Editor’s Note: When the Tulsa Business Journal approached the Interstate Oil and Gas Compact Commission about writing a commentary for this edition, little did we realize that the request would go straight to the top, and that Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin, vice presidential candidate, would submit the article. The commentary reflects the position of the IOGCC and is not intended as a political endorsement in any way.
Energy independence. These two words continue to be at the forefront of Americans’ minds as they fill their tanks, drive to work and even pay more at the register for goods affected by rising fuel costs.
To illustrate the nation’s current dependency, Americans are 5 percent of the world’s population and consume 24 percent of the world’s oil. Currently, our nation imports about 60 percent of our oil from foreign countries. More than a quarter of our imports come from Canada and Mexico; however, some other regions from which we import these resources are at times politically unstable, creating unstable supplies and volatile prices.
As the nation grapples with how to become less dependent on foreign sources of energy, the 38 oil and natural gas producing states of the Interstate Oil and Gas Compact Commission have resolved to seek balanced solutions that include the environmentally responsible development of domestic resources. We’ve developed only a fraction of our reserves and have many times this known amount awaiting discovery and commercialization.
As chairman of the IOGCC and Governor of the great state of Alaska, I can tell you that the producing states are proud of the energy resources with which we have been blessed. We also understand, as chief regulators of these resources, that they can and should be produced in harmony with the environment, a job that we do not take lightly.
In fact, the commission’s member states have a well-established history in successful regulation resulting in sound environmental practices. Issues vary from state to state, and experienced regulators across the nation have shown great leadership in providing high quality state programs that provide the efficiency and flexibility necessary to successfully allow for the production of these important resources while protecting the environment.
When I accepted my post as IOGCC chairman at the commission’s annual meeting last year, I spoke about Alaska’s commitment to providing American energy to Americans. As governor, I have championed the construction of a pipeline that will carry natural gas, an abundant and clean source of energy, to Americans in the Lower 48 — a project that the IOGCC has resolved to support.
In addition, new technologies brought about by ever-important research and development programs have allowed companies to use unconventional means to produce oil and natural gas in states across the country, all while reducing the footprint of the operations.
However, in order to ever really accomplish strategic energy independence, the nation must come together and adopt a balanced, reality-based energy policy that includes measures to enhance the conservation and efficient recovery of America’s oil and natural gas resources. Alternative energy solutions are important to pursue, and we will. In the meantime, rational energy policy demands we include development of our existing natural resources.
Energy security, access to domestic resources, environmental protection, distribution infrastructure improvements, conservation and alternative energy development are all fundamental elements for a comprehensive energy solution.
As chairman of the Interstate Oil and Gas Compact Commission, I call on Americans to put aside political differences to preserve the nation’s quality of life. America’s political leaders must demonstrate the courage necessary to forge a national energy policy that embraces reality. ?′
Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin chairs the IOGCC, a multi-state government agency that promotes the conservation and efficient recovery of oil and natural gas resources while protecting health, safety and the environment. To learn more about IOGCCs stance on energy independence and other important issues, go online to www.iogcc.state.ok.us.