Analysts: Oil and gas boom has been 'miraculous' for the U.S.
“The vocal minority screaming ‘keep it in the ground’ doesn’t appreciate the importance that a strong economy plays in our national security,” Sgt. Maj. Paul Chevalier (Ret.) told TI News Daily. "Forget about the direct benefits of abundant oil and natural gas, such as lower prices and cleaner air. Just think about the millions of Americans who would have lost their jobs had that energy just stayed in the ground.”
That would mean millions of Americans “unable to pay their bills and mortgages, or pay taxes," Chevalier said.
His comments echo findings of a recent analysis, published by the U.S. Chamber of Commerce Institute for 21st Century Energy, which examined what the country might look like had the oil and gas production boom of the past decade never happened.
“It’s pretty difficult to imagine what the U.S. would look like,” wrote Christopher Guith, senior vice president for policy at the Institute. “It’s almost like trying to imagine what if Donald Trump had stuck to real estate or if Lebron never returned to Cleveland.”
Guith wrote that all of the actualities are so ingrained in people’s lives, they are taken for granted as almost inevitable.
“Hindsight is a wonderful thing, yet there are plenty of politicians, anti-energy activists and other misguided voices who would like to pull the plug on our energy renaissance,” wrote Guith.
As part of his institute’s Energy Accountability Series, Guith and others looked at how different people’s lives would be if the renaissances had never occurred.
“The simple result of our analysis is pretty clear: We’d be in a world of hurt,” Guith wrote.
According to the Institute's analysis, the U.S. would be short 4.3 million jobs and more than a half-trillion dollars in annual gross domestic product. Electricity prices would be 31 percent higher, and gasoline prices at the pump would be 43 percent more than they are today.
“Carbon dioxide emissions would be 23 percent higher, and we’d be importing 160 percent more oil,” Guith wrote.
“America is currently in the midst of a tremendous manufacturing build-out," Guith wrote. "From Texas to Ohio to Pennsylvania to Louisiana, we’re seeing new manufacturing investment being made to take advantage of energy supplies that are cheaper and more abundant that almost any other place in the world."
According to Chevalier, turning the page back on the country's energy boom would “substantially weaken our economic security, and therefore diminish our national security.”
“That makes us more vulnerable to our enemies — and don’t think they are not looking," said Chevalier.