October 4, 2023, was the first-ever National Energy Appreciation Day (NEAD). U.S. Senator Cynthia Lummis from Wyoming and U.S. Representative Jeff Duncan from South Carolina made NEAD official by filing companion bicameral resolutions in Congress. The purpose of this day is twofold. First, to celebrate the men and women of U.S. energy who work to power our modern lives. Second, to build awareness regarding energy’s role in reducing poverty, strengthening national security, and improving the quality of life for people around the world. While we can all agree on celebrating National Energy Appreciation Day, the rhetoric around the future of U.S. energy is very divergent. Can you find the lie below?
A. As the United States has refined the process of extracting resources—mainly coal, oil, and natural gas—life expectancy has more than doubled and extreme poverty rates have significantly decreased.
B. Each job in the U.S. oil and natural gas generates 3.7 jobs elsewhere in the economy.
C. U.S. energy is outdated and needs to be modernized towards a cleaner system that achieves net zero emissions standards.
A. TRUE! The United States is a leader in energy innovation, which has been a boon to the health and well-being of our society. Stable energy systems bring access to life-saving technologies like heat during the winter, water treatment, medicine, and refrigeration. In countries that do not have sophisticated energy systems, life expectancy is 10 to 20 years shorter and children under five regularly succumb to preventable diseases.
B. TRUE! U.S. energy jobs create other jobs all across the economy. Today, 7.8 million Americans work in the energy industry and according to one report, each job in the oil and natural gas industry generates 3.7 jobs elsewhere in the economy—ultimately supporting 10.8 million jobs nationwide. Energy jobs come with higher-than-average salaries, serving as an important source of income for families and spurring significant investments in local communities. These jobs also generate significant revenue for the federal government. In 2022, federal oil and natural gas leases for onshore and offshore development brought in more than $22 billion that is used to support local development for improved schools, infrastructure, and conservation work.
C. LIE! Our modern energy industry is why we lead the world in environmental progress and our economy is the envy of the world. U.S. energy is not perfect but it sets a high standard for creating economic opportunities while also reducing overall emissions to bolster both the planet and public health. Advancements in natural gas extraction have been a key driver of our world-leading emissions reductions. According to the International Energy Agency, U.S. overall reductions represent the “largest absolute decline among all countries since 2000” and this has been the case since 2019. Net zero policies aimed at banning or drastically limiting fossil fuels like natural gas, which provide 80% of our daily energy needs, are unrealistic and come with a host of consequences such as lost jobs and expensive electricity.
When it comes to U.S. energy, we have a lot to celebrate—especially the men and women of the industry that make it all work. If you know an energy worker or run into them, take a moment to thank them for what they do. U.S. energy power isn’t just about flipping on the lights or filling up our cars, it also fuels our aspirations.
Click here to read more about the National Energy Appreciation Day.