Advancing a Free Society

Dependent No More

Saturday, April 7, 2012

There is a revolution going on in America, but it is not driven by the tea party or the Occupy Wall Street protests.

Instead, massive new reserves of gas, oil, and coal are being discovered almost everywhere in the United States, thanks to revolutionary methods of exploration and exploitation such as hydraulic fracturing (fracking) and horizontal drilling. Recent prices above $100 a barrel make even difficult efforts at recovery enormously profitable.

There were always known to be additional, untapped reserves of oil and gas in the petroleum-rich Gulf of Mexico, off America’s shores, and in the American West and Alaska. But even the top energy experts never imagined just how vast was the energy there—or beneath far more unlikely places such as South Dakota, Pennsylvania, Ohio, and New York. Some studies suggest that the United States has now expanded its known potential gas and oil reserves tenfold.

The strategic and economic repercussions of these new finds are staggering, and remind us how a once energy-independent and thereby confident American economy soared to world dominance in the early twentieth century.

America will soon again be able to supply all of its own domestic natural gas needs—and do so perhaps for the next ninety years, at present rates of consumption. We have recently become a net exporter of refined gas and diesel fuel, and already have cut imported oil from OPEC countries by one million barrels per day.

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