"It's been a great thing for the country," said Powell when asked about the industry during his congressional testimony on Wednesday. While Trump, speaking at the Economic Club of New York the day before, stated that “according to the Council of Economic Advisers, the astonishing increase in production, made possible by the shale revolution, saves Americans $2,500 for a family of four in lowering electric bills and prices at the pump. And the number is actually now even higher than that.”
That’s a substantial amount of money. Despite calls by major candidates to reverse course and stop drilling and fracking, the reality is that the U.S. energy industry and their advances have improved the lives of every single American.
Not only that, the shale revolution has created jobs in the U.S. energy industry, but the benefits of lower energy costs have also allowed many businesses to thrive and create even more jobs. Should the industry face a clampdown, Powell said there will be consequences. "To shut down the shale industry probably would not be a good thing for the economy."
Additionally, the president correctly pointed out that “America is now the number-one producer of oil and natural gas on the entire planet Earth." He said that net energy imports “set a historic low; it’s a 58-year low, but that’s only because they only go back 58 years, meaning, I assume if it’s low now, it’s lower than it used to be unless something happened that’s very strange back then. But it’s at a historic low.” The president also pointed out that the U.S. is a “net exporter of natural gas, and we recently became a net exporter of crude oil and petroleum products for the first time in our country’s history. It’s a big thing.”
Powell also gushed about America's energy independence. "It's in the nature of a miracle," he said during the same testimony.
He is right it is a big thing: Those advances and achievements in energy, in part spurred on by Trump's more energy-friendly policies, are making you more wealthy.
The shale revolution that has provided abundant cheap energy not only has provided economic benefits but also national security benefits as well. Not only does the move towards energy independence put more money in your pocket it is making the country more secure from a national security standpoint.
The movement away from the United States' dependence on foreign oil is allowing the country to make better strategic positions and not have a foreign policy that is driven by energy dependence on other countries that do not have our best interest at heart.
Many believe that much of U.S. foreign policy in past decades was directly tied to the fact that we were dependent on other country's oil to keep our economy going. Some played our participation in many foreign wars as a means to protect oil. So one would think that we would welcome the fact that the U.S. is now in a position of not only oil independence but also energy dominance.
Critics of course point to climate change and seem to suggest that the world should get off of fossil fuels at any cost. Yet based on past doom and gloom predictions on where climate change would be at this point would suggest that we can take a more measured approach on the vital energy subject. And besides, because of fracking and our record production of natural gas we can replace more coal plants, and by default, that is already providing greenhouse gas relief to the environment.
At this point, there seems to be no realistic alternative to fossil fuels in the short run. All alternatives have their drawbacks, and even as they seem to be clean on the surface, solar panels and electric cars still need fossil fuels to produce them. A rollback on the shale revolution would be a mistake and cost you more money and put many jobs at risk.