Jewish World Review Dec. 8, 2011 12 Kislev, 5772
By Victor Davis Hanson
There is a revolution going on America. But it is not part of the
Instead, massive new reserves of gas, oil and coal are being discovered almost everywhere in
There were always known to be additional untapped reserves of oil and gas in the petroleum-rich
The strategic and economic repercussions of these new finds are staggering, and remind us how a once energy-independent and thereby confident American economy soared to world dominance in the early 20th century.
America will soon again be able to supply all of its own domestic natural gas needs -- and perhaps for the next 90 years at present rates of consumption. We have recently become a net exporter of refined gas and diesel fuel, and already have cut imported oil from
With expanded exploration and conservation,
That windfall would cut out about a third of our present annual trade deficit -- well apart from additional income earned by new natural gas exportation. "Investments," "shovel-ready jobs" and "stimulus" would finally become more than empty sloganeering.
But America's new oil discoveries are not occurring in a vacuum. The entire Western Hemisphere is enjoying a fossil fuel boom, from northern
Current crises in American foreign policy --
Federal subsidies for inefficient corn-based ethanol production in the Midwest also could cease. That would save the Treasury billions of dollars and allow millions of American acres to return to food production to supply an increasingly hungry world.
The Obama administration's efforts to subsidize "green" energy so far have proved both uneconomical and occasionally corrupt -- as we have seen in the Solyndra affair. Yet more gas and oil can offer America critical breathing space until better technology makes wind, solar and electric power more price-competitive -- without massive federal subsidies and a marked reduction in our standard of living.
Of course, there are sizable interests opposed to the new American gas and oil finds -- not all of them foreign governments, but instead reflected in the current Obama administration policy of halting new pipelines, placing moratoriums on offshore drilling, and putting lucrative federal lands off-limits. Yet if
For the American poor and unemployed, how liberal is it, really, to keep energy prices high while stalling millions of high-paying private-sector jobs that would both lower government costs in entitlements and empower the working classes?
In the current presidential campaign, three issues dominate: national security, fiscal solvency and high unemployment. Development of America's vast new gas and oil finds addresses all three at once.
The idea of vastly expanding American gas and oil production in the 21st century is almost as unbelievable as the present administration's apparent reluctance to capitalize on its windfall.
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Victor Davis Hanson, a classicist and military historian, is a senior fellow at the Hoover Institution and a recipient of the 2007 National Humanities Medal. Comment by clicking here.
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