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Guest Commentary: America’s Energy Future Depends on Oil and Natural Gas

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To overcome many economic woes, simply allow American oil and gas businesses to flourish

For decades, biofuels like ethanol and renewable energy technologies like wind and solar have received significant investment capital, most of which has been billions of dollars in direct government subsidies. Even with the flooding of vast amounts of taxpayer cash into research and development, we continue to find that these technologies provide poor energy production and hold little weight in the open market. The high cost of wind and solar development and the labor-intensive production ofbiofuels are economically unviable. The biofuel and renewable energy craze is just that, crazy.

As much as some people may not like to admit it, our way of life is dependent on fossil fuels and it’s a simple fact that our reliance on them will continue into the distant future. The edifice that we have built on fossil fuels reaches deep into our daily lives and will never be matched.

While you read this article, take a look around you. If the electricity is running, that’s because natural gas is burning at the power plant down the road. Your television, the plastic ware in your kitchen, the paint on your walls, and the cosmetics in your bathroom are all developed through the utilization of chemical compounds found in oil and natural gas. How about our smart phones that we find essential to our modern way of living? The rare earth metals that are key to smart phone technology were mined with high-powered machines that run on diesel. Don’t forget that all the plastics in your phone are made from natural gas as well.

When we realize the impact that fossil fuels have on these consumer products, it’s safe to assume that the price of these goods is adversely affected by energy prices. The most obvious impact is the energy cost it takes to manufacture, produce, distribute, and run them. Americans across the country are experiencing this effect first hand with national gasoline prices averaging close to $4per gallon. Making a vehicle run down the road these days will cost you about $70 every time you fill up your tank.

The moral of the story is that the price of energy and consumer goods will continue to rise as long as we allow it. Our dependency on foreign sources of oil and continued prohibition of domestic exploration and production hold our economic viability and growth hostage. The fact is that we can overcome many of the economic woes we face today simply by allowing American oil and gas businesses to flourish. Lifting the ban on over 90 percent of our nation’s energy will result in the rebound of employment rates in this country and bring down the cost of goods and services.

The energy is there. Vast natural gas plays like the Haynesville Shale and resources in the Gulf of Mexico are essential to our nation’s global competiveness. For instance, this week ExxonMobil announced a natural gas and oil discovery in the deepwater Gulf of Mexico. It has been estimated that this could be one of the largest gulf discoveries in the past decade. This find, along with many other domestic resources are key to our future and economic survival. The only thing we need now is for our government to remove its stranglehold on access to these resources.

Don Briggs is president of the Louisiana Oil and Gas Association.



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