America's energy independence has contributed to the great American comeback
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On Tuesday, in the final State of the Union address of his first term, President Donald Trump painted an optimistic and forward-looking picture of America under his leadership. I agree with the president that “America’s fortunes are on the rise, and America’s future is blazing bright.”

I was especially glad to hear the president touch on how the road to America’s energy independence has contributed to the great American comeback we are experiencing.

To be sure, America’s energy independence has made our country more secure, put more money back in our pockets, and in rural areas—like those across central and northeast Pennsylvania—led to an economic explosion not seen in generations.

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The United States is now the world leader in oil and natural gas production and a net exporter of natural gas.

Pennsylvania plays a unique role in this development. Pennsylvania’s energy sector supports 300,000 direct and indirect jobs and, on any given day, as much as 10 percent of the nation’s supply of natural gas is produced in Pennsylvania’s 12th District.

These positive results are attributable to President TrumpDonald John TrumpMichael Flynn transcripts reveal plenty except crime or collusion 50 people arrested in Minneapolis as hundreds more National Guard troops deployed Missouri state lawmaker sparks backlash by tweeting 'looters deserve to be shot' MORE prioritizing production of America’s fossil fuels and the ability of places like central and northeast Pennsylvania to supply the increasing demand for American-made energy.

During the 2016 campaign, President Trump recognized the need to pull the United States out of the disastrous Paris climate accord, which disproportionately punished the United States for carbon dioxide emissions while giving the world’s leading polluters, including China, a pass.

Less than six months into office, President Trump delivered on this campaign promise.

President Trump has also restructured the onerous regulatory scheme created under the Obama administration that was nothing less than a war on American energy and the jobs it creates.

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One such action was the president replacing the Clean Power Plan with the Affordable Clean Energy Rule. The Obama-era Clean Power Plan was slated to increase energy costs, stifle energy development, and turn back the rising tide of American energy production.

The new Affordable Clean Energy Rule gives states the flexibility to regulate greenhouse gases while understanding unique regional energy differences.

President Trump has also prioritized America’s energy production by opening new areas like the Alaska National Wildlife Refuge and helping get American-produced energy to market by approving the Keystone XL and Dakota Access pipelines while also streamlining the permitting process for pipeline and other infrastructure projects.

These positive steps have led to America’s energy independence, a development which is as timely as it is important for our national security.

The less reliant the United States and our allies are on energy resources produced by countries that hate us, the less influence they have over us.

America’s energy independence has allowed us to respond appropriately and decisively to recent Iranian aggression.

In the past, an increasingly belligerent Iran would have spiked gas prices at home and dictated the length and strength of our response.

However, our new-found energy independence has allowed for a strong response such as we have seen under President Trump. As a result, Iran has de-escalated their aggression.

American energy independence has also allowed us to meet economic threats from countries like China not adhering to international climate deals. Realigned trade deals with these countries are partly attributable to our energy dominance and a refocused approach to responsible energy development that does not handcuff our economic potential.

Unfortunately, the continuation of America’s energy independence and its contribution to the great American comeback is not guaranteed.

Not only are far-left radicals in Congress advocating for irresponsible plans like the Green New Deal, which would dismantle our economy and turn us into a socialist state, but some Democrats running for President—namely former Vice President Joe Biden and Sens. Elizabeth Warren (Mass.) and Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.)—are calling for an outright ban on fossil fuels and natural gas fracking.

A fracking ban would be devastating to the robust natural gas economy in communities across Pennsylvania and would eliminate the downstream jobs at the restaurants, gas stations, and hotels that followed energy companies to the Keystone State.

We should not allow scare tactics and hyped-up campaign rhetoric threaten our great American comeback.

American energy independence means a more secure nation, a more secure economy, and a more secure future.

Congressman Fred Keller represents the 15 counties of Pennsylvania’s 12th District in central and northeastern Pennsylvania. He was elected to Congress in May 2019.