas industry is vital to our economy and way of life, supporting more than 10 million American jobs and is responsible for heating our homes, fueling our vehicles, and providing reliable electricity. However, Marks argues the benefits of a strong American energy industry extend beyond its borders. The op-ed writes:
American energy exports can provide stability to the international energy market and foster more prosperous relationships between the United States and countries seeking reliable energy, while bolstering American foreign policy objectives in the process. Look what’s happening today in Ukraine. Russia seized Ukrainian ships and crew members. Crimea is already lost to Russian criminality. What’s next? Fundamentally, this is all about European Union access to Russian oil and gas. The United States must be a viable alternative.
The United States has encouraged European countries to limit their reliance on Russian energy, offering more stable American LNG alternatives instead. European leaders appear to be interested and receptive to U.S. energy, and willing to support building new LNG import terminals to accommodate shipments. Germany has already offered support to build in a terminal in the northern part of the country, with others likely to follow suit.
But in order to fully meet our potential when it comes to stabilizing the global energy market and assisting our allies, we must complete pipeline projects that are currently underway and encourage future investment in our critical energy infrastructure. Marks points out that modern pipelines are the “safest, most efficient method of transporting product, from extraction until it reaches consumer markets.” Despite this, projects across the country, from Keystone XL, to Bayou Bridge, to Mountain Valley, continue to face unwarranted scrutiny from opposition, regulatory uncertainty, and a number of legal hurdles. As Marks concludes:
In order to best utilize our fossil fuels, meet our energy needs and provide reliable fuels for our allies around the world, we must prioritize the safe completion of pipeline projects currently underway and welcome future investment. While thorough evaluations and careful analysis are critical steps of the process, permits must be streamlined and regulations clear and consistent. It is time for U.S. officials to put aside partisan politics, focus on the facts and understand the significant need for infrastructure development.