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December 3, 2013 Note: Governor Jindal often speaks off the cuff. Thank you Dr. Templeton for that kind introduction. Dr. Templeton told me that he was looking for a substantive speech today…I thought about that for a minute, and wondered if he was suggesting that in contrast to the kind of speeches I usually give… I bring you warm wishes from the energy rich state of Louisiana. The energy industry is the most critical industry in my state and I have made it my goal to foster a positive economic climate for any energy companies that want to invest in Louisiana. The Louisiana energy sector employs 71,631 people in 2,451 establishments. In fact, the energy industry drives about one third of the Louisiana economy. There are lots of great stories about what is happening in Louisiana’s energy sector. Unfortunately, the same cannot be said for some of the energy policies coming out of Washington these days. The bureaucrats at the EPA and in the White House are setting an agenda that threatens the U.S. energy sector, and therefore threatens to stifle the entire American economy. I want to discuss a few examples of how the energy agenda being set by Washington politicians and extremist, far left environmental activists is backwards and wrongheaded. Let’s start with the keystone pipeline…. Opposition to the Keystone XL Pipeline represents the ultimate example of Washington politicians placing politics and political ideology over common sense. There are no logical reasons to oppose construction of the pipeline other than an irrational liberal ideology that blindly and unscientifically opposes all forms of energy that they do not deem to be sufficiently “green” or “renewable.” The fact of the matter is the Keystone XL pipeline would give America a real chance to become much more energy secure, and less reliant on OPEC without harming the environment. In 2012, thanks to production growth from technologies developed by American entrepreneurs, about 40% of the petroleum consumed by the United States was imported from other countries; this was the lowest level since 1991, but we are still far too reliant on overseas nations for our energy. Far-left ideologues have thrown out a number of arguments against the pipeline, backed by millions of dollars in misleading advertising, in an attempt to shroud their real motives. But in reality, their opposition is purely based on the fact they oppose all forms of fossil fuel energy. So let’s take apart a few of the arguments against the pipeline one at a time. 1
First, the radical left argues that construction of the pipeline would mean more greenhouse gas in the atmosphere. False. A recent study from the Cambridge Energy Research Associates showed that the pipeline will have no material impact on greenhouse gas emissions. And if the pipeline is not constructed, Venezuela heavy crude would fill the void in U.S. markets and have a far worse carbon footprint. So this argument about increased greenhouse gas is interesting, but completely false. Second, the radical left tries to argue that much of the oil being shipped south on the pipeline will be exported and not used for domestic purposes. This is silly. It’s a classic example of leftwing ideology attempting to distort the free markets. First off, exports of crude oil have, for the most part, been banned by the U.S. Congress for more than 30 years. U.S. refined exports of diesel and gasoline has risen recently, but this has been due to depressed U.S. demand because of our recession. Refiners have simply made the decision to export more refined product instead of lowering output domestically, which would have led to layoffs at American companies. It is of course a good thing that we have begun exporting refined product. We are decreasing our trade deficit and the bulk of our exports go to Canada, Mexico, and Brazil, all countries we import crude from, so exporting the refined product means we are importing raw material, adding value to it, and selling it at a higher price, which helps our economy. Third, and this one is a real head scratcher, Keystone opponents claim that construction of the pipeline will not create jobs. In fact, over the summer, President Obama derided the number of jobs that could be created as a “blip” in the U.S. job market, and said there was “no evidence” there would be substantial job growth. This is a bizarre argument considering the U.S. State Department recently came out with a report saying construction of the pipeline would create over 40,000 jobs. And this employment bump could potentially mean approximately $2.05 billion in increased earnings. Even labor unions disagree with leftwing opponents of pipeline construction, saying construction would create at least 20,000 high wage jobs for their members. Every reputable study shows that job creation from building the pipeline would be significant; with some studies saying as many as 100,000 jobs could be created. Again, like all the other arguments against the pipeline, this one is completely false. I could go on dismembering the left’s arguments here, and I did that recently in a speech that I gave to the Canadian Oilmen's Executive Association, but it’s really not worth the time. Suffice it to say that the left’s opposition to Keystone is not based on science or on any facts, it’s simply an article of their faith. 2
Another example of poor energy policy being pushed from Washington is the crony capitalist agenda. At his nominating convention in 2008, Barack Obama promised us five million green jobs. In his campaign he said he was going to spend $150 billion promoting new green technologies. Well according to a recent Brookings Institution report, by the end of 2014 Obama will have, for once, kept a campaign promise…He did indeed spend the $150 billion. The problem was on the jobs end. In six years under Obama the economy has created fewer than two million total jobs of all types, despite spending hundreds of billions of dollars we didn’t have on ideas to “stimulate” the economy – and just a small fraction of those were jobs in new energy technologies. With the recent bankruptcy of electric carmaker Fisker, taxpayers are on the hook for at least $139 million, and possibly more, in government loans that the Department of Energy had made to the company. A lot of people look at failed government investments in companies like Fisker and Solyndra and see dangerous crony capitalism and a waste of taxpayer money, but it’s actually worse than that. These sorts of bad government investments crowd out good private sector investments in the new energy economy. If you’re a venture capitalist, do you want to invest in a company that’s up against a government-backed company? These sorts of government “investments” don’t build the new energy economy—they destroy it—and send taxpayers the bill. This is not about being against new technologies or electric vehicles—Conservatives should welcome both choice and innovation. We want to level the playing field. I just don’t want the government choosing what car I get to buy—or, if I’m an entrepreneur, subsidizing my competitors. The media, so quick to call out Republicans for allegedly “denying science,” has been mostly silent on the Democrats’ denial of science when it comes to hydraulic fracturing. Environmental groups’ opposition to this isn’t about sound science; it’s about appeasing their wealthy donors. Fact: Current energy Secretary Ernie Moniz recently said he has still “not seen any evidence of fracking per se contaminating groundwater,” a finding supported by three separate EPA investigations. Fact: President Obama’s previous Energy Secretary Steve Chu referred to hydraulic fracturing as “something you can do in a safe way.” Fact: Even Obama’s liberal former EPA Chief Lisa Jackson testified before Congress that: “I’m not aware of any proven case where the fracking process itself has affected water.” Yet Democratic politicians and liberal interests groups everywhere are fighting this clean and affordable energy revolution.
And liberal groups like Artists Against Fracking, founded by Yoko Ono and including celebrities from Richard Gere to Lady Gaga, are touting fact-free Hollywood celebrity-driven campaigns against a technology that has given us energy security and clean-burning energy while lowering emissions of all types. Democrats tend to call skeptics of their utopian policies “Deniers,” but if the Democrats think that Yoko Ono and Lady Gaga should be setting American energy policy, I am happy to go on record denying that it’s a good idea. According to a recent study by PriceWaterhoouse Coopers, U.S. manufacturing could add one million new jobs because of the shale gas Revolution by 2025. These jobs could literally provide financial support to millions of blue-collar workers and their families. U.S. manufacturers could expect to save as much as $11.6 billion as a result of this effort due to lower energy prices. And those jobs are sustainable in the most classic sense. Unlike Obama’s stimulus jobs, they don’t need a government subsidy to keep functioning. These are some of the workers that have been hit hardest by the Obama economy. And hydraulic fracturing can put them back to work, if the left doesn’t manage to stop it. For example, in my state, as a direct result of the shale gas revolution, Dow Chemical recently re-opened a plant in St. Charles that had been shuttered since January of 2009 --and is planning to further expand a plant in Plaquemine, making a billion dollar investment in the state and creating jobs along with that investment. On climate change—there are lots of different views and disagreements on both science and policy—but no serious analyst believes that the U.S. can dramatically alter the global emissions trajectory alone. The growth in emissions in China has dwarfed that of the U.S. And yet, liberals’ energy policy and engagement seems to pretend that we are an island. They are unilaterally punishing energy usage in America by making it less affordable while pretending that China, India and the rest of the world don’t exist. Something more useful would be a full-court-press to facilitate American energy companies’ efforts to grow China’s natural gas development and pipeline market. But instead we’ve been wasting our time on an ill-considered liberal UN global governance program on climate change that says that Burkina Faso’s vote is just as important as China’s or America’s. Predictably in its latest iteration in Warsaw, it has evolved into little more than developing countries attempting to bring in climate ransom payments from developed counties. Liberals were wrong when they said we had to ratify Kyoto to reduce U.S. emissions. We didn’t and we reduced our emissions through American innovation far faster than many countries that did sign up. And we did it while lowering our electricity prices. Instead of wasting our time on Kyoto, we could have put our diplomatic muscle behind strongly pushing joint ventures between U.S. energy companies, the most technologically advanced in the world, and their Chinese counterparts.
We need real solutions. Liberals like to say Republicans are denying science, but they are denying math. Liberals claim they can understand incredibly complex climate models with multi-decade time scales and hundreds of variables-- but evidently they can’t divide by 30. As the Manhattan Institute’s Robert Bryce observed, the world uses the energy equivalent of 30 Saudi Arabias worth of oil production each day. Of that, only ! of a Saudi Arabia is from all of the non-hydro renewables combined. The other 29 and ! Saudi Arabias worth of energy are all from conventional energy, mostly fossil fuels. If we want to come up with innovative energy solutions that address people’s real needs, we can’t just pay attention to the ! --we have to focus a lot of our interest on the 29 and !. According to Dr. David Victor, a leading energy expert at University of California at San Diego, the boom in hydraulic fracturing over the last six years in the U.S. has led to a reduction of 400 to 500 Megatons per year of CO2 emissions. This is more than twice as much as was reduced worldwide in total through the Kyoto Protocol and many times more than the emissions reductions from all of the solar, wind, and biofuels in the world combined. The sad truth is that the far-left, with the active cooperation of leading Democrats, is pushing energy austerity, and is holding America hostage to its extremist and unscientific views. They want the government to tell Americans to live in smaller houses, drive smaller cars, set their thermostats higher in the summer and lower in the winter. The fact is the left isn’t arguing against routing the Keystone pipeline through a piece of geography. The fact is the left isn’t arguing against the process for which oil and natural gas are pulled out of the ground and used to generate power. The fact is that the left isn’t even arguing for the easiest ways we could make dramatic reductions in global carbon emissions. What the extremist left IS arguing against is affordable energy. They want energy to remain expensive . . . they want less consumption of energy, even when that means a poorer, less secure, America. The American left does not believe in the potential of the North American entrepreneur to grow a better future for our children. Let’s reduce wasteful energy consumption and bring new technologies to market through efficiency and innovation, not austerity or government winner-picking. They are arguing against the American narrative . . . the unswerving belief that we can make tomorrow better than today, that today's economy is but a fraction of what it will become, that our standard of living will increase thanks to our hard work and ingenuity. That ethos of economic optimism among our people is what has made America the safest, freest, healthiest, richest, most secure land in the entire world. 5
They want us to constantly divvy up our existing economic pie into smaller and smaller shares and only to their favored constituencies and technologies. They are making an argument for decline. Do not let them off the hook on being situationally against certain types of energy they do not personally like. It is the same group of people that argues against shale gas, that argue against nuclear energy, that argue against hydroelectric dams, and that argue against anything that fuels the economy that grows and secures America. The only energy sources they support are the ones that have to be eternally subsidized -- a massive transfer payment from one part of the economy to the other, using solar panels and windmill parts made in China and Spain, paid for with American taxpayer dollars. We need alternative energy to be sure…but swapping out one taxpayer's dollar for another taxpayer's windmill or solar panel is not growth. It takes growth to feed a country. It takes affordable energy to create growth. It takes the full maximization of the resources God gave us to give our citizens the full and maximum security they deserve. Governors and local leaders understand that tapping into our abundant energy produces prosperity, creates jobs, and gives Americans more choices. We need Washington D.C. to get out of the way. Let’s develop and grow our energy economy through efficiency and innovation, not austerity. ###
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