We stand at a critical juncture in the life of our nation and our state. We face what could be a very consequential election cycle.


Due to political agendas targeting oil and natural gas production, federal and state debate over taxes, regulatory issues, and energy policy often puts the oil and gas industry in the crosshairs. In addition, activist groups continue to work to obstruct energy development under a false belief that oil and gas production and use are incompatible with environmental progress.


Increasing taxes and regulations results in fewer jobs because businesses spend their resources on tax burdens and regulatory compliance instead of job creation. When tax expenditures and regulatory costs increase more than the real economy, the results are destructive to economic growth. The wrong governmental policy framework generates wrong policy.


That’s not only bad politics; it’s bad policy and an example of what happens when political orthodoxy drives energy policy.


The oil and natural gas industry can be part of the solution to our nation’s energy policy challenges. As a result of America’s unique private property and free market system, our nation’s energy landscape has dramatically improved; we’ve gone from energy scarcity to energy abundance and we lead the world in emission reductions. Entrepreneurs in the private sector and smart, state-led policies have created and continue to drive American energy leadership.


And no state is a better example of what good energy policy can mean than Kansas.


For decades Kansas has been at the forefront of all aspects of the American energy sector and continues to be a leader. The men and women of Kansas have long demonstrated that developing energy resources that promote economic growth need not come at the expense of the state’s stunning beauty, delicate ecosystems, and other natural resources.


I think lawmakers and regulators in Washington could learn much from how Kansas’ oil and natural gas industry, state regulators, and Kansans from every part of the state work together to create energy policies that encourage safe and responsible energy development, protect the environment, and provide economic growth.


The upcoming elections could be a very consequential moment for our future. In a political climate rife with hyperbolic rhetoric and unsubstantiated claims, the choices for the American people are becoming clear.


Inexpensive energy is necessary for economic advancement by the world’s poor and for recovery from the staggering economic effects of COVID-19. Ideological opposition to fossil fuels is an anti-human stance that views ordinary people not as problem-solving sources of ingenuity but as only mouths to feed, producing environmental damage.


The U.S. has a unique opportunity to show the world how energy abundance can be used as a positive force to lift people up, which is different than a philosophy of embracing a zero-emissions world.


We should work to ensure more people have access to safe, affordable and reliable energy. Because to rise out of poverty and enjoy health and safety, people need more energy, not less.


American energy policy is not a Republican issue or a Democrat issue. It is an American prosperity and leadership issue. The American people want, expect and deserve elected leaders who will place what’s best for our state and nation’s economy and energy future above partisan ideology and political posturing.


Edward Cross is president of the Kansas Independent Oil and Gas Association.