Today I will be visiting Oklahoma City to meet with some of the leaders of America’s energy revolution. Developments in shale-oil production such as hydraulic fracturing and horizontal drilling have opened up new and exciting possibilities for a secure energy future for our nation. Yet this week, President Obama traveled to Alaska to talk not about seizing our energy potential, but about limiting that potential through environmental policies that grow government and raise costs. I believe this is an outrageous misalignment of priorities.
It is hard to think of a single industry that has a more direct impact on Americans’ financial well-being than the energy industry. Our energy resources truly sustain our human resources. Our businesses need to be able to operate affordably and efficiently in order to create jobs and grow our economy. Our families need reasonable gas and electric bills in order to reach financial security. Working moms and dads need to be able to commute to work without breaking the bank.
Yet despite the importance of this industry, our outdated government has made energy one of the most politicized and regulated aspects of our economy. It picks winners and losers through subsidies and higher taxes. And while some of the environmental concerns influencing regulations are legitimate, others are seriously overblown. A small but vocal minority, with some very highly paid lobbyists, has successfully pushed for restrictions that result in higher prices and fewer jobs for our people in exchange for minimal environmental benefits.
I believe that the vast majority of Americans — both Democrats and Republicans — are very reasonable when it comes to balancing ecology with the economy. And I believe it is conservatives, not liberals, who ultimately have the more sustainable and forward-looking agenda. This is because the true path to an economically and environmentally secure energy future is not through regulation, but through innovation. And innovation comes from less government involvement, not more.
America’s energy future must be entrusted to our businesses and scientists, not our bureaucrats. Finding ways to empower our energy producers to capture our energy potential should be a priority for every presidential candidate. Unfortunately, what we hear from Hillary Clinton is more of the same ideas from yesterday — and that’s when she speaks up on the issue at all. In the coming months, I’ll be offering a detailed energy agenda, but I’ll be previewing a few of my ideas in Oklahoma today.
One of the first things I will do as president is lift the ban on crude-oil exports. This ban is a perfect example of just how outdated Washington has become. President Nixon signed it into law in the 1970s — long before the economy had been fundamentally transformed by globalization and technological innovations, long before the hydraulic-fracturing and shale revolutions had launched a new era of American energy. Lifting the crude-oil export ban will be an immediate boon to our economy. It will create hundreds of thousands of American jobs and promote growth across every industry.
Here’s another common-sense step I will take as president: I will stop the EPA’s Clean Power Plan, which, if enacted, would have a devastating impact on affordable energy in exchange for little to no environmental benefit. It would result in the closure of coal-fired power plants around the country. It would kill thousands of jobs. It would jeopardize the reliability of our national power grid. It would truly be one of the most costly regulations ever created. Despite these consequences, Hillary Clinton has pledged to make defending and expanding it a “top priority.”
I will also work to empower states to regulate energy production within their own borders. Washington is currently on a crusade to take control of the production of energy, especially oil and gas, away from the states. Yet state and local governments are far better equipped to oversee energy production and balance it with environmental concerns.
Not only that, but anyone and everyone running for president needs to understand a basic truth: The Constitution grants very specific powers to the federal government, and if something isn’t on that list, it falls under the purview of the states. So when I take an oath to uphold and defend the Constitution of the United States, I am going to take that oath very seriously — and that will include allowing the states to control their own energy futures.
Oklahoma is proof that states don’t need Washington’s ‘help’ to seize their energy potential.
Oklahoma is proof that states don’t need Washington’s “help” to seize their energy potential. Oklahoma has been at the forefront of the shale revolution, which has helped turn America into the number-one oil and natural-gas producer in the world. Nationally, lower energy costs driven by new technologies have already helped America become competitive again in sectors where we had begun to lag, such as manufacturing.
This growth and revival can continue across all industries, and it will continue if we unleash our energy potential, and it must continue if we want to make the 21st century an American Century.
— Marco Rubio represents Florida in the U.S. Senate.