Guest Editorial


Fueling the American resurgence

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tom tothIn the modern world, where energy flows, commerce and prosperity follow. The growth of the United States' economy is being stunted by the Obama administration's activist energy policies which are bankrupting the producers of abundant, affordable energy.

The American way of life developed over the last century stands as history's greatest example to date of what an economy and society can achieve through robust industrial growth and technological innovation. The last generation's historic growth was fueled by the energy expansion through fossil fuels such as coal and petroleum that now sustain the foundation of the modern economy.

At the end of the fourth year following the 2009 recession, the United States economy (as measured by GDP) continues to experience anemic growth at less than three percent annually. To put that into perspective, three percent represents less than half the 7.26 percent average annual growth from 1972 to 2007 and would be the second slowest post-recession annual growth rate since 1960.

A second American economic ascension beyond the achievements of the last generation necessitates the growth of our current energy foundation as a springboard into the future.
Coal and petroleum are mainstays of the last century's development and together offer a stable, long-term foundation for innovation and future competition in the energy market. Unless politically-driven government regulations render them unsustainable, there is enough of these resources alone to power the nation for hundreds of years.

Natural gas is a relatively recent addition as a primary energy producer in the United States. Fifty year old hydraulic fracturing technology has advanced quickly over the past decade almost exclusively through private sector funding and it is quickly becoming a primary producer for national energy needs. Similarly, nuclear energy shows great potential to operate with high efficiency. Natural gas and nuclear energy productions emit next to no emissions and together produce 49 percent of the nation's electricity. 

Today there are more options for energy production than at any time in history. Competition within the ever-evolving market creates a consistent demand for more abundant, inexpensive energy sources and dynamic innovation in developing new power-generation technologies.
The opportunity for growth into another American century of economic pre-eminence and prosperity is immediately available. Inexpensive domestic energy will allow manufacturing to thrive, transportation industries to grow, good jobs to be created, and a middle class that sees the wage stagnation of the past twenty years ended due to American ingenuity and the increased demand for the services of skilled workers.

The single greatest threat to this renewed American economy and the bright future it promises  is the obstructionism from our federal agencies.

The nation must allow the development of our naturally abundant resources for inexpensive, domestically produced energy and in time, the market will achieve an economic renaissance beyond even the wildest promises of any politician.

However, if federal agencies like the EPA continue operating as political agents for leftist environmental organizations, that promise will be squelched and likely killed forever.

Instead, if the federal government focused on ensuring the safe production of energy, the resulting market stability will result in massive investment and even greater innovation.
The technological advances of the last hundred years could never have been presumed by the 1912 world. Similarly today, we have no idea what energy solutions the market will develop to meet the needs of the nation. 

What we do know is that if regulatory policies like the ones championed by the current administration become entrenched, these innovations will almost certainly be achieved outside of the United States where the free market is given room to thrive. It is up to each American whether they will choose to build for their posterity a greater future, or if America resigns itself to having seen its best days.

Author's Note: This is final article of a three-part series on the future of American energy development. Read part one here and part two here.

Tom Toth is the Social Media Director for Americans for Limited Government