Topic: Decline of the West
This story, from the New York Times of all unlikely sources, clearly demonstrates the wrong-headedness of the Obama Administrations fantasy-land “green” energy policies: “U.S. Inches Toward Goal of Energy Independence.”
As the story notes, a combination of declining demand (alas, mostly due to the weak economy) and increased domestic production has dramatically reduced the amount of oil being imported by the United States: from 60% of total consumption in 2005 to 45% today. Moreover, the US has become a net exporter of refined petroleum products.
This turnaround is largely due to policies enacted by the Bush Administration, and President Obama can claim scant credit for it. Where he has the power to do so, the President is done everything possible to stifle domestic oil production. The current boom in production results from oil being pumped on land where the Administration’s writ does not run. Nevertheless, the scale of this increase in production since 2005 shows what would be possible if the United States had a rational energy policy. This country could eventually produce as many as 10 million barrels of oil per day, making America an energy powerhouse to rival Saudi Arabia—and, not incidentally, creating millions of jobs.
The NYT rightly notes that practical energy independence would transform the nation’s national security posture. Though the US could never remain perfectly indifferent to events in the Middle East, energy independence would provide the leverage to make allies like Japan and the European nations, who are much more dependent on oil from that source, to take more responsibility for the stability of the region. It would also give the US much greater influence over oil prices, while rendering the country immune to oil embargos.
This is good news indeed, and it’s a measure of the Obama Administration’s political incompetence that in an election years, it can plausibly be portrayed by critics as a major pothole on the road to American energy independence.