More than 50 members of the US House of Representatives asked US Trade Representative Robert E. Lighthizer to consider North American energy independence as he begins talks with representatives from Canada and Mexico about modernizing the North American Free Trade Agreement.
“North American energy markets are highly integrated and interdependent with energy infrastructure, including pipelines and electric transmission, crossing the US, Mexican, and Canadian borders several times,” Reps. Tom Reed (R-NY), Terri A. Sewell (D-Ala.), and 56 more Republicans and Democrats, said in a May 30 letter.
“Maintaining the flow of energy among these countries is vital to American energy security and economic viability,” they told Lighthizer.
The North American energy picture has changed dramatically since NAFTA was enacted 23 years ago, the lawmakers said. “For instance, the US has experienced dramatic growth in resource production, making it the world’s leading producer of oil and natural gas, while Mexico has opened its energy sector to foreign investment for the first time in over 75 years,” they noted.
Investments and innovations in oil sands, LNG, and transmission systems have made Canada one of the world’s Top 5 energy producers, the letter said. “In short, NAFTA has set the stage for North America to be truly energy independent,” it asserted.
American Petroleum Institute Pres. Jack N. Gerard welcomed their letter, and said House members from both parties recognize the many benefits integrated energy markets provide for the US economy and consumers.
“NAFTA has played a critical role facilitating North American energy self-sufficiency by facilitating cross-border trade and investment in energy, supporting millions of US jobs in the oil and natural gas industry,” he said.