Karen Alderman Harbert
Former President and Chief Executive Officer, U.S. Chamber Global Energy Institute, U.S. Chamber of Commerce


April 26, 2017


Ensuring secure, reliable, and affordable sources of energy has always been an important priority for the U.S. Chamber and our Institute for 21st Century Energy.  Over the last decade, America’s energy landscape has changed dramatically, from one of energy scarcity to energy abundance. 

Unfortunately, our nation’s energy policies didn’t catch up.  While we saw tremendous growth in energy production thanks to the development of shale oil and gas, it was largely in spite of federal policies, not because of them.  

Under the Trump Administration, however, there is now even more potential to grow our economy and make America a true energy superpower.  Over the first 100 days, the President and his Administration have demonstrated its commitment to an all of the above energy policy and begun working on policies that will help unleash more jobs and opportunities.

For instance, the Administration approved both the Dakota Access pipeline and the Keystone XL pipeline, two common sense infrastructure projects that had been politicized by extreme activists and celebrities.  Also, the President has made elimination of permitting roadblocks a top priority by issuing an executive order to begin the process of speeding up environmental reviews for infrastructure projects.  Without infrastructure in place to transport energy resources to consumers and markets, the economic benefits of the shale revolution will not be realized. 

Perhaps most importantly, the new administration has committed to collaborating with the states on environmental regulation instead of ignoring them and forcing mandates.   The Administration began working on curbing the so-called “Clean Power Plan,” which would have dramatically re-made the U.S. electricity sector while having a miniscule impact on global greenhouse gas emissions.  A similar announcement was made with regard to “Waters of the U.S.” rule, which have imposed layers of new regulations on governments and businesses far beyond what was necessary to protect clean water.  Countless other regulations are also under review, with an eye toward removing roadblocks to energy independence.

Meanwhile, American energy companies are investing in new technologies and constantly innovating to improve efficiency, reliability and safety, while keeping prices low.  Manufacturers are now leaving other countries where energy is more expensive and flocking to the U.S. to take advantage of our resources.  And thousands of companies eagerly await the promised shift towards a pro-energy development policy.

Unfortunately, there is a vocal and increasingly influential movement that wants to “keep it in the ground.”  This extremist movement ignores the realities of modern life, the continued global demand for energy resources, and the strong environmental record in the United States compared to other nations where energy could be produced instead. 

We believe that the facts are on our side, and that common sense and free enterprise will prevail.  The opportunities are too great, and with a concerted effort from the White House and Congress, the state of American energy can be even stronger. 

About the authors

Karen Alderman Harbert

Karen Alderman Harbert is the former president and chief executive officer of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce’s Institute for 21st Century Energy (Institute).