The United States has the Earth’s largest energy resources. America leads the world in recoverable fossil fuel resources. According to a new report from the Congressional Research Service (CSR) our resources eclipse Saudi Arabia (3rd) China (4th) and Canada (6th) combined. That is without including America’s shale oil deposits. (click to enlarge)
But why hasn’t this been on every front page of every newspaper? Remember the old rule: if it bleeds it leads. Attention has been focused on Japan’s earthquake and tsunami, and now on Libya and America’s odd participation in Libya’s civil war. And the policy of the Obama Administration is anti-drilling and anti fossil fuels, and apparently also anti-doing anything about the economic Red Menace that is our national debt.
Although our economy runs on fossil fuels, we have no comprehensive energy policy. The policy of the Obama administration is incoherent at best, and seems to be focused entirely on expensive, so-called “renewable” sources. Wind, which represents .5% of all energy consumed, is subsidized at $23.37 per megawatt. Solar energy which provides less than 1/10 of 1% of energy in the U.S. is subsidized at $24.34 per megawatt. On the other hand, the subsidy for petroleum and natural gas is 25¢ per megawatt. The coal subsidy is 44¢. The subsidy for hydro is 67¢ per megawatt and nuclear energy is $1.59. It doesn’t take an advanced mathematics degree to grasp the folly.
The Shallow Water Energy Security Coalition has produced a study demonstrating the nationwide economic ramifications. Vendors are concentrated in 7 states outside the Gulf area, and represent $905.6 million in losses for states from Illinois to California. The cost in jobs is even more startling. An analysis from Louisiana State University professor Joseph Mason estimates national job losses at 19,000 from the drilling moratorium, with wage losses at $1.1 billion. About a third of those losses are outside the Gulf region. Some rigs have left the Gulf for Africa or South America, and Seahawk Drilling filed for bankruptcy. Gas prices nationwide are closing on $4, which wreaks havoc on everything that is transported.
The Obama administration has clearly made a conscious policy decision to raise energy prices by restricting access to domestic energy supplies. Senator James Inhofe, a Ranking Member of the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee says: “We could help bring affordable energy to consumers, create new jobs, and grow the economy if the Obama administration would simply get out of the way so America can realize its true energy potential.”
Coal reserves are enough for a couple of centuries of coal use. Natural gas is estimated at around 2,047 trillion cubic feet. enough for a century. And the story of methane hydrates has not been told. The CRS refers to an “immense…possibly exceeding the combined energy content of all other known fossil fuels. If just 3 percent of this resource can be commercialized…at current rates of consumption, that level of supply would provide America’s natural gas for more than 400 years.
In the meantime Obama administration energy policy continues to pursue the myth that renewables are a viable energy source. Things didn’t have to be like this. Unemployment doesn’t have to be at this level. Gas prices don’t need to be so high, and inflation doesn’t need to be so threatening.