Energy Policy Crosses Party Lines

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If we’ve learned anything from watching the Democratic and Republican conventions over the past few weeks, it’s that energy policy is at the forefront, both in our policy debates and in the minds of our citizens. Republicans and Democrats alike understand the challenges posed by surging energy prices to our nation’s growth and prosperity.

Against a backdrop of economic uncertainty, America’s leading CEOs consider these surging energy prices a serious threat demanding immediate attention by our nation’s policymakers. In fact, our members recently ranked energy prices, along with health care, as their top cost pressure.

At Business Roundtable, we believe in long-term, bipartisan solutions that explore all available energy sources. We need to improve efficiency, invest in renewable energy and promote a diverse fuel mix to meet our nation’s growing energy demands. This mix should explore every possible energy avenue, including wind, solar and geothermal. It should tap the potential of biofuels and nuclear, while exploring cleaner and more efficient ways to put our nation’s abundant natural resources – including natural gas, clean coal and petroleum – to work for the American people.

These principles are outlined in greater detail in our energy blueprint, More Diverse, More Domestic, More Efficient.

Recently, we sent a letter to members of the U.S. House and Senate calling for immediate action to address our nation’s energy crisis. As part of this bipartisan effort, we asked Congress to put politics aside and follow the president’s lead by lifting the ban on oil exploration in the outer continental shelf (OCS).

While boosting domestic oil production is only one part of our nation’s energy equation, it is an important first step toward domestic prosperity and energy independence. The United States is the world’s largest oil consumer, yet produces less than a third of its own oil. Nearly 86 billion barrels of oil and 420 trillion cubic feet of natural gas are estimated to exist in the OCS. In fact, one quarter of domestic oil production comes from the limited OCS portions currently available for exploration.

Furthermore, we can obtain these resources without compromising our environment. Our member companies, which have the capabilities and innovation to meet the toughest environmental standards, are committed to drilling in an environmentally responsible way.

Across the political spectrum, policymakers are increasingly coming to the realization that increased domestic oil production must be part of our comprehensive energy solution. Opening up the OCS to drilling is an important move in the direction of securing our nation’s energy security, and not a moment too soon. As everyone knows, the longer we wait, the larger the cost we will eventually have to pay.

With all of the talk surrounding energy solutions this election season, it is critical that the next president and Congress follow through on their promises of reduced costs, increased supplies and enhanced energy independence. It doesn’t matter which side of the aisle you’re on – sound energy policy is in everyone’s best interest. In this debate-filled election season, that, at least, is something we can all agree on.

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