Jobs, environment not mutually exclusive
At a time when America should be pursuing an all-of-the-above strategy to create jobs and achieve energy security, President Obama has made clear that ideology and politics are all that stand between tens of thousands of Americans and the jobs they need.
The evidence for this continues to pile up:
• EPA regulations, including the Mercury and Air Toxics Standards and the Cross-State Air Pollution Rule, represent little more than thinly veiled attempts to harm the coal industry, which supplies about 40 percent of the energy powering American homes and businesses. Many of these plants were critical to providing reliable energy during the “polar vortex” and are key to providing dependable and affordable energy in the upcoming heat of summer.
• More than 100 coal-powered plants have either closed or are planning to close due to EPA regulations, affecting 15,000 American workers. Additional regulations proposed by the EPA would directly affect 37,000 employees nationwide.
• President Obama's stubborn refusal to greenlight the Keystone XL pipeline, despite five years of analyses that say it would have a minimal impact on the environment, has placed more than 42,000 direct and indirect U.S. jobs on hold indefinitely.
• The administration's decision not to open access to more areas of the outer continental shelf for energy development is keeping 85 percent of that territory, rich in oil and natural gas potential, locked away.
• The federal government's outdated bureaucratic hurdles to opening foreign markets to increased exports of American liquefied natural gas (LNG) are stifling creation of an estimated 665,000 new jobs and leaving many of our allies dependent upon less stable, more aggressive nations for their energy needs.
These are decisions made by a president supporting the interests of his political base rather than those of American families. That is simply unacceptable.
In Texas, we pursue an “all of the above” energy strategy — something President Obama likes to talk about. But in Texas, we really mean it.
We're the nation's leading producer of oil, natural gas and wind energy — with more wind energy capacity than all but five countries — and our diverse energy portfolio includes hydroelectric, solar and biomass, as well as incentives for cutting-edge carbon-capturing technology for cleaner plants. Through these efforts and others, we managed to slash our ozone levels by 23 percent between 2000 and 2012, a 12 percent greater reduction than the national average. Over that same span, we cut nitrogen oxide emissions by more than 62 percent.
The difference between our approach and the federal government's is simple: One puts people to work and the other puts people in the unemployment line.
It's an approach I know Pennsylvania Gov. Corbett has taken to heart. His efforts to boost energy production in Pennsylvania the smart way have helped make the Keystone State the No. 2 producer of natural gas in the country.
We all want clean air and water and we all want good-paying, high-quality jobs. States like Texas and Pennsylvania have demonstrated that energy production and environmental protection are not mutually exclusive.
It's a message I wish President Obama and the EPA would receive before too many more jobs are needlessly sacrificed.
Rick Perry, a Republican, is governor of Texas.