What is the Planning for American Energy Act?
This bill is an important step in establishing a comprehensive energy plan for the country but at the present time it only includes all the resources on federal land managed by the Department of the Interior and the Forest Service in association with the Secretary of Agriculture. The main focus and it is an admirable one is to develop and publish each four years a Quadrennial Federal Onshore Energy Production Strategy. The aim is to increase the energy and national security of the United States in promoting multiple uses of federal lands included in the Federal Land and Management Act of 1976.
The one question which needs to be answered is what has been taking place through the agencies identified to comply or assist in achieving the requirements of an act which is almost 40 years old. Some of the specific requirements in this act (H.R.1394) as amended are identified below exactly as written in this legislation:
“(3) The Secretary shall determine a domestic strategic production objective for the development of energy resources from Federal onshore lands. Such objective shall be—
(A) The best estimate, based on commercial and scientific data, of the expected increase of domestic production of oil and natural gas from the Federal onshore mineral estate, with a focus on lands held by the Bureau of Land Management and the Forest service;
Increasing domestic production of oil and natural gas should not just take place on Federal land but across the country. We are rich in energy resources such as oil and natural gas. Our resources from all areas not just federal land should be explored and developed. Private companies will take up the effort if the federal government generates logical regulations to protect the environment rather than imposing restrictive regulations. One point to make clear
I am a big supporter of protecting the environment but protecting the environment does not or should not involve imposing such restrictions on companies who will utilize their resources and money to improve our ability to be energy independent.
In the last few years large amounts of oil reserves have been discovered throughout our country including such places as North Dakota. One of the technological processes which have come under scrutiny is fracking. This new technology is said to have some issues regarding contaminating the water supply and causing earthquakes but tying this process to these events is not supported by reliable evidence.
(B) The best estimate, based upon commercial and scientific data, of the expected increase in domestic coal production from Federal lands;
The mention of coal in this legislation is surprising to say the least as there appears to be an effort to restrict the use of coal as an energy source. It has been said we have more coal supplies than Saudi Arabia has oil. Coal is a large percentage of our energy production and the capability of its use should not be hindered. Some have said that we have the technology to have a clean coal supply for our energy usage I believe this is true. We are a talented and technological country constantly developing new technology to better our lives.
(E) the best estimate, based upon commercial and scientific data, of the expected increase in unconventional energy production, such as oil shale;
Developing the vast oil reserves engrained in the oil shale within our country is occurring as we speak in such places as North Dakota. The area by all reports is booming with activity and jobs. Developing this vital resource is imperative to our energy independence. Technology to retrieve this resource needs to be utilized and while there may be some concerns about environmental issues several areas are using the technology without issues. The government and specifically the EPA needs to provide the support to develop this resource and with this legislation if it becomes law is a step in the right direction.
It is no secret that the energy resources of this county needs to be utilized to satisfy the needs of our country now and in the future. To a large extent private investment is taking the initiative to both develop and utilize the technology of today to make our country more energy independent. It is hoped this legislation will have a positive impact on private sector activities. While it primarily addresses federal land the scope needs to be widened to remove some of the obstacles now in place. Government should be supporting efforts of private investors in the energy sector of our country not hinder the efforts to increase our energy independence. Some of this could take place through regulations and rules put forth by the EPA while protecting the environment. Both can happen.