Greens oppose drilling, fracking, Keystone … and exports

By |2013-04-30T11:13:36+00:00April 29th, 2013|CFACT Insights|9 Comments

The interminable war on drilling, fracking and the Keystone XL pipeline has taken some bizarre turns. Now it’s getting worse, as opponents grow more desperate, and the moon again grows full.

Deepwater drilling, 3-dimension and 4-D seismic (the ability to visualize 3-D over many years), deep horizon horizontal drilling and hydraulic fracturing, and other technological marvels have obliterated environmentalist claims that the United States and the world are running out of oil and gas – and therefore we need to switch to subsidized, land-hungry, job-killing wind turbines, solar panels and biofuels.

Thanks to free enterprise innovation on state and public lands – and no thanks to President Obama, who has made nearly the entire federal onshore and offshore estate off limits to leasing and drilling – U.S. oil and natural gas production has set an all-time record. The world is on the verge of doing so, as well.

Long-running geopolitics have been turned upside down, as OPEC, Russia and other oil superpowers wonder what hit them. Plastic and chemical manufacturers, steel makers, bus and fleet vehicle operators, and now long-haul truckers are already cashing in on the natural gas bonanza. So are electric utilities, especially with EPA continuing its war on coal, with more unnecessary heavy-handed air and water rules.

Global warming/climate change hysteria is also foundering on the rocks of reality. Average global temperatures haven’t risen in 16 years, seas aren’t rising any faster than 100 years ago, and storms, floods and droughts are no more frequent or severe than over multi-decade trends during the past century.

Evidence and reality simply are not cooperating with IPCC and Mann-made climate models. “Trust the computer models!” the alarmists plead. “If reality doesn’t comport with our predictions, reality is wrong.”

The U.S. State Department has (yet again) said the Keystone XL pipeline poses few environmental problems and should be approved, to bring Canadian oil sands petroleum to Texas refineries – creating thousands of construction and permanent jobs, and billions in economic growth and government revenue.

Unacceptable! rants the Environmental Protection Agency. “State underestimated KXL’s potential impact on global warming and needs to do its studies all over again,” says EPA. Never mind that oil sands production would add a minuscule 0.06% to US greenhouse gas emissions and an undetectable 0.00001º C per year to computer-modeled global warming, according to the Congressional Research Service. Do it over, until you get the answers we want, demand EPA and environmentalist ideologues.

Some 70% of Americans and 60% of Canadians support Keystone – and energy security (and jobs) outrank greenhouse gas reduction as a national priority by a 2-1 margin among Americans – says Canadian pollster Nik Nanos.

However, haters of hydrocarbons, modern living standards, free enterprise and personal liberty are not ready to surrender. They’ve launched a blitzkrieg flanking attack. This time they are outraged that some Keystone oil could be refined into diesel and other products and exported! to Europe or Asia – while some frack-based natural gas might be converted to LNG and likewise exported! around the globe.

Well, yes. When U..S refiners transform crude oil into gasoline, diesel, jet fuel, heating oil, asphalt, waxes and petrochemicals, they ship some of these products overseas. Since Americans use less diesel than refineries manufacture (some parts of each barrel of crude can be converted only into diesel), refiners also export their excess diesel to Europe, which uses more diesel than gasoline, and Europeans ship their surplus gasoline to the USA, mostly to East Coast consumers. It’s a win-win arrangement that will be buttressed and safeguarded by Keystone pipeline transport of Canadian oil.

And yes, Cheniere Energy and other companies want to ship liquefied natural gas to foreign markets. It’s hardly surprising that anti-fracking activists would seize on this as yet another excuse for opposing this game-changing technology. It is hardly remarkable that Senator Ron Wyden (D-OR), Congressman Ed Markey (D-MA) and other far-Left legislators would sponsor bills to block LNG exports.

What is shocking is that Dow and Huntsman Chemical, Alcoa Aluminum, Nucor Steel and other companies are joining the no-export campaign. They have convinced themselves that such exports will hurt their own selfish economic interests – and for PR reasons have packaged that notion into assertions that exporting any U.S. natural gas is against America’s and the public’s economic interests. Nonsense.

America has barely begun to tap its vast shale gas and conventional natural gas deposits. It has not yet touched its methane hydrates. Together, these deposits will likely last a century or more. In addition, other countries are racing to develop their own conventional, shale and hydrate deposits – while still others will eventually recognize the folly of keeping their own deposits off limits. All this will gradually reduce demand for U.S. natural gas exports, slow and prolong extraction, and keep gas prices low.

This interplay will also help ensure that more factories and power plants in more countries burn natural gas, thereby replacing coal and providing the economic wherewithal to enable China, India and other nations to install modern pollution abatement technologies on their now dirty power plants. That will greatly improve air quality and human health in countless cities, while reducing carbon dioxide emissions and reducing consternation among steadily dwindling numbers of climate alarmists.

American oil and gas development – and exports – will also provide an opportunity for our nation to “give back” to the world community for all the petroleum that our anti-leasing, anti-drilling policies have caused us to take from the world’s petroleum supplies for decades. All this activity will also spur further innovation in technologies to unlock still more energy. It will spur job creation, economic growth and government tax and royalty revenue collection here in the United States … and abroad.

Some 23 million Americans are still unemployed or underemployed; 128 million are dependent on various government programs, including 47 million on food stamps; and the United States is more than $16 trillion in debt. Unemployment in the construction trades is 14.7 percent. Black unemployment was 12.7% when President Bush left office; it soared to 16.7% by September 2011 under President Obama, and remains stuck at 14% today for black adults – and an astronomical 43% for black teenagers!

Drilling, fracking and exports can reverse these horrendous, intolerable, unnecessary statistics.

Misguided industrialists should stop railing against exports. They would do themselves and our nation far more good by putting their lobbyists and public relations staffs to work demanding an end to leasing, drilling and fracking bans that continue to dominate eco-liberal thinking, U.S. energy policy (especially under the current administration).

Of 1.8 billion acres on our nation’s Outer Continental Shelf, only 36 to 43 million acres are under lease. That’s barely 2% of the OCS. Offshore territory equal to 78% of the entire U.S. landmass (Alaska plus the Lower 48) is off limits! Even the 2010 Gulf of Mexico oil spill cannot justify that.

Onshore, it’s just as bad. As of 1994, over 410 million federally controlled acres were effectively off limits to exploration and development. That’s 62% of the nation’s public lands – an area nearly equal to Arizona, Colorado, Montana, New Mexico, Utah and Wyoming combined. The situation has gotten progressively worse, with millions more acres – and vast energy, mineral and economic bounties – locked up in wilderness, park, preserve, wildlife refuge, wilderness study, Antiquities Act and other restrictive land use designations, or simply made unavailable by bureaucratic fiat or foot-dragging.

Drilling opponents claim to be protecting the environment. In reality, they simply detest hydrocarbons, modern living standards, free enterprise and personal liberty. Commonsense policies will rejuvenate our economy, put Americans back to work, and help fund government programs that Messrs. Obama and Reid profess to care so much about – while safeguarding ecological values we all cherish.

About the Author:

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


  1. J.P. Katigbak May 1, 2013 at 1:00 AM

    It is very important to understand that the ideological and philosophical doctrine of environmentalism must be challenged. Why? Because when ideologues are threatening to strangle various societies and economies around the world, it could be deep, deep trouble. So keep going now!

    Do not ever give up as well in challenging those idiotic ideologues. – J.P.K.

  2. Eckenhuijsen Smit May 3, 2013 at 1:10 PM

    As long as Barry Hussein Obama is not impeached for not being a NATURAL BORN AMERICAN, drilling, fracking and exports won`t reverse these horrendous, intolerable, unnecessary statistics.

    • J.P. Katigbak May 10, 2013 at 7:48 PM

      Yes, I am afraid there are horrendous, intolerable, and unnecessary statistics that justify the ideological and philosophical doctrine of environmentalism, but it needs to do more in protecting the environment while improving social well-being, improving the economy, respecting tried-and-tested traditional values and customs (try rejoicing the good ones while recognising the bad), enhancing and respecting traditional institutions (that is, when people like me would include the institution of monarchy), upholding a meaningful rule of law (if you ask me or someone else), respecting sovereignty among various societies and economies around the world, and many more.

      Remember, there can be no distractions erected by ideological activists and their allies, including those from the left. I mean it!

      And I don’t ever give up in challenging the justifications for imposing the rather dubious doctrines of environmentalism and democracy (which, in my view, is not without any meaningful yet strident criticism) because they are not only unnecessary, they are a bane to various societies and economies around the globe.

      As you said seven days ago, drilling, fracking and exports could not reverse such horrendous, intolerable and unnecessary statistics that justify the doctrine of environmentalism.

      Therefore, there needs to have a meaningful yet strident challenge to such a notion of a satanic worldview that baffles and insults various tried-and-tested traditional values and customs (again, try rejoicing the good ones while recognising the bad).

      You need to understand and KNOW how troubling the situation really is. Got it? Thanks very much. – J.P.K.

  3. Roger Blomquist May 9, 2013 at 4:24 PM

    They should consider joining the Voluntary Human Extinction Movement (see

  4. Wardawg02 May 10, 2013 at 4:33 AM

    A ton of ranting and political opinion requiring citations but in general his point is solid.
    But it will not matter in the end. Politicians will choose some winners and losers distorting the market but in the end the green movement suffered a huge setback.
    We shall see how that plays out in the long haul. I for one have confidence in our collective ingenuity to solve whatever problems arise.

    • J.P. Katigbak May 10, 2013 at 9:02 PM

      I hope the activist ideologues would really regret the depressive politics while on the ground anywhere in the world.

      By the way, Mr. Paul Driessen’s point is a rather solid proof about the justifications of environmentalism that, in my view, is really a bane to both humans and the environment. As a result, the green movement suffered a huge setback – I hope those activist ideologues would be held accountable for aggravating depressive politics that especially justify the pervasiveness of environmentalism.

      I know you have confidence in collective ingenuity among people like me to solve whatever problems arise – that is, only you can use it wisely, and try not to use it wrongly under any circumstances. Got that?

      Seriously, I am almost concerned about how the situation is as depressive as one person thinks. OK, democracy has good merits, but what about the unintended consequences of such a system of governance that persists in the present form? I hope republicanism and the democratic doctrine will not have much public support in the future because of political uncertainty, the persisting myth of “equality”, the problem of bad governance, economic problems, and a host of other factors.

      Open you eyes now, and realise how depressing the situation develops. Thank you very much. – J.P.K.

      • Wardawg02 May 11, 2013 at 4:20 AM

        Did you mean to reply to me? Because you just agreed with me but sounded all angry about it. Read carefully.

        Mr Driessen does not offer “proof” though. He has a ton of opinion that he should support with facts. But based on the facts I know he is not wrong just not supporting his opinions.

        • J.P. Katigbak May 12, 2013 at 9:55 PM

          At least I am not going to get mad about the real situation, especially with regards to environmentalism.

          I hope Mr. Paul Driessen’s views will prevail on the subject, but I am not supporting his opinions too much, understand?

          Thanks again, and always be patient. – J.P.K.

  5. J.P. Katigbak May 12, 2013 at 10:16 PM

    It is important that no one is supporting the opinions of Mr. Paul Driessen, especially regarding environmentalism that is still a bane to both humans and the environment.

    I have my own view that is cautious, while at the same time meaningful.

    I hope that there can be no depressive ideological politics which have a negative affect on various societies and economies around the world. Looking more closely at both republicanism and the democratic doctrine would reveal the hidden agenda left behind by activist ideologues.

    I would not remain silent regarding the current situation, but I always patient in understanding it. – J.P.K.

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