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US Chamber of Commerce president calls for energy sector development

January 14, 2013
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The United States needs to implement policies that enable the responsible development of the country's oil and gas and help it deal with its federal budget deficit and unemployment problems, according to the U.S. Chamber of Commerce President Thomas Donohue.

While giving his 2013 State of American Business address, Donohue claimed that taking responsible but quick measures to boost the development of the U.S. energy industry could significantly relieve the American fiscal problem and it could also have a positive effect on other aspects of the country's economy.

At present the United States has more coal, gas and oil than any other country in the world and this fact should be used to its own advantage. The country is in position to export liquefied natural gas (LNG) and coal to other parts of the world, which would result in a meaningful reduction of its trade deficit, pouring billions of dollars into the national economy.

The boom in oil and gas production is already helping the economy by creating numerous manufacturing jobs, mostly in the chemical and steel industries, Donohue said. It could also result in an overall growth in manufacturing, better national security and improved revenues for the government. However, achieving this requires centralized control of land onshore and offshore for exploration and development, as well as fair and transparent regulation, Donohue added. More needs to be done to speed up the rate of growth of the national economy, because growing at a rate of 1.5 to 2.0 percent is "unacceptable," he claimed.

He also believes that the country needs to continue with the development of nuclear power plants and delve deeper into the possible uses of wind, solar, geothermal and other alternative and renewable energy sources, as a means to ensure the United States is taking full advantage of the opportunities presented by various sources of energy and make it less dependent on global energy and feedstock suppliers.

Speaking to reporters after his address and joined by the Chamber's executive vice-president for government affairs, R. Bruce Josten, Donohue insisted that further development of the U.S. oil and gas industries and low gas prices could attract significant capital to the country. Josten supported this view by stating that the country needs to get more LNG to global markets, as a signatory to a number of global resource commodity trade agreements.

The Chamber's president went on to say that LNG exports have to be allowed, because otherwise the surplus of production will continue to outweigh national demand, leading to low prices and making producers cut down on capacity and abandon wells.

Donohue said that the government should try to reduce spending before increasing taxes, with the exception of the federal gasoline tax, which has not been hiked for two decades. The federal gasoline tax is, in fact, a user fee and it contributes to repair works of highways, roads and bridges that are in derelict condition, he added.

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