They took away our culture, they redefined marriage and life itself, and they’ve erased our borders. Will the courts steal the lifeblood of our economy and smother the growing oil miracle in America’s economy?
Yesterday, President Trump was in Houston, touting his new plan to expedite oil pipeline construction and permitting for oil and gas extraction, two vital infrastructure projects that have been hampered by liberal states and held up by activist judges.
While the media has barely covered it and many Americans take our prosperity and energy production for granted, it’s worth reviewing and quantifying the magnitude of what the shale oil boom has done for this country over the past few years.
God truly has continued to bless America whether we deserve it or not. A funny thing happens when we responsibly utilize the gifts God bestows. We get more of them. For years, liberals warned about scarcity of resources and the approaching era of “peak oil,” yet the more oil we use, the more we discover, along with innovative technologies to more efficiently extract it. The U.S. has an estimated 310 billion barrels of technically recoverable oil, more than Saudi Arabia, and the numbers keep growing every year. Those estimates have jumped over 30 percent in just a decade, even though we have already extracted over 30 billion barrels during that period.
It is the Hanukkah oil miracle of America. God has blessed this country with such an abundance of natural resources that we are doing pretty well, despite the debt, dependency, and soft socialism throughout our mismanaged government. Whether we deserve it or not, God renews his creation every day.
And it’s not just important for economic prosperity, but for global security and diplomatic prowess against Russia and Iran. The oil and natural gas boom is allowing us to break Russia’s monopoly and stranglehold over Europe’s precarious dependency on energy imports. With revenue from oil and gas constituting roughly 40 percent of Russia’s budget, neutralizing that monopoly will mitigate any emerging threat Russia poses in economic dominance. We will also break the monopoly of OPEC and take a serious bite out of petro-terrorism.
So, what could stop this great American energy miracle? Not Russia or Iran. As always, we are our own worst enemy. Environmentalist judges are shutting down oil permits that are lawfully issued by the Department of the Interior and the EPA. Over the past few weeks, two federal judges have said Trump must continue Obama’s policies of blocking off drilling in hundreds of thousands of acres in Wyoming and the Alaska Arctic Outer Continental Shelf.
Then, states are blocking construction of more pipelines. While we have record production and refining of crude oil, there is still a need to transport that oil, which requires more pipelines. There is an infrastructure bottleneck being created by states like New York blocking more oil streams into New England.
Judges are also blocking pipeline construction. A single judge in Montana indefinitely delayed the beginning of the Keystone XL Pipeline construction to connect the lines from Alberta to Nebraska.
Our Founders created the Constitution to prevent states from impeding this very sort of interstate and international commerce, yet now single district judges are able to do so. Trump issued two executive orders to deal with state recalcitrance on pipelines. The first one would direct the EPA to give states clear guidance of compliance with Section 401 of the Clean Water Act, limiting their ability to make up new excuses for blocking permitting. It also directs the Transportation Department to begin allowing liquefied natural gas to be shipped in approved rail tank cars. The second order will transfer authority for permitting and approving pipeline construction that crosses international borders from the secretary of state to the president himself.
While announcing the executive actions yesterday, President Trump declared at an energy facility outside Houston, “We’ve ended the war on American energy.” That may be so, as long as we don’t allow the courts to control our energy production as they control our border.
Daniel Horowitz is a senior editor of Conservative Review. Follow him on Twitter @RMConservative.