Cumberland Times-News

Letters

January 15, 2013

Politics limiting solutions to energy problems

The White House and Democrats in Congress need to come to grips with the nation’s “energy problem.”

We have huge deposits of oil and natural gas both on land and offshore, but political considerations present serious impediments to their full production and use.

Take, for example, the huge increase in natural gas output, largely the result of advances in exploration and production technologies. With the United States now self-sufficient, producers want to increase exports of Liquefied Natural Gas or LNG. That requires government approval.

Benefits would be considerable: more U.S. jobs created to find and produce natural gas and build LNG export facilities, increased revenues to federal and state governments, and a reduction in the nation’s trade deficit, and reasonably priced LNG for struggling economies in India, Japan and Europe.

The Department of Energy has approved a few applications for LNG exports to countries with which we have free-trade agreements, but there is a backlog of requests to export to other nations.

President Obama told Meet the Press that “America can become an energy exporter,” but he linked that with “environmental challenges.”

The chairman of the Senate Committee on Energy and Natural Resources, Oregon’s Ron Wyden, an influential voice on energy issues, has adopted a protectionist stance and is urging the Obama Administration to limit LNG exports. That would be a major economic policy blunder.

First, we should not pass up an opportunity to create thousands of jobs for American workers. With the huge surge in natural gas production in the Marcellus Shale and other shale deposits across, increasing exports offers a rare chance to create more well-paying jobs.

Each $1 billion in exports generates more than 6,000 new jobs, according to the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative. In the context of LNG that’s 75,000 to 150,000 new American jobs in addition to the nearly 2.5 million jobs a recent economic study estimates natural gas development could create by 2035.

Second, we would forego an enormous amount of tax revenue. It’s estimated that just one LNG export terminal could create nearly $11 million in new tax revenue every year for federal, state and local governments and demand for natural gas is growing.

Third, disapproval of export licenses could alienate a key ally. In the aftermath of the Fukushima nuclear accident, Japan is counting on imports of U.S. LNG to replace nuclear power and help revive its economy.

Fourth, American geopolitical strategy would be undermined. Most energy experts believe we have the capacity to rival Russia as the world’s biggest natural-gas producer.

Over time, LNG exports would yield a shift in global power from Russia to consumers such as Germany, Ukraine, China and India, which would benefit from a more diverse and lower-cost gas supply.

Finally, there is no need to fear harm to U.S. manufacturers or consumers generally. The Energy Information Administration projects that between 2015 and 2035, LNG exports would add a modest 3-9 percent to consumer gas bills and 1-3 percent to electricity bills, depending on the volume of exports.

A decade ago, shale gas accounted for 2 percent of U.S. natural gas production. Today it is nearly 35 percent and growing. The boom has helped reinvigorate the petrochemical and steel industries, which have reopened mills and factories, adding billions of dollars in value to the economy.

The Obama Administration should abjure protectionist policy and allow free trade in the LNG global marketplace. In doing so it will be supporting the creation of thousands of American jobs, strengthening the U.S. energy market, generating new revenue for governments at all levels, and helping to improve the global economy.

David Banks

Timberville, Va.

Banks is a retired communications executive with experience in the coal, oil and natural gas industries.

 

1
Text Only
Letters
  • It’s a secret It’s a secret

    Could someone enlighten us about why not even the names of the two entities bidding on development of the Footer Dye Works building can be divulged?
    A Times-News article about the bids included an explanation from a lawyer for the attorney general’s office about the need to keep the names and other information secret at this time. Despite that, the logic of not divulging at least a little more information escapes us.

    April 17, 2014 1 Photo

  • What do we do about those who weren’t criminals after all?

    Now that Maryland has become the 17th state to (finally) decriminalize possession of marijuana, one could say that the legislature and governor should be patted on the back for doing the right thing.

    April 17, 2014

  • Which approach to the school makes sense?

    What exactly is the long-range plan, according to the Allegany County Commissioners?
    I’ve read in the Cumberland Times-News that the current County Commissioners intend to spend $9 million to construct a new high school.

    April 16, 2014

  • H.O.G. Rally coming to Cumberland in June

    Let me introduce myself. My name is Francine Kraft and I am the Maryland/Delaware State H.O.G. Rally Coordinator for 2014.
    With a team of seven others, we have put together a rally for June 19-22 to be held in Cumberland.

    April 16, 2014

  • Access to trout ponds hard for those who have trouble walking

    I took my 5-year-old grandson Easton, who lives in Cumberland, to the Evitts Creek three ponds on March 31, the day it was stocked with trout.He had the joy and excitement of catching his first trout and two more. I have a Maryland fishing license and trout stamp.

    April 16, 2014

  • Wait long enough; they will die off without being cared for

    The letter to the editor of April 14 (“Military veterans have few friends in Washington, D.C.”),  I am afraid, hit the nail on the head — sort of — about this next set of returning veterans.

    April 16, 2014

  • Translations differ, but the message is eternal

    This letter is in response to a recent letter titled “One cannot compromise on God’s word” (April 13 Times-News). I had previously written a letter titled “Why are compromises so difficult to achieve” (April 7).

    April 15, 2014

  • Closing the loopholes will help clear the regulatory waters

    After a decade of uncertainty over Clean Water Act jurisdiction following Supreme Court challenges in 2001 and 2006, the Environmental Protection Agency and Army Corps of Engineers announced a forthcoming administrative rule to close enforcement loopholes, restoring protections to 20 million acres of wetlands, more than half the nation’s streams, and drinking water for 117 million Americans.

    April 15, 2014

  • The first step Remember where your freedom comes from before criticizing

    The deal at Fort Hood could have been avoided if it was caught in time.
    When you think a GI is not acting right, have him or her checked out before you put them back on duty and give them a weapon. Post-traumatic stress disorder is a serious and dangerous problem if it is not taken care of right away.

    April 15, 2014 1 Photo

  • Midterm elections give chance to return to American values

    A movement has been started by veterans of our armed forces to get out the vote in 2014. That includes Coast Guard and Merchant Marine personnel for those not familiar with the history of both and their sacrifice. This is no small special interest  group, but many millions of Americans who can have an enormous impact on the  outcome of the November election if they all respond.

    April 14, 2014

Latest news
Facebook
Must Read
House Ads