Karen Harbert: ‘Energy is now our comparative competitive advantage’


Karen Harbert, president and CEO of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce's Institute for 21st Century Energy, at Washington Post Live's Energy & the Election breakfast forum at the Republican National Convention in Tampa. (Donald Lynd/For the Washington Post)
September 11, 2012

KAREN HARBERT

U.S. Chamber of Commerce’s
Institute for 21st Century Energy

Energy is now our comparative competitive advantage. We have a lot of oil. We have a lot of natural gas. We have a lot of coal.

Five years ago when I was at the Department of Energy, I spent a lot of time traveling around the places that you’ll never go on vacation trying to talk to them about selling us natural gas. Now, today, we’re looking at the prospect of exporting natural gas, so it is a complete game-changer and I don’t think the American people fully understand that.

Most of the resources are on federal lands. Right now we’re experiencing an uptake in productivity in drilling and exploration because it’s happening on private lands. Why? Because we don’t have access to the federal and state lands, so there has to be a change so that we can get access to those resources.

When it takes 300 days to get a permit here and it takes 17 days in another country, if I’m a capital investor, I’m going for 17, not 300. So we’ve got to get serious at making it easier to do business here, not harder.

No CEO wakes up in the morning and says, “What can I do bad to the environment today?” They live here too.

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