Photo: Jeff Malet

Photo: Jeff Malet

Over the past few years, energy production has been one of the bright spots in the American economy. The U. S. is now the world’s largest natural gas producer and will soon be the world’s largest oil producer. Senator Ted Cruz’s (R–Texas) American Energy Renaissance Act, along with its companion bill introduced in the House by Representative Jim Bridenstine (R–Okla.), will help this sector shine even brighter.

If you’re having trouble locating the massive gains in energy supplies, job growth, and economic well-being, just look to our nation’s private and state-owned lands. States like North Dakota, Texas, Pennsylvania, Ohio, Arkansas, and others have thrived whereas, on land the federal government owns (half of the West and one-third of the entire U.S.), production has stagnated or decreased.

While most of the shale oil and shale gas deposits in the U.S. are beneath state and privately owned lands, an efficient permitting process managed by state regulators is driving this rapid increase in production. For example, North Dakota processes a permit in an average of 10 days; yet, due to a complicated and onerous process, the average processing time for a permit to drill on federal lands is almost a year.

Cruz’s legislation would expedite this process by giving states the option to manage energy production on federal lands within their respective states or, alternatively, creating a more efficient permitting process, as well as streamlined environmental and judicial review.

The bill would also improve the prospects for America’s energy future by opening access to domestic resources, streamlining regulations to expand infrastructure, and increasing the ability to diversify global energy markets through increased exports and imports. Opening markets and lifting antiquated restrictions on exports would provide greater energy supplies for the global market, resulting in increased competition and more choice for countries like Ukraine and members of the European Union that are held tightly by Russia’s energy grip.

Another important part of Cruz’s legislation is the prohibition of any federal agency to regulate greenhouse gas emissions. The Environmental Protection Agency is on a regulatory path toward cap-and-trade that will drive up electricity bills for households and businesses, squeezing both production and consumption. If the EPA is successful in implementing climate change regulations, hundreds of thousands of jobs will be lost, inflicting significant damage on America’s manufacturing base, and squandering trillions of dollars in GDP. And if the EPA is successful with these regulations, the reduction in global temperature as a result of avoided CO2 emissions will be a few tenths of a degree Celsius.

When Senator Cruz outlined the aspects of his bill at The Heritage Foundation, he stressed:

Economic growth, the energy revolution, didn’t come from the U.S. Department of Energy. It didn’t come from any government agency. It didn’t come from a grant program picking this is how we’re going to transform energy. It didn’t even come, with all due respect to our wonderful host, from a think tank in Washington. It came from entrepreneurs putting capital at risk and meeting a need.

The American Energy Renaissance Act would remove current, and prevent the creation of future, federal obstacles that stifle energy production—thereby allowing the private sector to drive our nation’s energy renaissance forward.