Abundant Resources

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Free market advocates have long argued that there is no shortage of fossil fuel (oil and natural gas) in the US, for as long as that is going to be the dominant energy source in this country — in other words, for the foreseeable future. We have argued that the US ought to use its own abundant supplies.

We argue this on national security as well as economic grounds. Building regulatory walls against exploiting our abundant fuel reserves deprives the nation of jobs and wealth, so it is economically stupid. This is obvious. But it should also be obvious that those walls channel money to regimes that wish us all manner of ills, even extermination — so the restrictions are strategically stupid. We send ever more troops to ever more dangerous places, so we can keep importing that which we have utterly no need to import.

It is with interest, therefore, that I note the complete lack of interest shown by the mainstream media in the congressional testimony of the federal government’s own Government Accountability Office (GAO) regarding America’s fossil fuel reserves.

The GAO reports that the Green River Formation of shale (which lies under the area where Colorado, Utah, and Wyoming join) contains the world’s largest known oil shale deposit, holding an amount of recoverable oil equal to all the world’s proven oil reserves. In fact, Anu Mittal, director of natural resources for the GAO, testified that the formation contains about three trillion barrels of oil, about half recoverable with known technology. And remember — we can only guess at future technological improvements.

In fact, the GAO now estimates that the US has more by way of fossil fuel reserves than any other country on earth by far, with Russia in second place and Saudi Arabia a distant third. Bottom line: even while Obama is telling the public that we use 20% of the world’s oil and have only 2% of the known reserves, his own GAO reports that America has the largest reserves of fossil fuel on the planet.

But while Russia, Saudi Arabia, and other energy endowed countries are moving ahead to develop what they have, our government would rather block our own development. Go figure.




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Comments

Bruce Hamilton

This little note omits mention of many key issues, most notably that extraction of shale oil requires huge amounts of water and energy. Show us a detailed analysis of net costs, net energy gained, and water and air pollution before you sing the praises of shale oil.

Jon Harrison

Assuming the GAO is correct (what are the GAO figures based on? US Geological Survey data? oil industry data?), this is scandalous. The only possible counter-argument to exploiting these reserves is the global warming one (I'm an agnostic on global warming, by the way). Yet I don't seem to hear global warming alarmists calling for more nuclear plants. A combination of domestic oil and gas and nuclear (just build the latter away from earthquake zones) would seem to be the solution to more than one problem.

Mark V

See http://bravenewclimate.com/ for serious and technical discussions on nuclear as solution for global warming problems.

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