Energy Security and Independence from Foreign Energy Sourcing
Overview on Energy Security in the US
The landscape of United States Energy has been changing over the course of the 21st Century. Between the years 2000 and 2019, the United States transitioned from being one of largest importers of various forms of energy to becoming one of the largest producers. The US also became the world’s largest producer of natural gas because of the wide expansion of fracking infrastructure. Renewable energy production has also expanded over time, but still makes up a relatively small portion of US energy consumption, approximately 11% as of 2019.
Over time, the US has been looking to push towards expanding renewable energy production and consumption due to the growing threat of climate change. It has been proven that much of the atmospheric and climate changes over the last century have been due to human activity, including fracking, which releases CO2, methane, and other greenhouse gases.
However there has been push towards energy production of all kinds to increase energy security. Energy security is the goal of having steady and independent access to domestic energy sources of all kinds. The goal would be to survive on energy completely produced in the United States without needing imports, allowing the US to have complete control in their own energy economy.
Energy independence is the goal of being able to supply our own energy without the imports and assistance of foreign nations, hence being independent of other nations. This would lead to the creation of more jobs as well as lower the cost of energy. The current conflict with Russia has brought the importance of energy independence into the limelight.
Russia is currently the third highest petroleum source for the United States. Gas prices have increased both in the US and globally due to sanctions against Russia because of their actions against Ukraine. Making more of a stride to move towards energy independence would allow the US to rely less on countries that are not standing for the same values. The US would also be able to implement defensive policies such as sanctions without fear of substantial economic impact to the American people.
The United States’ dependence on foreign energy has hidden many potential domestic economic opportunities. Establishing our own robust energy market would make energy more affordable and accessible to the public. The overall outcome is a more equitable and just energy economy for the American people.
Defense Production Act
The Defense Production Act (DPA) of 1950 (P.L. 81-774, 50 U.S.C. §§4501 et seq.) gives the President the authority to rapidly supply necessary materials and supplies for the purposes of defense and in order to prepare for an emergency. It was originally introduced in response to the Korean War and officially signed into law by President Harry Truman.
The use of the Act must be approved by Congress, and it is currently going to expire in 2025 when it will need to be renewed. Presidents have invoked DPA for a variety of reasons. President Obama used it for renewable infrastructure as well as expanded it to 16 federal agencies. President Trump used it to expedite the production of ventilators and N95 masks during the COVID-19 pandemic, and now President Biden would like to use it to strengthen the renewable supply chain to reduce reliance on foreign energy sources.
The Act is being used to enhance renewables through the lens of strengthening defense by no longer requiring energy supply from imports. The language of the Act also details that there should be cooperation between the commercial and defense sectors for efforts under this legislation.
Support the Energy Security and Independence Act +
On April 6, 2022 Congresswoman Cori Bush (D-MO-01), Congressman Jason Crow (D-CO-06), and Senator Bernie Sanders (I-VT) introduced the Energy Security and Independence Act (ESIA). This bill would allow President Biden to invoke the Defense Production Act (DPA) of 1950 to strengthen the renewable energy supply chain.
The ESIA provides $100,000,000,000 to the President for the implementation of the DPA for the purposes of funding renewable energy production. This would strengthen defense for the US as well as lessen the burden on the public when imports are scarce or stagnated, such as the case during the current conflict between Russia and Ukraine.