In a striking blow for the environmental left, the International Energy Agency has released a report 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 its green energy monomania that has dominated their energy policy for the past four years. This finding shows that the United States can be energy independent, and we have the resources to do so. However, the boot of government is trying to centralize and control those resources to expand their dependency agenda. It's hard to oppose someone who has his finger on the power switch. According to the report (emphasis added):
“By around 2020, the United States is projected to become the largest global oil producer (overtaking Saudi Arabia until the mid-2020s) and starts to see the impact of new fuel-efficiency measures in transport. The result is a continued fall in US oil imports, to the extent that North America becomes a net oil exporter around 2030. This accelerates the switch in direction of international oil trade towards Asia, putting a focus on the security of the strategic routes that bring Middle East oil to Asian markets. The United States, which currently imports around 20% of its total energy needs, becomes all but self-sufficient in net terms – a dramatic reversal of the trend seen in most other energy importing countries.”
However, it's hard to meet that goal when the government has 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 affect the narrative disseminated by government officials and left-wing environmentalists, 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 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 plus 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.
Weissmann 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 have told me before, the War On Energy isn't about conservation. It's about control.