The richest person in the world would be a pauper if all his money was buried underneath his home and he refused to dig it up. Yet the US, with potentially greater energy riches than any country on Earth, continues to deny itself access to much of the treasure trove of oil and natural gas buried under our feet and off our shores, as well as oil from neighbouring Canada
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One of the key issues in the November elections for American voters will be whether they want to elect a president and members of Congress committed to using America’s energy riches to serve the American people, or whether exaggerated fears spread by crusaders against fossil fuels will continue to keep much of our own energy wealth buried and out of reach.
Iranian threats to shut off the flow of oil through the critical Strait of Hormuz dramatise the urgency for America to take the ‘Do Not Disturb’ sign off our Atlantic and Pacific coasts and vast stretches of federal lands to allow more American oil and natural gas production in an environmentally safe and responsible manner.
For the same reason, the US should embrace the chance to get 700 000 bpd of oil from our friend and neighbour Canada by granting a construction permit for the Keystone XL pipeline. After more than three years of study, there is no doubt that the pipeline would be safe and that it is desperately needed.
Unfortunately, those waging war on fossil fuels in the US believe that no matter how low we reduce emissions of greenhouse gases and traditional pollutants, on top of the massive reductions we have achieved already, ever more drastic cuts will always be needed.
The agenda of the anti fossil fuel crusaders, whose ranks unfortunately include President Barack Obama, is to drive up the price of traditional energy sources for American consumers so that the price of so called ‘alternatives’ will be cheaper by comparison.
Shortly before he took office in the Obama administration, incoming Energy Secretary Steven Chu made this clear when he told the Wall Street Journal that, ‘somehow we have to figure out how to boost the price of gasoline to the levels in Europe.’ At the time, heavily taxed fuel was selling in Europe for approximately US$ 10 a gallon.
No American politician running for office would adopt ‘US$ 10 gasoline’ as a campaign slogan unless he wanted to commit political suicide. So President Obama and his allies have embraced overregulation, permitting delays and energy tax increases in a stealth campaign to drive up oil and fuel costs without being blamed for the increases. These actions hurt American consumers who need affordable energy and American workers who need jobs, and leave America vulnerable and unprepared to deal with foreign threats to US national and economic security.