COMMENTARY | While President Barack Obama’s “green jobs” initiative continues to be wracked with controversy and scandal in the wake of the collapse of Solyndra, a revolution is taking place in the oil and gas industry that could make North American energy independent.
Naturally the Obama administration is fighting against this development with all the regulatory and political muscle is can bring to bear.
A recent article in the Wall Street Journal discusses the Bakken Oil Fields in North Dakota and Montana that promises to make that region the Saudi Arabia of North America, with perhaps 24 billion barrels of available crude. Coupled with untapped reserves in places like Alaska and oil and gas that has become accessible in places like South Texas and Pennsylvania thanks to fracking technology, the prospect for domestic production of proven energy resources has never been brighter.
However, while pouring money into solar and other “green energy” enterprises that, thus far, have proven to be boondoggles, the Obama administration is doing what it can to thwart domestic oil and gas production. Besides using its regulatory might to delay permits and impose draconian environmental regulations, the administration also proposes to jack up the taxation of oil and gas as part of a deficit reduction program. The administration is even cracking down on the oil and gas industry for killing a handful of migratory birds, despite the fact that wind turbines kills hundreds of thousands of birds every year.
Unleashing the oil and gas industry, speeding up permitting and rationalizing regulation, could raise enormous amounts of tax and royalty revenue for the government while creating domestic jobs and spurring economic growth. Harold Hamm, the owner of Continental Resources that has been involved in the development of the North Dakota oil fields, suggests the federal government could raise as much as $18 trillion in royalties over time if it were to speed up drilling permits on and offshore in the United States. That is slightly more than the national debt.
What seems to be holding the Obama administration back is a kind of religious fervor concerning green energy vs. traditional carbon based energy such as oil and gas. Ironically, unleashing the oil and gas industry would also give the kind of green energy technology the administration favors time to mature so that it can enter the market when it is ready.