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Government Stands In The Way of Energy Independence

In a striking blow for the environmental left, the International Energy Agency released a report last Monday detailing how the United States is on track to outpace Saudi Arabia in oil production.  This surely puts the Obama administration in a bind concerning their green energy monomania that has dominated their energy policy for the past four years.  Heritage compiled a nice butcher’s bill of the president’s green energy investments.  However, the most important part about this development is that it proves that the United States can be energy independent, and we have the resources to achieve that feat.  However, the boot of government is trying to centralize and control those resources to expand their dependency agenda.  It’s hard to oppose someone when they have their finger on the power switch.

Elisabeth Rosenthal wrote in the New York Times on Nov. 12 that “the United States will overtake Saudi Arabia as the world’s leading oil producer by about 2017 and will become a net oil exporter by 2030…that increased oil production, combined with new American policies to improve energy efficiency, means that the United States will become “all but self-sufficient” in meeting its energy needs in about two decades — a “dramatic reversal of the trend” in most developed countries, a new report released by the agency says.” However, it’s hard to meet that goal when the government decided to cordon off 1.6 million acres, worth about 1 trillion barrels worth of oil, for conservation

 Thomas J. Pyle, president of the Institute for Energy Research (IER), reiterated that exploration and development of federal lands is a necessity to meet our goal of energy independence. When I asked him about how this report will effect the narrative disseminated by government officials and left-wing enviroementalists, Pyle said, “unfortunately, it seems part of the divide.  Those who want restrictions have their best success in manipulating policies on public lands – the very places where they don’t live and work. High prices also get people’s attention, but then it becomes a blame game – politicians always point the finger at everybody but themselves and oil companies are probably the only group besides lawyers who are less popular than politicians.  But we are making headway!”

Dan Kish, Senior Vice President for Policy at IER, claimed that the political left will respond by trying “to federalize hydraulic fracturing regulation, which is being done by states in a very professional and knowledgeable way.  Take fracking away, the oil and gas production drops. They also always seek to drive up the costs of activities so as to make them uneconomic, and there is no shortage of levers they use for that.   Since the myth of energy scarcity is their justification for federal programs the like, this doesn’t fit the agenda.  They will fight it by trying to scare people.”

They’ve already begun with Jacob Weissmann’s asinine Nov. 13 piece in The Atlantic. Basically, he says that we can’t drill our way to independence, Saudi Arabia is just too good at this oil production stuff, and we need to conserve to “insulate ourselves from rising gas prices.”   Sadly, Weissmann never factored in oil + increased coal production, since we are the Saudi Arabia of coal.  Also, natural gas via The Marcellus Shale is another major area of energy development.

Weissman isn’t looking at it through a larger scope.  In 1.6 million acres alone, we have 1 trillion barrels worth of petroleum.  In 1944, we were estimated to have about 20 billion in proven oil reserves, but we’ve produced 176 billion barrels between 1945-2010.  Concerning coal, we have enough to power our country for 485 years.  We have the resources to become energy independent, but government feels otherwise. As Pyle and Kish told me before, the War on Energy isn’t about conservation. It’s about control.

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