We can’t tax or spend our way into prosperity, but along with some other growth-friendly policies, we can drill our way into prosperity. To a large extent, that is already happening.
Yesterday, Trump’s secretary of the interior, Ryan Zinke, announced a five-year energy strategy to open up all offshore drilling areas — in the Gulf, Atlantic, Pacific, and off Alaska’s coast — to leasing. The plan includes 47 potential lease sales: 19 off the coast of Alaska, 7 in the Pacific region, 12 in the Gulf of Mexico, and 9 in the Atlantic region — the most of any proposed plan. Under current practice, 94 percent of the outer continental shelf is off-limits to drilling, whereas Trump’s plan would open 98 percent of the recoverable reserves to extraction.
Together with the tax cuts, this plan will help grow the economy, create jobs, increase revenue for the feds and for the states, and realign our national security and foreign policy strategy by taking away leverage from Russia and Islamic countries who use oil as a weapon for geo-political bullying.
The Trump administration made the pursuit of “energy dominance” a critical focus of its national security strategy (NSS), and for good reason. The fracking revolution has already sent energy prices tumbling and has also allowed us to surpass Russia in natural gas exports. And thanks to Congress finally lifting the ban on crude oil exports in 2015, we are dominating international markets and setting records. According to the International Energy Agency (IEA), the U.S. is set to account for 80 percent of all growth in global oil production over the next 10 years. The U.S. already exports more natural gas than it imports and is expected to become a net exporter of oil by 2025. We are expected to surpass Qatar as the largest exporter of liquified natural gas by the mid-2020s.
It’s funny what happens when Congress tears down regulations.
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 representing more than a third of Russia’s budget, neutralizing that monopoly will mitigate any emerging threat Russia poses in terms of economic dominance. We will also break the monopoly of OPEC and take a serious bite out of petro-terrorism.
With the job market, GDP growth, the stock market, and manufacturing already accelerating and paychecks getting fatter, more drilling for oil is the best way to keep the economy growing. According to the Institute for Energy Research, the unlocking of the Pacific outer continental shelf alone will increase output of oil production by $24.7 billion within seven years. The IER projects that over the same time period, unlocking all onshore and offshore lands would boost federal revenues by $35.8 billion and state and local revenue by $10 billion and create 552,000 jobs. And given that oil is the lifeblood of an economy, greater supply of it will reduce the cost of almost all vital goods and services.
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. Last year’s IEA World Energy Outlook once again raised its estimate of projected recoverable reserves by 30 percent to 105 billion barrels. 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 through our mismanaged government. Whether we deserve it or not, God renews his creation every day.
For those Republicans and Democrats in Florida and California who are opposing offshore drilling, they must answer the following question: How does it help the poor to lock up our natural resources and keep the cost of living artificially high? They say they fear oil spills, but the effects of a hypothetical oil spill would be less devastating to the economy of their states than keeping the moratorium in place, as Sens. Marco Rubio and Bill Nelson of Florida are demanding.
The release of the draft proposed program (DPP) is just the first step in a long process that will soon include the publishing of an environmental impact statement. Once that is published, congressional leaders would be well advised to step on the gas pedal and facilitate America’s next industrial revolution by statute to limit the torrent of lawsuits that will hamper any administrative action.
Midterm elections always boil down to bread-and-butter issues. There’s no better way to butter America’s bread than by making America the dominant player in energy production.
Daniel Horowitz is a senior editor of Conservative Review. Follow him on Twitter @RMConservative.