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Aug 4, 2016

This Election Year, Commit To Energy Security

Sponsored Content provided by David McGowan, III - Executive Director , N.C. Petroleum Council; American Petroleum Institute-NC

This past week, North Carolina veterans heard from both presidential candidates at the Veterans of Foreign Wars Convention in Charlotte. At a time when attentions and media stories are pulled in every direction, one thing is clear – our veterans remain the cornerstone of this country. Both Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump seem to think so as well.
 
One thing veterans care most about is national security, and we are unfortunately living in a time where our national security is not a given. We cannot stand by and believe our safety and security will take care of itself. Anyone who has served our country on the battlefield knows this all too well.
 
The same is true as we consider our energy security. Americans heavily rely on energy to power our lives. Fortunately, we have the natural resources within our borders to provide this energy for ourselves.
 
The fact that our nation’s natural resources are essential to our national security makes them even more precious. Unfortunately, too many of our fellow citizens have been sold on the false notion that developing and protecting our natural resources are conflicting goals. In fact, they're complementary.
 
Only a nation that has become secure and prosperous by developing its resources can afford to protect them.
 
However, before we can even begin a conversation on the potential for oil and natural gas development in the Atlantic, we need to do our research to make an informed decision. Seismic surveying is the first critical step in the process of better understanding where our resources are, what type of resources exist, and how much oil and gas is really there. This cutting-edge technology is used safely around the world to identify oil and gas deposits, to determine placement of wind energy facilities, and to study the earth’s crust. In fact, seismic surveying research was conducted off North Carolina’s coast as recently as fall 2014 for scientific purposes, without any evidence of harm to the marine mammals or the environment, but it hasn’t been used in the Atlantic for oil and gas research since the mid-1980s. Whether we ultimately decide to develop any resources that are found is a question for the future, but at the very least it is in our national interest to gather the data to inform future decision-making at the local, state and national  levels.
 
In my travels around the state, I’ve had the great pleasure of interacting with many of our veterans, as well as our active service members stationed at Fort Bragg, Camp Lejeune, Seymour Johnson Air Force Base, and Marine Corps Air Station Cherry Point. In these conversations, a vast majority of people tell me they would be pleased to see a commitment made toward further understanding and developing our domestic energy resources. Such a commitment would undoubtedly reduce the likelihood of our service members having to risk their lives to maintain access to reliable oil and natural gas supplies, as they often have done in the past.
 
I want to protect what makes our nation and state beautiful as much as anyone, but I also want my country to be secure and prosperous.
 
These are not antagonistic goals. Let's resolve to do them both.
 
David McGowan III is executive director of the North Carolina Petroleum Council. The North Carolina Petroleum Council is a division of American Petroleum Institute, which represents all segments of America's technology-driven oil and natural gas industry. Its 500-plus members provide most of the nation's energy. For more information, go to http://www.api.org or contact McGowan at [email protected].

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