Brunswick Beacon, 03.17.22
Rep. David Rouzer’s energy comments are a dishonest attempt to score political points off Ukrainian suffering. They reveal his willingness to mislead voters about the fossil fuel industry, and how it rewards him.
Rouzer falsely claims that America no longer produces more energy than we use. His mistake is confusing net energy surplus for energy independence. America is the world’s largest exporter of Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG), and our net energy surplus is actually bigger now than it was under Trump. But we consume more crude oil each day than we produce, so we are dependent on imported oil because we need gasoline, not LNG, for automobiles.
More importantly, America isn’t energy independent primarily because “America” doesn’t own the energy. We’re not socialists! We can’t make Duke Energy, for example, sell us natural gas. American companies don’t have to meet our needs before selling fossil fuels overseas for bigger profits. When they export their energy, we must meet our needs with imports. That’s capitalism.
There are two reasons we buy Russian oil:
1) We were Venezuela’s biggest customer until Trump embargoed Venezuelan oil in 2019. The Washington Post reports, “In the U.S. embargo on Venezuelan oil, Russia is a clear winner.”
2) American companies produce 8% less oil than before COVID. That’s why Rouzer’s demand for more pipelines is pointless. They take years to build, harm the environment and wouldn’t make producers drill at pre-pandemic levels.
Companies aren’t drilling, says industry analyst Pavel Molchanov. "They are under pressure from the financial community to pay more dividends, to do more share buybacks instead of the proverbial 'drill baby drill.'”
So why is Rouzer repeating nonsense from the fossil fuel industry? Could it be because Duke Energy has contributed to each of Rouzer’s campaigns since 2014, for a total of $28,000?
Rouzer’s attacks don’t make sense for us — they make dollars for him.
Linda McConnell Baker