Are 'green energy' policies thwarting job growth? Yes: Strategy sabotages economic recovery

US EPA

Technicians in personal protective equipment prepare pipe before cutting and removing the section from the Enbridge pipeline oil spill site near Marshall, Michigan.

Article Highlights

  • Obama's #green job-creation policy lacks direction and focus

    Tweet This

  • Putting off the #Keystone pipeline decision and stalling offshore drilling was grossly counterproductive

    Tweet This

  • Obama demonstrates little understanding of the damage his policies are doing to millions of unemployed Americans desperate to find work.

    Tweet This

Kicking the can down the road, as President Barack Obama did in delaying a decision on construction of the Keystone XL oil pipeline from Canada to Texas, certainly pleased the green lobby. But it did absolutely nothing for jobs creation. Nor did blocking access to new federal offshore areas for oil and natural gas drilling produce any jobs.

At a time when more than 13 million Americans are unemployed, you'd think that the president would be doing everything possible to stimulate employment. But his jobs-creation policy lacks direction and focus.

Putting off a decision on the Keystone pipeline and stalling offshore drilling was grossly counterproductive, compromising our commitment to North American oil production and potentially threatening our energy security. These and other regressive actions don't augur well for domestic energy development.

Is conventional energy production risk free? Of course not. But the environmental risks must be weighed against the economic and national security benefits of fully developing America's vast energy resources. The current White House policy has been to keep our energy production system operating below capacity. A more sensible policy would aim to expand energy supply in such job-generating sectors as oil and gas drilling, coal production and nuclear power.

"A more sensible policy would aim to expand energy supply in such job-generating sectors as oil and gas drilling, coal production and nuclear power."--Mark Perry

A study by Wood Mackenzie, an energy consulting firm, found that U.S. policies that encourage the development of new and existing resources could, by 2018, increase domestic oil and gas production by millions of barrels a day and support a million new jobs. Another study, by IHS Global Insight, estimates that returning permitting approvals to levels before the oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico would generate 230,000 jobs in 2012 — mainly blue-collar jobs that could make a huge difference for millions of Americans.

Continuing to pursue policies that slow down the issuance of leases and drilling permits, increase the cost of hydraulic fracturing for shale gas and delay the construction of oil sands pipelines are having a detrimental effect on jobs. If these obstacles are not addressed, we'll be missing out on creating the millions of jobs needed to bring the economy back to pre-recession employment levels.

Moreover, hiking taxes on the oil industry makes no sense, especially in today's sub-par recovery. Isn't it clear by now that these taxes would divert capital that might otherwise be spent on energy production, which would create thousands of jobs? Considering that Americans spend more than $500 million a day for imported oil, it would be absurd if we didn't make better use of our domestic energy resources.

In his "Jobs for America" speech in the fall, Obama didn't even mention the huge investments in shale-gas production in Pennsylvania, Texas and other states that are creating thousands of jobs and millions of dollars in revenue for governments. Nor did he propose developing oil and gas resources that are still off-limits in the Outer Continental Shelf off the East Coast and in the Gulf of Mexico.

Despite great handwringing over America's anemic job creation, the president demonstrates little understanding of the damage his policies are doing to millions of unemployed Americans desperate to find work. Unfortunately, pleasing the environmental lobby seems much more important to him now than jobs.

Mark J. Perry is a scholar at AEI

Also Visit
AEIdeas Blog The American Magazine
About the Author

 

Mark J.
Perry

What's new on AEI

AEI Election Watch 2014: What will happen and why it matters
image A nation divided by marriage
image Teaching reform
image Socialist party pushing $20 minimum wage defends $13-an-hour job listing
AEI on Facebook
Events Calendar
  • 27
    MON
  • 28
    TUE
  • 29
    WED
  • 30
    THU
  • 31
    FRI
Monday, October 27, 2014 | 10:00 a.m. – 11:30 a.m.
State income taxes and the Supreme Court: Maryland Comptroller v. Wynne

Please join AEI for a panel discussion exploring these and other questions about this crucial case.

Tuesday, October 28, 2014 | 9:30 a.m. – 12:15 p.m.
For richer, for poorer: How family structures economic success in America

Join Lerman, Wilcox, and a group of distinguished scholars and commentators for the release of Lerman and Wilcox’s report, which examines the relationships among and policy implications of marriage, family structure, and economic success in America.

Tuesday, October 28, 2014 | 5:30 p.m. – 7:00 p.m.
The 7 deadly virtues: 18 conservative writers on why the virtuous life is funny as hell

Please join AEI for a book forum moderated by Last and featuring five of these leading conservative voices. By the time the forum is over, attendees may be on their way to discovering an entirely different — and better — moral universe.

Thursday, October 30, 2014 | 2:00 p.m. – 3:00 p.m.
A nuclear deal with Iran? Weighing the possibilities

Join us, as experts discuss their predictions for whether the United States will strike a nuclear deal with Iran ahead of the November 24 deadline, and the repercussions of the possible outcomes.

Thursday, October 30, 2014 | 5:00 p.m. – 6:15 p.m.
The forgotten depression — 1921: The crash that cured itself

Please join Author James Grant and AEI senior economists for a discussion about Grant's book, "The Forgotten Depression: 1921: The Crash That Cured Itself" (Simon & Schuster, 2014).

No events scheduled this day.
No events scheduled this day.
No events scheduled this day.
No events scheduled today.
No events scheduled this day.