Whether the stimulus package before Congress will be enough to get all Americans working again, we won’t know for some time. For our country’s sake, I hope so.

But there is a lot more that can be done, including encouraging our industry, which has a proven record of providing the type of good jobs we desperately need. At the very least, Congress and the administration should refrain from setting up impediments to its growth.

America’s oil and natural gas industry already supports more than 6 million jobs. It also provides billions of dollars to federal and state treasuries. A recent study, by ICF International, shows we could do much more in both areas if allowed to develop the oil and natural gas resources that have been kept off-limits by Congress for decades. Such development would generate more than $1.7 trillion in government revenue over the life of the resources and create some 160,000 jobs in 2030.

Last year Congress let expire the long-standing moratoria on offshore development that kept our companies from going after those resources. It would be extremely short-sighted to attempt to reverse that action, as some advocate.

We need a balanced energy approach. That means more of everything, from renewable energy to traditional energy sources such as oil and natural gas. While other energy sources will provide more and more of the energy we need as the years go by, the Department of Energy tells us that we will continue to need oil and natural gas to meet the majority of our energy needs for decades to come. Congress and the president should not lose sight of that reality.