Michael Webber (Chron.com): As Republican presidential candidates like Gov. Rick Perry tout their energy plans, they would do well to study our best energy president in decades: President Obama.
Advocates for the U.S. energy industry routinely say they wish President Obama would pursue pro-growth energy policies. Well, he has been, and not just for the likes of fallen green giants like Solyndra. Under Obama, the traditional U.S. energy sector is flourishing. The domestic energy sector is experiencing its largest growth since the halcyon days of the 1950s and 1960s. As importantly, we’re growing in the right directions.
For the first time in decades, we are seeing sustained increases in U.S. oil production and decreases in oil consumption, which means imports are dropping.
U.S. domestic oil production is up an incredible 14 percent since Obama took office. A few years ago we imported nearly two-thirds of our petroleum products. Today we import less than half. The reduction in imports means tens of billions of dollars now stay in our own economy.
But it’s not just oil: dry natural gas production is up 16 percent, natural gas liquids are up 26 percent, solar generation is up 14 percent and wind generation is up 59 percent. Even production of coal – supposedly the main target of Obama’s policies – is flat over that same time period. There are even headlines blaring that U.S. refining capacity is at the highest point in decades, exceeding levels achieved under recent Republican administrations. All of this growth produces royalties and taxes to address our budget challenges.
….. In light of all the bad news about partisan debt fights, maybe we can all celebrate the good news that U.S. energy policy – against all odds – is finally reaping significant rewards for all of us. Our Energy President deserves a fair share of the credit.
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