Issue Position: Energy

Issue Position

Date: Jan. 1, 2013

Over the next decade, one of America's most important goals should be achieving energy independence. To accomplish this, our policies must reflect an "all-of-the-above" strategy, making greater use of our oil and gas reserves and promoting greater use of our technology. We have seen turmoil erupt across the globe -- especially in regions critical for energy production. Our current polices put both America's economy and national security at risk.

Our Nation has natural gas reserves that are larger than the crude oil reserves of Saudi Arabia and the technology to extract that gas while protecting the environment. We need policies that allow us to capitalize on this great resource. Already, we are seeing an energy explosion with the production of natural gas and the use of a new technology called hydraulic fracturing, more commonly known as "fracking". The industry is expected to invest more than $5.1 trillion in cumulative capital expenditures by 2035, adding 1.3 million new jobs by 2020 to support a total of 3 million jobs.

In 2011, oil and natural gas supplied 62 percent of the energy America needed and will continue to play a leading role in the U.S. energy mix for decades to come. Within other aspects of our energy portfolio, I believe renewable energy needs to be a part of this equation, along with continued construction of nuclear facilities, as well as further coal production. If we limit ourselves to only a few sources of energy, we will place America in a dangerous position, dependent on the whims of others.

The United States has made significant investments in renewable energy, which now makes up nine percent of the energy consumed in the U.S. While we are hopeful the free market will take the lead in growing this source of energy, the real opportunity for energy independence is through the continual development of hydrocarbons -- especially natural gas. According to an ICF International study, developing America's vast domestic oil and natural gas resources, including opening some of our Federal lands, could generate more than $1.7 trillion in government revenue. This revenue source could help address a portion of our fiscal issues and help repay the billions of taxpayer dollars lost when the Obama Administration invested in risky green energy projects.

In our own backyard, UNC Charlotte has established the Energy Production and Infrastructure Center with the mission of enhancing the available technical and business workforce, advancing energy technology, and facilitating strategic industry-university collaboration for the global energy industry while supporting the Carolinas' economic and energy security development.

As Congress begins to take up these issues, I will advocate for these policies and especially push for the State Department and the White House to immediately approve the Keystone XL pipeline expansion to bring an extra 700,000 barrels per day to the U.S. and up to 830,000 barrels per day within the decade.