Summer is knocking on the door, which means higher energy bills as people start to use more air conditioning to beat the heat. That means more visits to the local gas station to fill up for summer road trips.
It also means hurricane season is right around the corner, and that preparations are underway to protect the coast and keep our shorelines safe and picturesque. Such efforts require equipment, a workforce and most of all, adequate funding.
The good news is, there’s a way to help lower energy expenses and better fund disaster preparedness and resiliency efforts: Federal offshore energy development.
That’s the kind of development that is done miles offshore, far away from our beaches, boating and environmental havens. It is the kind of development that powers our modern way of life without interfering with it.
That’s what a handful of states along the Gulf of Mexico know firsthand, and they were rewarded recently, receiving almost $215 million collectively from the federal government, courtesy of revenue generated from the energy resources that are currently being produced in U.S.-owned waters off their coasts.
Lawmakers in Texas, Alabama, Mississippi, and Louisiana said they plan to use their share of this revenue to fund a variety of critical needs and municipal services such as road repairs, schools and education, and emergency response personnel in addition to economic development.
The most common use, they said, will be to finance coastal beautification and restoration efforts, hurricane preparedness plans and environmental protection work.
What’s more, these funds are expected to grow in future years as more production comes online.
These states are more than just stalwarts in energy production and infrastructure; they’re also leaders in lowering household energy expenses, reducing their residents’ costs of living, and growing their manufacturing sector. Case in point: Because of their leadership and unwavering commitment to American energy, fuel prices in these states are always drastically below the national average.
This means that the industry a few misguided extremists say we should shut down is, in truth, vital to funding the efforts needed to maintain and defend picturesque shorelines. It’s also a requirement for stabilizing energy prices via increases in production and infrastructure.
The more supplies we have, and the easier and safer it is to get these resources to families, small businesses and farmers, the less it’ll cost them. American-made energy protects communities and improves resiliency.
Moreover, the more energy we produce here, with our state-of-the-art environmental technologies, under the best and safest regulations in the world, the better off our air and water will be. Expensive imports from foreign, often hostile nations with far less environmentally friendly policies set back our global emission targets and hurt America — both economically and environmentally.
Such revenue figures show that the safe development of Gulf of Mexico resources is critical to our country’s economy and energy independence.
Other coastal regions could also benefit and better fund efforts like beautifying their coastlines, funding their conservation and restoration programs, and aiding necessary storm preparedness if they embraced offshore energy development and the economic and environmental benefits that come with it.
Just ask the Gulf Coast states.
David Holt is president of the Consumer Energy Alliance (CEA).
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