Oil, Ukraine, and a Sweet Deal for Putin
by JBS President John F. McManus
The Bakken energy field amounts to the largest domestic oil discovery since the one at Alaska’s Prudhoe Bay. Stretching over North Dakota, South Dakota and Montana (also into Canada’s Saskatchewan province), the amount of recoverable oil in this region could do away with any need to import the precious commodity. Small cities in western North Dakota have been overrun with eager job seekers who are benefitting greatly from the need for more and more workers. But there’s a need for a pipeline to transport this oil to refineries in states to the south.
Not only is the Bakken capable of releasing OPEC’s hold on our nation, additional discoveries now known to exist under the Rocky Mountain states hold an estimated three to four times what is being tapped in North Dakota and its neighbors. Shortly after beginning his second term in 2005, President George W. Bush gave the order for extracting this treasure. But nothing has been done.
The Keystone pipeline project proposes to ship crude oil from the Bakken and from Canadian oil sands projects to refineries in our nation’s southern states. But hurdles are still blocking its construction. If the Keystone pipeline were constructed, there would be no need for imports from unfriendly Venezuela and unpredictable Russia.. Yes, our nation does import oil from these two countries while also continuing to receive imports from the Middle East.
Environmental groups continue to block development of known resources and needed pipelines. Is it possible that nations who benefit financially and diplomatically from impediments placed in the way of energy independence are financing some of these environmental organizations? Also, why does our own government continue to be a hindrance rather than helping America to become independent?
On the other side of the globe, we see that energy starved Ukraine is highly dependent on Russia for natural gas. But Ukraine is also in dire financial straits, owing many billions for energy already received from its eastern neighbor. American foreign aid, supplied to Ukraine in response to Russia’s annexation of the Crimean peninsula, ends up in the coffers of Russia’s Vladimir Putin for natural gas payments. Is this why he ordered the occupation of Crimea? Should the American people fill Putin’s pockets?
The need for oil and natural gas is obvious. But, if our nation acts in proper self-interest, America can gain release from dependence on foreign energy suppliers. Will the Obama administration continue to drag its feet on energy matters? Will the environmentalists be told to get out of the way of progress toward energy independence? Time will tell. Energy independence can be had if U.S. leaders do what good sense calls upon them to do.
Environmentalism: A Hurdle to Energy Independence
by JBS President John F. McManus
When generating electricity from nuclear power became available half a century ago, environmentalists were among its greatest champions. It didn’t send any soot into the atmosphere. It didn’t pollute nearby rivers, streams, and other waterways. As for safety, all of those concerns had been properly addressed. In short, the new invention was safer, cleaner, and even less costly.
But no sooner had the potential of freeing our nation from importing oil to generate power and heat homes and businesses become achievable than scary environmental concerns about producing electricity from the atom arose a new cause. Almost overnight, obtaining a license to build a new nuclear plant became impossible. Government agencies, predominantly filled with scare-producing leftists, succumbed and the United States stopped its march toward energy independence.
No amount of evidence showing the worth of what are termed “nukes” satisfied environmental crusaders. From being champions of the new technology, they had overnight become its greatest enemies. They sued, they led demonstrations, and they succeeded in halting further use of a marvelous new invention. Meanwhile, countries like France turned to nuclear power and, while the U.S. nuclear power industry still supplies approximately 20 percent of needed electric power, more than 75 percent of France’s electricity is produced by its newly built nuclear power stations.
Here in America, recent headlines reported that after a decades-long shut-down, a single permit to build a new nuclear power generating facility has been granted. It still faces opposition, not only from wrongly propagandized and mostly young anti-nuke partisans, but from their behind-the-scenes sponsors whose goal can only be stifling America’s productive might. Also, plentiful supplies of coal that can be burned to produce more electricity face new threats to their suppliers because of environmental extremists who claim the process results in questionable global warming or climate change.
Fast forward now to a more recent development in the field of capturing energy sources. Phenomenally large deposits of oil and natural gas have been discovered in Canada’s tar sands and the Bakken reservation centered in North Dakota. These relatively new resources present our nation with the opportunity to become free of dependence on questionable foreign providers.
But a different hurdle toward energy independence has emerged – the blocking of a proposed pipeline to carry oil from Canada and the Bakken to refineries within our borders. Forces similar to those that became opponents of nuclear power have been energized to block construction of the Keystone pipeline. At the same time, opposition to extracting natural gas from newly found deposits in several eastern states has developed.
The opportunity to replace long years of dependency on energy from the volatile Middle East, unfriendly Venezuela, and other unreliable suppliers now exists. The hurdle isn’t a scarcity of precious oil and gas; it’s environmentalism.
A recent report from The New American shows that the U.S. will surpass Saudi Arabia in oil production. Will the environmental lobby allow that to happen?