By Chad Saylor
With gas prices are soaring, our nation has once again tapped our strategic petroleum reserves in a bid to reduce energy prices for Americans. We’ve seen this story play out before, as the federal government has had to resort to tapping our nation’s energy stockpile to make up for policy mistakes when it came to domestic energy production.
From the first day the current administration entered office, they hedged their bets on the ability to move the United States completely away from the use of oil and natural gas. But, as the country soon found out, it was too much, too soon. Residents in my home county of Dauphin have felt the pinch like everyone else. We hear about it as my fellow commissioners and I are out and about at events across the county. Pennsylvanians are tired of rising prices and our collective inability to do anything about it.
From canceling the Keystone XL pipeline to banning new lease sales for oil and gas drilling on federal lands, a lack of a commonsense, national energy policy has left most, if not all, feeling financial pinch when their gas tanks, heating or cooling their filling homes or businesses – even turning on a light switch.
Additionally, this lack of clear policy leadership has also left our country and our allies vulnerable as American’s energy direction, or lack thereof, is becoming a national security issue. Russia’s naked aggression against Ukraine has exacerbated this fact even more, as many of our allies are beholden to Russia for energy needs.
We cannot claim to stand for democracy while curtailing energy production at home. We’ve allowed foreign regimes like Russia, Iran and Venezuela to establish a stranglehold on the global energy market, and now we are paying the price.
Perhaps the most frustrating, as Pennsylvanians, is that we have the energy resources our nation needs right beneath our feet, but policy backfires and bureaucratic red tape continue to prevent us from increasing energy production. The Biden administration must prioritize American energy independence, or we risk further economic fallout across the country.
And while the administration has cited environmental concerns for its energy-related decisions in the past, little do people realize that the United States has some of the highest environmental and social standards when it comes to the production and use of oil and natural gas. In fact, our oil and natural gas industry has become so efficient emissions related to the production of these energy resources dropped by nearly 60% over the last decade.
By once again unleashing the might of our oil and natural gas, we can supply the nation and world with the energy it needs in a sustainable and reliable manner. Our oil and natural gas resources can also drive major economic growth in the form of jobs and tax revenues along with lowering energy prices for consumers. In 2019, the American oil and gas industry helped support 11.3 million jobs.
The facts are as clear: if we want to achieve energy independence, it is time we right the wrongs made over the past two years and let American and Pennsylvania-produced energy flourish.
Chad Saylor is a Commissioner for Dauphin County.