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U.S. Chamber Puts 2014 Focus on Domestic Energy, Exports

The U.S. Chamber of Commerce said Wednesday one of the "key parts" of its 2014 strategy is to "advance and protect America’s energy revolution" through the production of more domestic energy, the improvement of infrastructure and the modernization of the government's regulatory process.

In his annual State of the American Business address Wednesday, CEO Thomas J. Donohue said the Chamber in 2014 "will focus its tools, talent, capacities and resources to advance a jobs, growth and opportunity agenda that we believe will benefit all Americans." Next Wednesday, the Chamber's Institute for 21st Century Energy will unveil its new “Energy Works for US” initiative, which it says contains more than 60 recommendations to help the United States seize its energy potential and unleash the benefits across the country's entire economy.

The plan includes ideas to expand trade, produce more domestic energy and improve infrastructure, which together "would create millions of good-paying jobs." He added that the Chamber will push for government reform to modernize a regulatory process "that hasn’t been updated since Harry Truman was president."

He said that during 2012, unconventional oil and gas alone added $284 billion in gross domestic product; generated nearly $75 billion in federal and state tax revenues; and supported 2.1 million jobs.

"We have more recoverable conventional oil and gas off our shores than the proven oil reserves of Europe and Asia combined, yet 87% of it remains off limits," Donohue said. "We have enough recoverable coal to power our economy for more than 200 years. We must tap this vital resource -- prudently, safely, and vigorously."

Donohue added that the country's new era of energy abundance gives it an "unrivaled opportunity" to transform from a nation that is dependent upon imports to one that is a significant energy exporter. "It means we can continue to attract new manufacturing and, over time, trillions of dollars of investments to our country."

Chalking up the progress that has already been made as occurring "largely in spite of national policy rather than because of it," he urged government to "thoughtfully" open more federal lands onshore and offshore and remove and guard against unnecessary restrictions, delays, and regulations.

He held up the Keystone XL pipeline project as an example, asserting that the United States has idled American workers and "deeply offended our most important ally" for the sake of domestic politics. "We are calling on the Obama administration to put American jobs before special interest politics and approve this project now," Donohue said.

He added that the United States also must continue to support and develop nuclear energy, which provides 20% of the country's electricity. "And we should continue smart investments in viable alternatives, renewables, and greater energy efficiency."

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