President Trump’s decision to reexamine and reverse federal restrictions on offshore energy activity is a welcome development for families and small businesses across Maryland.
After years of the feds just saying “no” to the mere possibility of developing our own oil and natural gas in places like the mid-Atlantic, we now have an opportunity to get things right by finding a balance that recognizes we can develop our energy while protecting the environment.
The best part is that workers and families in the Old Line State could significantly benefit.
For Maryland, one study has found Atlantic-wide activity could mean more than $4 billion in new spending, more than 7,200 jobs, more than $630 million in annual contributions to the economy and nearly $500 million in new state revenue.
That’s a major benefit for families and small business across the region, especially those who are struggling to make ends meet and can’t afford to pay more for gas or electricity.
The energy revolution unfolding across the country, despite an endless onslaught of federal restrictions, has led to a rebirth in manufacturing, with businesses setting up shop here to take advantage of affordable and reliable energy. Increasing access to the nation’s energy resources will help ensure we maintain and enhance that competitive edge.
And with nearly 3,700 manufacturing companies already generating nearly $20 billion in gross state product, a vibrant Port of Baltimore and a strategic location along the Eastern Seaboard, Maryland workers and communities are primed to benefit.
Given that manufacturing currently accounts for just 4 percent of Maryland’s economy, there’s plenty of room to grow.
With customers in Maryland paying more for electricity than any other state in the mid- and south Atlantic region — other than New York and New Jersey — access to Atlantic resources, which include an estimated 26-plus trillion cubic feet of natural gas, would provide needed relief for Maryland households and businesses.
Given that the region’s waters have yet to be surveyed with modern-day technologies that were unavailable when the area was last explored, in the 1980s, the projected amount of Atlantic natural gas could be even greater than originally thought and could provide more savings on utility bills.
To help secure a prosperous future for current and future generations of Marylanders, we must utilize every opportunity to take advantage of the state’s access and proximity to all forms of energy, including renewables like wind and conventional resources.
With domestic energy consumption expected to increase and conventional energy expected to comprise a greater share of the nation’s energy portfolio in 2040 than it did in 2016, natural gas and oil must be part of the solution as well.
Federal actions in recent years that cordoned off most of the country’s offshore resources were surely welcomed in foreign capitals of energy-producing nations, but dealt an unnecessary and premature blow to future job creation and economic growth possibilities, including right here in Maryland.
With this latest announcement, however, we can reverse course and reopen the door to new opportunities that could provide a new boost for families, small businesses, and workers in Maryland.