Charles Krauthammer has written a fascinating piece on America’s current position and direction in the world for The Weekly Standard. You can read it online by clicking here.
Over 4,000 words into “Decline is a Choice,” and in his final point, for the second time Krauthammer raises the issue of our own energy reserves:
There are, of course, major threats to the American economy. But there is nothing inevitable and inexorable about them. Take, for example, the threat to the dollar (as the world’s reserve currency) that comes from our massive trade deficits. Here again, the China threat is vastly exaggerated. In fact, fully two-thirds of our trade imbalance comes from imported oil. This is not a fixed fact of life. We have a choice. We have it in our power, for example, to reverse the absurd de facto 30-year ban on new nuclear power plants. We have it in our power to release huge domestic petroleum reserves by dropping the ban on offshore and Arctic drilling.
Nothing is written. Nothing is predetermined. We can reverse the slide, we can undo dependence if we will it.
Powerful words in my opinion, and as a whole, the piece is well worth the time.
But there is one thing missing from the excerpt above. Though completely forgivable considering the breadth of topics also covered in the article, it would be wrong of me to plug the thing without noting the omission of natural gas as an abundant American resource. Besides, this allows me to go off on my own for a moment.
As most everyone reading here is likely aware, in just the last three years, U.S. natural gas producers have made revolutionary gains in the exploration and extraction of shale gas. And with America’s known resources of natural gas now able to provide nearly 100 years of supply at current U.S. consumption levels, we are still finding more every day. As we have often said over here, this has been a “game-changer” when it comes to the nation’s ablity to address future energy needs and should be acknowledged as such. Fair enough that it wasn’t included in the Krauthammer article (he did touch on it early last summer), but as we look to correct the current trajectory of energy policies and embrace all home grown resources, we must continue to drive home the message.
Our natural gas supply is real. It’s not a hypothetical. And what’s more, as an established fuel source, there is no need for debate on its worth. We all use it, nearly every day. And as a component of our lives, it’s capabilities are sure only to grow. There is no projection for future energy supply that is not improved by, if not already dependent upon our access to natural gas. That is, for any energy policy to be successful, it will have to recognize these truths… without contradicting itself through tax and regulation.
So wouldn’t it be nice to assume that at some point soon natural gas will be universally embraced in Washington and all will be made right? Most of the major legislative players have already publically said they support the idea of natural gas. Case closed right?
Actually, no. Even on the day they awarded a Noble Peace Prize for the accomplishment of wishful thinking, it seems we still have to make the case for American oil and natural gas production no matter how obvious it may seem. And of course the “alternative” - waiting for something desired to magically fall from the sky or rise from the ground - isn’t exactly what has made IPAA and its members successful in their work for 80 years. Anyway, back to work.