Actually, we can drill our way to energy security

In the debate over rising gas prices, Washington is creating a massive distraction: whether Congress should eliminate tax “subsidies” for oil and gas companies. Of course oil and gas companies don’t receive checks, grants, or direct payments from the federal Treasury, so the debate is a red herring. What’s really needed is price relief for consumers at the pump. The best way to do that is to produce more affordable energy here at home.

We certainly have plenty of it: according to the non-partisan Congressional Research Service (CRS), America’s combined supply of oil, coal, and natural gas is the largest on Earth. Put another way, America’s recoverable resources are far larger than those of Saudi Arabia (3rd), China (4th), and Canada (6th) combined. And that’s without including America’s immense oil shale and methane hydrates deposits.

The CRS report was requested by me and my colleague, Sen. Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska). It grew out of frustration with the Democrats’ refrain that America only has 3 percent of global oil reserves, and therefore, under this view, more drilling and production at home is futile. As President Obama put it, “With 3 percent of the world’s oil reserves, the U.S. cannot drill its way to energy security.”

But the CRS shows the full, accurate picture of America’s reserves — and shows that we can produce our way to energy security. CRS shows more than just our proven oil reserves, which are a modest 28 billion barrels. The only way to estimate proven reserves is to drill. But that’s not possible because federal policies, supported by President Obama and many Democrats, put 83 percent of America’s federal lands off limits to drilling. Of course that’s just fine for this administration, as a senior official at the Obama Treasury Department said, “The administration believes that it is no longer sufficient to address our nation’s energy needs by finding more fossil fuels…”

In fact, according to CRS, which relied on estimates from the Department of Energy, the U.S. Geological Survey, and the Interior Department, we have 163 billion barrels of recoverable oil — nearly six times higher than what President Obama and the Democrats like to claim. That amount of oil would replace our current oil imports from the Persian Gulf for more than 50 years.

But this administration is saying no. By restricting supply — through its de facto moratorium on deepwater permitting in the Gulf of Mexico, and its restrictions on production on federal lands — prices have gone up. This is exactly what this administration wants. Energy Secretary Steven Chu, for instance, told the Wall Street Journal that “[s]omehow we have to figure out how to boost the prices of gasoline to the levels in Europe.” Consider just Great Britain: consumers there pay over $7.00 a gallon for gasoline.

Remember that when President Obama took office, the national average price for regular gasoline was $1.84 per gallon. Today, the average price is $3.98 per gallon. Prices are well over $4.00 in many parts of the country.

This mindset — which seeks to make the energy we use more expensive, in hopes of spawning a “green energy” revolution — is encapsulated in the cap-and-trade agenda being implemented by the Obama Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). That agenda is now squarely aimed at gasoline, as EPA is preparing onerous new global warming regulations on petroleum refineries, which will inevitably raise prices at the pump.

  • buddylove

    We Have far more oil than what is mentioned—read this!

    Here’s an astonishing read. Important and verifiable information :
    > About 6 months ago, the writer was watching a news program on oil and one of the Forbes Bros. was the guest. The host said to Forbes, “I am going to ask you a direct question and I would like a direct answer; how much oil does the U.S. have in the ground?” Forbes did not miss a beat, he said, “more than all the Middle East put together.”
    > Please read below.
    > The U. S. Geological Service issued a report in April 2008 that only scientists and oil men knew was coming, but man was it big. It was a revised report (hadn’t been updated since 1995) on how much oil was in this area of the western 2/3 of North Dakota, western South Dakota, and extreme eastern Montana ….. check THIS out:
    > The Bakken is the largest domestic oil discovery since Alaska ‘s Prudhoe Bay , and has the potential to eliminate all American dependence on foreign oil. The Energy Information Administration (EIA) estimates it at 503 billion barrels. Even if just 10% of the oil is recoverable… at $107 a barrel, we’re looking at a resource base worth more than $5…3 trillion.
    > “When I first briefed legislators on this, you could practically see their jaws hit the floor. They had no idea..” says Terry Johnson, the Montana Legislature’s financial analyst.
    > “This sizable find is now the highest-producing onshore oil field found in the past 56 years,” reportsThe Pittsburgh Post Gazette. It’s a formation known as the Williston Basin , but is more commonly referred to as the ‘Bakken.’ It stretches from Northern Montana , through North Dakota and into Canada . For years, U. S. oil exploration has been considered a dead end. Even the ‘Big Oil’ companies gave up searching for major oil wells decades ago. However, a recent technological breakthrough has opened up the Bakken’s massive reserves….. and we now have access of up to 500 billion barrels. And because this is light, sweet oil, those billions of barrels will cost Americans just $16 PER BARREL!
    > That’s enough crude to fully fuel the American economy for 2041 years straight. And if THAT didn’t throw you on the floor, then this next one should – because it’s from 2006!

  • WordOfDog

    Frack, baby, Frack! Clean drinking water and breathable air are totally overrated. And coal! Nothing cleaner! The resulting reservoir of santorum from the jubilation by wingnuts over this report ought to be studied for its energy potential as well…

  • jmk1502

    DRILL HERE! DRILL NOW! Where’s BP at when you need them? Forget the report from Wednesday that the oceanic levels will rise at least 37 inches, and perhaps up to 63 inches by 2100. Since a great deal of large cities worldwide are built close to the water, what would that rise in ocean levels do? Minimum of 3 feet? Since Sen. Inhofe and many posters on this site possess advanced degrees in this area, please enlighten us.

  • Pingback: Abundant fossil fuels mean “renewables will never be viable, so naturally the IPCC thinks these pretend energy sources will be cheap and superabundant | JunkScience Sidebar

  • empiresentry

    The prog left has misguided the environmental efforts away from the real issues that are in our face, scientifically measurable and curable like bad drinking water, hazmat spills, and superfund dump sites (unlike anthropomorphic carbon based global change calamities) With all the tax income the feds could derive from our national mineral development, they could pay for a windmill in everyone’s backyard and stop funding terroristic nations. Instead, the oil companies are forced to develop resources elsewhere, give jobs to other nations, and pay taxes to those countries. This slashes our GDP and employment. Instead, we are paying for drilling in Brazil. Developing our resources here would be too logical and we are becoming a third world country. Even if they did allow development here, the Progs would raise the oil tax to out of sight and then use it to pay for some union’s retirement plan instead of benefiting all Americans and developing so called ‘green’ opportunities. These people are ill with a disease called Hollywood calamititis.

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  • texanbychoice

    Seems like its now a matter of too many chiefs and not enough indians. We have the oil and if they were serious about lowering the price of gas they would tap into it. Going green is a fine idea but just shouting the sloagan doesn’t make it happen. The EPA should be told to sit down and shut up.

  • blewits

    Thank Senator Inhofe! American’s have been hosed for decades on this issue. It’s time to put a stop to it!

    Now, if we could just get the sheeple to understand it. We convinced them once, then they elected Obama. We must do it again.

  • Pingback: Actually, we can drill our way to energy security – Daily Caller | The Petro Reporter

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Jasmine-Clark/1785223171 Jasmine Clark

    well i’m glad you requested that CRS report!!! recently, i wrote a column for my school newspaper all about why we need to drill for oil here and use our reources we already have. and that report was one of the things i cited!! yet, some people who responded to me still didn’t believe we needed to drill… sigh. i tried to convince them but they didn’t listen. well, they need to read this article then.

    • empiresentry

      Its tough, Jasmine, to stand by the facts and the truth when there are plenty of people that are opposed and do not want to hear it. Good for you!! Stand Tall, Stand Strong (but be willing to listen to the opposing points of view because we can learn from them and also understand where they are coming from so that we can try to rephase the facts in a way they might comprehend.)