The avoidable energy crisis

The United States was built on abundant, reliable, affordable energy – first carbon, then hydrocarbon. We still get 85% of our energy from oil, natural gas and coal. These resources power America, sustain millions of jobs, and generate billions in revenue.

We still have at least a 250-year supply of coal and many decades worth of oil and gas. However, too many politicians, bureaucrats and environmentalists are determined not to let us have this energy.

America sent $337 billion overseas in 2010 to import 61% of its oil. We will spend much more this year, as growing demand worldwide, political chaos in Libya and drilling bans in the US have sent crude prices soaring to $100 a barrel and gasoline prices to $4 per gallon.

The United States blew $814-billion on a “stimulus” spending orgy. It hemorrhaged $223 billion in red ink during February alone – compared to an annual budget deficit of $162 billion in 2007! Our 2011 deficit will be $1.5 trillion, the Congressional Budget Office predicts, on a $3.8 trillion budget; 13.7 million Americans remain unemployed; and black unemployment stands at 15.3 percent.

Coal generates half of all US electricity, and 60% to 90% in much of our manufacturing heartland – versus 1% from wind and solar. Oil powers our transportation system, while in February Nissan and Chevy together sold a combined 348 electric cars.

Unlocking our hydrocarbon resources and unleashing our innovative, hard-driving free enterprise system would put millions back to work; generate hundreds of billions of dollars in leasing, royalty and tax revenues; help stanch the flow of red ink; and keep tens of billions of crude oil spending right here for investment in America. We must drill safely, use fuel more efficiently in vehicles and power plants, and get more from every underground reservoir. And we could do so.

But the White House, Environmental Protection Agency, Interior Department and too many in Congress are determined to end our use of hydrocarbons. They want to select business winners and losers, force America to convert to expensive, unreliable, land-intensive wind, solar and ethanol power – and take control of our economy, industries and personal lives. They want to tell you how much energy you can have, from what sources, and when you can have it.

They want oil and gas prices to skyrocket, to make “green” energy look more attractive. Most of all, they want a self-sustaining political-environmentalist-industrial complex based on government subsidies to favored industries and companies, in exchange for campaign contributions that will keep them in power.

Interior Secretary Salazar has virtually shut down leasing and drilling in the Gulf of Mexico, putting tens of thousands out of work and ignoring court orders to end his moratorium and “permitorium.” His department is working overtime to make millions of additional onshore and offshore acres off limits to drilling. He opposes exploration in ANWR because its oil riches won’t make us energy independent (as though even massive wind, solar, ethanol and electric car programs would do so).

President Obama thinks electricity prices should “necessarily skyrocket,” and Energy Secretary Chu wants to “figure out how to boost the price of gasoline to levels in Europe” – over $8 per gallon!

Because Congress rejected cap-tax-and-trade, EPA Administrator Jackson is imposing regulations that will restrict carbon dioxide emissions from power plants, refineries and other facilities – further increasing energy costs, causing more layoffs, and forcing more companies to close their doors. Meanwhile China and India are building new coal-fired power plants every week, and EPA is delaying production of vast deposits of shale gas that American ingenuity and technology could tap.

The list goes on and on. The political-environmentalist-industrial complex is sending America off an economic cliff. No other nation on Earth locks up its hydrocarbon energy. It’s time for all sane, caring Americans to tell Congress and President Obama, “We need all our energy. And we need it now.”

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About the Author: Paul Driessen

Paul Driessen

Paul Driessen is senior policy advisor for CFACT and author of Cracking Big Green and Eco-Imperialism: Green Power - Black Death.