By U.S Rep. Bradley Byrne
In Alabama, we have a lot to be proud of. From our best-in-the-nation Pre-K programs to our championship caliber football teams to our booming economy, there is no shortage of things for our residents to take pride in.
One thing we often forget is our outstanding natural resources. From our forests to our waters, Alabama is blessed with an abundance of natural resources that provide a diverse base from which we can produce energy. It is very easy to take for granted our easy access to and the reliability of energy in Alabama.
The energy industry not only provides sufficient, reliable power for Alabama, but also employs thousands of our state’s residents, helps grow our economy, and generates revenue for our communities.
According to the Energy Institute of Alabama, the energy sector has created more than 124,000 jobs across our state. Moreover, the economic impact of electricity production, construction, and maintenance is an astounding $9.37 billion, putting the overall economic impact of Alabama’s energy sector at $13.22 billion. By stimulating this growth, we have created an environment for the energy sector and others to expand, thus providing even more quality opportunities for job seekers.
Bringing more jobs to Alabama has always been a priority of mine, and it is undoubtedly an exciting time to be in Alabama, with major companies recognizing our immense potential for growth and bringing more jobs to the region.
A state that provides clean, affordable, reliable energy is a crucial factor in the decisions of companies considering whether to locate in Alabama or expand their existing operations in our state. Thanks to the impressive work of our responsibly utilities, companies can feel good about choosing Alabama.
Throughout my time in Congress, I have supported an “all-of-the-above” energy strategy that allows the United States to become energy independent. We should not have to depend on foreign nations for our energy sources, especially when you consider the vast amount of resources available right here in the United States. Affordable energy is a key component to turning our economy around and putting people back to work.
If we are to accomplish a true “all-of-the-above” approach to energy production, then we must stop the senseless regulations and costly red tape. Many times, these regulations add to government bureaucracy, but do nothing to actually help protect our natural resources. Even worse, the cost of regulations is often passed on to the consumer in the form of higher energy costs. Cutting back on costly regulations is, and should remain, a primary focus of Congress.
To be clear, it is imperative that we produce energy the right way. As a coastal community, we know all too well the risks of harvesting our resources, and therefore place the utmost importance on protecting the American people and our environment. I will always be an advocate for safe policies that do not unnecessarily endanger those we aim to serve.
It is vital that we ensure future generations can enjoy the same parts of our environmental that we have been privileged to enjoy over the years. It’s comforting to know that our local energy companies also share these values and take care of what they use.
So, as I think about energy and what it means to us as Alabamians, I feel blessed to have a home state where I can flip a switch and know that the power I need to operate my air conditioner or heat my water is there. Alabama is a wonderful place for many reasons. I hope you are as proud of it as I am.