The American Petroleum Institute presented its annual “State of American Energy” report this week, which highlights important energy issues for the upcoming year. The 2016 report broke down various regions of the U.S. that will be critical to America’s energy supply. America’s Arctic region was discussed at length in the report due to its vast untapped potential.
The Arctic section of the report kicks off by noting that the state of Alaska houses some of the largest oil and gas reserves in America – with 30 percent of these sitting offshore. Unfortunately continuous regulatory obstacles from the federal government have allowed for little progress to be made when it comes to developing these massive energy resources.
AEC has previously highlighted the connection between Arctic energy and national security, and API’s report also stresses how energy security is vital to America’s economic and national security. API’s Arctic analysis pointedly states:
“Failure to harness the energy potential in the Alaska offshore region today could have significant consequences for the nation’s long-term energy security.”
The report also emphasizes the importance of Arctic energy to all of Alaska:
“Oil and natural gas development is the backbone of Alaska’s economy, supporting one-third of all state jobs and contributing more than $6 billion in labor income.”
Local Alaskans rely on Arctic development to maintain their daily quality of life. Harnessing these natural resources creates jobs and generates tax dollars for people and communities around the state. Alaska’s economy is suffering in response to the latest Arctic exploration withdrawals triggered by overly-burdensome regulations. Contrary to what activists would have you believe, the people of Alaska have repeatedly advocated for responsible resource development in the Arctic. Communities across the state are the first to see the consequences of illogical regulations.
A recent commentary from the Houston Chronicle also highlighted the damaging effects of these overly burdensome regulations. The article captures the heart of the issue proclaiming:
“Bogged down by red tape, delays, legal snafus, and the administration’s ill-advised, one-size-fits-all regulatory approach, Alaska is seeing its economic future darken in a hurry – and so is America.”
This year’s State of American Energy Report is a welcome reminder of the importance of Arctic development. The report closes by explaining that in order to maintain our position as an “energy superpower” Americans must take a forward-looking and balanced approach to developing Arctic energy and action needs to come soon. We at AEC could not agree more.