America / Energy

Natural Resource Potential in North America

On Tuesday February 5th, the House Energy and Commerce subcommittee began a series of congressional hearings called “American School+of+Natural+Resources+and+EnvironmentEnergy and Security and Innovation.” This particular hearing was a discussion over the natural resources available in North America. There is a wide spread perception that our nation’s resources are scarce to say the least, however technological advancements have led to the sizable discovery and procurement of natural resources such as oil and natural gas. Developments in science have also revealed a more accurate picture of our resource inventory.

Adam Sieminski from the Energy Information Administration revealed the current state of fossil fuel and renewable energy production in the US as well as recent developments in the organization. A main focus of the EIA is cooperation with the United States Geographic Survey to determine technically recoverable resources (TRR), which will allude to the quantity of natural resources and help guide environmental policy decisions. It is vital that lawmakers as well as the people are aware of the newest developments in energy production and technology.

Currently, crude oil has increased by 0.8 million barrels per day (bbl/d) from last year, and is expected to increase from 2.79 to 6.4 million from tight oil production in Texas Montana and North Dakota. Natural gas production has also increased—especially due to the boom in shale gas—to 69.2 billion cubic feet per day. Also, coal production has increased by 12% between 2008 and 2012. Dr. Daniel Yergin, Vice Chairman of HIS stated that the US is amidst an “unconventional revolution in oil and gas”.

This “revolution” goes beyond the massive production of energy; the industry supports approximately 1.7 million jobs. This escalation is not only helping the general economy as well as jobs, but it is enhancing the United States’ competitiveness globally. He mentioned two debates that are going to make a significant impact on energy and environmental legislation. Firstly, there is the controversy over the environmental impact of shale gas production and secondly, the role of US energy exports.

Other interest stakeholders had the opportunity to testify at the hearing, one of which was Jennifer L. Morgan the director of the climate and energy program from the World Resources Institute. She pointed out interested of the WRI regarding how to best handle to enhancement of energy in the US. There are two roles in particular that congress should play, one being helping to support programs to insure that product labeling is accurate and encourages private investment. This has much to do with helping consumers make informed choices. Secondly, WRI states that congress should place emphasis on efficiency standards. This is especially for vehicles, appliances and other energy consuming production in US commerce.

As a whole this subcommittee hearing consisted of laying the groundwork for congressional movement on energy policy. The treatment of natural resources is vital to the economy, jobs, and US competitiveness and congress can be the place where integral movement can begin.

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