For a long time, the Left has gotten away with underselling America’s energy resources. The old chestnut that the U.S. uses 25% of the world’s oil but only has 2% to 3% of the world’s oil reserves has been repeated endlessly by Barack Obama and many others. This claim fooled millions of people who didn’t understand that in the U.S., “reserves” means petroleum that is 1) legally available for development, and 2) profitably extracted at current prices. So if Democrats would stop preventing drilling, we could vastly increase our “reserves,” as legally defined, overnight.
Happily, the publicity that has recently been given to massive shale oil and natural gas deposits in North Dakota, Pennsylvania and elsewhere has awakened many Americans to the fact that our energy resources are truly vast–greater, in fact, than any other country’s. The point is driven home by a new report that has just been released by the Institute for Energy Research. IER describes the problem (and the opportunity) bluntly:
Access to affordable, abundant energy is, fundamentally, a means of freedom. But for those seeking to create a crisis that provides an opportunity to direct the way we live, work and act, affordable, reliable, abundant, domestic energy is a threat. In a very real sense, the more energy we have, the less power they will have. Energy abundance ends the justification for central energy decision-making.
The report is worth reading in its entirety, but here are a few graphics that sum up the bottom line. First, North American oil; click to enlarge:
This graphic compares North America’s recoverable oil with the world’s total “proved reserves.”
There is much more, but let’s end for now with this beautiful map of America’s shale gas resources:
The IER report pinpoints the obstacle to millions of new jobs and the creation of vast wealth that will be shared by all Americans in the form of lower energy costs:
As it turns out, many of the problems of energy scarcity and rising costs in the United States have been caused by the government itself. In 2004, the U.S. Department of Energy issued a report that outlined many of the policy and regulatory constraints that impact domestic energy production. While the report focused on natural gas specifically, many of the laws and procedures also represent roadblocks to any form of safe and responsible energy production. The list of energy barriers included the following policies, all of which can limit access to U.S. resources, increase delays related to exploration and production, and/or increase costs of development:
The list of statutes and other legal impediments that follows is three pages long. Only liberal politicians stand between the American people and development of our vast energy resources.
STEVE ADDS: John–how could you leave out my star turn in the video our IER pals did to accompany the report?
JOHN responds: Heh. Sorry! I forgot to watch the video.