11/04/2010 07:08 am ET Updated May 25, 2011

Good Energy Policy Makes For Good Economic Policy No Matter Who Is In The Majority

While news outlets around the country continue to debate the impact of the midterm elections, I'd like to talk about a topic that was of importance long before political ads dominated TV -- and it will continue to be important long after the political analysis of this week's election ends. That topic is good energy policy.

In the U.S. and around the world, we're facing an epic energy challenge: meeting rising energy needs while also reducing emissions from energy use.

No matter which side of the aisle you support, I think that facing this dual challenge requires a framework of energy policy fundamentals to help guide our course. Regardless of the political complexion of the House or Senate, there are some key policy principles that should be considered not only for energy legislation, but also for any efforts aimed at our economic recovery:

  1. Support all economic energy sources to meet growing demand: With global demand for energy projected to be about 30 percent greater in 2030 than it is today, we can't afford to rule out any economic energy sources. We must continue to support production of oil, natural gas and coal, which collectively meet about 80 percent of the world's energy needs. We also must support the development of alternative energy sources when and where they hold economic potential.
  2. Promote fair, stable and predictable tax and regulatory policies: Investments in energy resources are measured in decades, not years. The success of these long-term projects depends on consistency in our tax and regulatory structures. Additionally, U.S. energy security depends on a fair tax structure that promotes investment in energy supplies around the world. A recent 10-country study found that the U.S. government takes a larger share of oil and gas earnings abroad than nearly all other countries in the study -- and potential new tax rules could make the U.S. the least competitive among this group, except for India.
  3. Don't burden taxpayers with unnecessary energy business risks: Continuing long-term subsidies for alternative energy supplies that are not sustainable in the marketplace is a misuse of valuable taxpayer funds. We've seen this happen with the continued government support of corn ethanol, in addition to other renewable energy sources. By intervening in the nation's energy markets and picking "winners and losers," I think we're overlooking more immediate solutions to our economic and environmental challenges. Consider the fact that natural gas emits about 60 percent fewer emissions compared to coal, the main fuel used for power generation in the U.S. and around the world. And, we have plenty of supplies of it in the U.S. -- so allowing the natural gas industry to compete on a fair basis with other electricity feedstocks would promote new investments and employment and support national energy security.

For the new members of Congress heading to Washington in January, as well the returning legislators, economic recovery and growth will be a top priority. One pillar of good economic policy is a sound energy policy. The U.S. oil and natural gas industry is ready to work with our country's leadership to do its part in meeting America's energy and economic recovery needs.

Join the discussion about energy policy issues.