Over the last year, we have continually and appropriately criticized the Department of Interior for dragging their feet with respect to the issuance of permits for both shallow water operations and deep water operations in the Gulf of Mexico in the wake of the tragic, idiosyncratic Macondo spill last April.
That criticism was warranted by the immediate set of circumstances. But it is also important to recognize that the bureaucratic delay that has been on display for the last year or so at Interior is emblematic and symptomatic of a larger problem. The simple truth is that virtually the entire federal energy and environmental permitting regime is designed to enrich lawyers and environmental activists, empower federal bureaucrats, and impoverish the United States and her citizens.
To correct this, and to help ensure that the United States can access, use, and derive benefit from what is the world’s largest reserve of energy resources (see what we mean here), the Institute for Energy Research has crafted the American Energy Act of 2011. This model energy legislation will:
- Allow the United States and her citizens to access, use, and derive benefit from all of its energy resources, which constitute the largest supply of energy in the world;
- Put the United States back in charge of its own energy destiny and improve our energy security;
- Encourage innovators and entrepreneurs to create jobs (including manufacturing jobs) throughout the nation;
- Lower the price of energy for Americans and American businesses by producing more of our own energy;
- Improve our ability to compete globally;
- Generate hundreds of billions of dollars in taxes to federal and State governments, helping to pay down the record deficits; and
- Reduce reliance on lawyers and increase reliance on scientists and engineers in making decisions related to energy and the environment.
This model legislation is a dramatic departure from the current regulatory approach, which is characterized by glacial permitting processes, endless rounds of litigation, and bureaucratic indifference to potential job creation, tax revenue, or reduced pressure on energy prices. In case you doubt that, take a look at the Obama Administration’s record (here and here).
In contrast, the American Energy Act will provide transparency, reduce bureaucratic and legal delays, ensuring that those who care about projects (one way or the other) will get prompt and meaningful decisions and limit litigation.