We Should Start Drilling Now

It has become less and less understandable to me why the US is not developing the vast energy wealth that lies off our coasts and under the very ground that is America. There have been a number of opinion pieces expounding why we should or should not make use of our own energy resources. I've even had lunchtime discussions with a co-worker about this topic. He's a firm believer we should drill for our own oil because it will merely delay the time it will take us to move beyond an oil economy. I countered that we can ill afford to leave our supply of needed energy in the hands of foreign powers not friendly to the US.

Let's face it, folks. There are a lot of people in the US doing their darnedest to make sure we remain dependent upon foreign sources of oil even though we have very large domestic sources rivaling those of all of the oil exporting nations combined. So what's keeping us from actually developing our petroleum resources?

Our Congress and some of our former presidents.

At this point in time, is there another country on the face of the earth that would possess the oil and gas reserves held by the United States and refuse to exploit them? Only technical incompetence, as in Mexico, would hold anyone back.

But not us. We won't drill.

California won't drill for the estimated 1.3 billion barrels of recoverable oil off its coast because of bad memories of the Santa Barbara oil spill – in 1969.

We won't drill for the estimated 5.6 billion to 16 billion barrels of oil in the moonscape known as the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge (ANWR) because of – the caribou.

In 1990, George H.W. Bush, calling himself "the environmental president," signed an order putting virtually all the U.S. outer continental shelf's oil and gas reserves in the deep freeze. Bill Clinton extended that lockup until 2013. A Clinton veto also threw away the key to ANWR's oil 13 years ago.

Our waters may hold 60 trillion untapped cubic feet of natural gas.

And that's barely scratching the surface of what we have sitting under our own soil. But we can't touch it. Not a single drop, not a therm, not a cubic foot, not one bit of it will be used because Congress has decided it would be bad for us and our economy if we were to achieve the ability to tell the Middle Eastern oil klepto-theocracies and Venezuelan dictator-in-waiting Hugo Chavez to eat their oil. The logic of this escapes me. No has been able to explain to me how putting our economic safety into the hands of countries that have no love for us in any shape or form is the right thing to do. Oh, I've heard the platitudes and the uneducated economic theories why this self-imposed economic threat is supposed to be good for us, but not one of them rings true and almost all of them I've heard have been disproven time and time again. Yet here we are. It's madness.

Even if we were to start drilling and exploring today, the first barrels of oil from our own wells wouldn't be available for at least 5 years, and more likely 10 years. This time lag makes it crucial for us to get started now, while foreign oil supplies are still available. Waiting until they are cut off, either from changes in hostile governments policies, or worse, due to war, is foolish. No, not foolish, but stupid.

Maybe it's time to tell Congress to stop being so obstructionist and allow us to develop our own petroleum resources, relinquishing the hold foreign sources of much needed oil presently have on us.

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