In a divided nation, where partisan politics seems to be becoming the norm, there is one issue that can unite all Americans across the political spectrum. That issue is energy.
Whether we are Republicans, Democrats, independents, conservatives, liberals or moderates, it is safe to say we want to be warm in the winter, cool in the summer, use the lights when we need them, charge our electronics, and make sure our appliances are up and running at home.
And when we’re rushing off to work, dropping off our kids at school or at practice, we want to be able to afford the price of a tank of gas.
Across the country, we are spending an annual average of $3,512 per person on energy, according to the U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA). With the average worker making $48,664 per year, the things we all want – and need – are currently not that attainable for everyone.
For our poorest households in states across our country, the situation is a bit direr. Per federal reports, those of us closest to the poverty level are spending more than 20 percent of our income on home energy bills. In extreme cases, it’s more than 50 percent.
With more than 40 million Americans living in poverty, per the Census Bureau, and 13.5 million unemployed or searching for full-time jobs, that’s an enormous number of relatives, friends and neighbors struggling under the weight of their energy bills.
Americans can do better than this.
All we must do is start putting contentious politics aside and focus on our shared aspirations and care for our neighbors.
It’s a fact that when there is not enough energy to keep up with demand, energy prices increase. The solution is sustaining our current energy production, improving our infrastructure, and upgrading our transmission for electricity. Yet, energy projects from oil and gas to wind and solar are often caught up in legal battles or — increasingly — partisan political gamesmanship that drag on for years, as anti-development groups mislead Americans into believing that they must choose between a healthy environment or access to American energy.
The truth is, we can have both environmental progress and sensible energy solutions. The only choice necessary is to stop the political posturing and work together on real energy and environmental solutions.
First, we need to address the facts, which are a good starting point for engaging Americans — regardless of their political affiliation — to begin a reasoned discussion on energy issues. With that said, oil and gas pipelines — despite the claims of protesters — are 4.5 times safer than moving the same volume across the same distance by other means. Over 99.999 percent of what’s moved through pipelines safely reaches its destination.
Next, natural gas generators can be ramped up and down quickly to support the integration of wind and solar onto the electric grid. To meet our environmental goals, and integrate more renewables onto the grid, we have increased the use of natural gas by more than 33 percent for our electricity, and pipelines help us access that gas.
Second, the United States is leading the world in environmental progress. Carbon emissions, smog-forming emissions, sulfur dioxide, particulate matters, on and on, are down dramatically over the past 5-, 10- and 15 years. We should take a second to celebration this achievement, then immediately begin to work on making sure industry is using the best available technology to further improve our environment.
That is why Consumer Energy Alliance (CEA) has launched its “Campaign for America’s Energy,” to create a nationwide movement that engages families, businesses, and policymakers in states and communities throughout the country in a non-partisan, open, thoughtful discussion to ensure people have the information necessary to make the right calls for our shared energy and economic future.
Through that conversation, we can work to end the hyper-partisan rhetoric and find common ground on ways to protect the environment, ensure the lowest possible prices, create greater energy security for struggling households, upgrade America’s infrastructure and push forward with cutting-edge innovations.
We can all agree that political bickering is getting us nowhere.
But so is saying no to all energy projects. Let’s work together on smarter policy choices to help lower prices for families and businesses and start creating more options for reliable energy solutions.
David Holt is president of the Consumer Energy Alliance (CEA).
© 2023 Newsmax Finance. All rights reserved.