BRIGGS: Energy Security Goes Beyond An Election

We are currently 13 days out from electing the next President of the United States. Whether a blue state or red, an elephant or donkey, a liberal or conservative, it is important that citizens of this great nation exercise their right to cast a vote in the upcoming election.

The two candidates on the ballot, President Obama and Gov. Romney, each offer different ideologies on energy policy. During the past three debates that aired on national television, the candidates sparred back and forth as to who presents the most effective energy policy. Whichever side of the isle wins on Nov. 6, one policy is necessary: establishing energy security for North America.

It is vitally important to remember that as each candidate references “energy independence for North America,” that they are speaking of the United States, Canada and Mexico. While energy independence is a hopeful goal, whether achieved by 2020 or 2050, establishing energy security should be the immediate concern. How does the country move toward this direction of energy security? An open and free market for trade, the development of our current natural resources, and the retention of the oil and gas industry’s investment incentives are but a few examples of how to achieve this energy security.

Open markets are the key to any industry’s success. However, for the oil and gas industry, an open market and healthy trade relationships with our allies can mean significantly fewer imports of foreign resources from unfriendly countries. The United States is blessed to share a border with a close ally such as Canada, not only because of Canada’s natural resources, but also due to our shared values on national security and free trade.

The Obama administration has continued to halt the development of the Keystone XL pipeline that would bring crude oil into America via the Canadian oil sands. Completion of the Keystone is not only crucial for our nation’s current energy supply, but also in securing our nation’s future supply as countries like China have set their eyes on the same oil patch in Canada.

While importing oil from Canada is necessary, developing our own resources right here in the United States is another avenue to creating a secure energy future. Unprecedented amounts of natural gas are being extracted from shale plays around the country, allowing for the production of compressed natural gas (CNG) and liquefied natural gas (LNG), both of which can transform our nation’s transportation system. CNG and LNG offer a clean, cheap and abundant fuel for America.

Lastly, the Obama administration has committed $90 billion to green energy, while they consistently attempt to tear down the investment incentives of the oil and gas industry. These so-called “subsidies” are the very economic drivers that the independent oil and gas producers of our nation, who are also the largest producers of our nation’s resources, depend on to keep the drills turning.

While partisan politics stemming from a presidential election is not the answer for our nation’s energy future, protecting our free market, developing our own resources, and continuing to make investment incentives available to our producers is vital to the future of America’s energy security.

Don Briggs is the president of the Louisiana Oil & Gas Association.

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