America's Mission: Number One in Oil Production

“If we become energy independent then they can jack the price of oil up or down all they want to.  But we Americans will not be relying on their supply.”  — Sen. John McCain, Town Hall Meeting, New York City, June 10, 2008

Sen. John McCain doesn’t mean that we should be number one in oil production as a means to energy independence.  In fact, when asked about energy independence, he lists everything but oil.  He has a pesky record of voting against drilling in ANWAR but that must change.  He decided based on the success of the tax cuts of 2001 and 2003 that he was wrong about across the board tax rate reductions, so he could say that when he last voted on drilling in ANWAR, the price of gasoline has doubled so we need this now.  But let’s not get ahead of ourselves.  It is my contention that America can and should be the number one oil producing and refining nation in the world and we can be.

In 1995, the new Republican controlled Congress voted to drill in ANWAR and President Clinton vetoed that bill. If that bill had gone into law, by 2001, we would have had millions of barrels a day of additional domestic oil production in our economy every day since the attacks on 9/11.

It is estimated that ANWAR has 10.4 billion barrels of oil which is 200 billion gallons of refined gasoline.  The outer continental shelf is estimated to have 86 billion barrels of oil which would be over a trillion gallons of refined gasoline.  On top of that there is an estimated availability of 2 trillion barrels of shale oil in the Western United States. We are the number 3 oil producing country in the world and if we tapped our own resources, we would beat Russia and Saudi Arabia — numbers one and two.

Before I jump up and down and start blaming the anti-American elected officials and presidential candidates that want to keep us down and ruin our economy, let’s put all these trillions and billions and perspective.  According to the Department of Interior, since we started drilling for oil in Pennsylvania in 1859, the WORLD has used one trillion barrels of oil.  If we look at our untapped reserves — ANWAR, the Outer Continental Shelf and Shale Oil in the West — we don’t need Saudi Arabia.  That doesn’t begin to factor in the development of the use of clean coal technology.

It is ridiculous and embarrassing because of the likes of Rep. Henry Waxman who last year slipped in a ban on any development of domestic shale oil as an amendment to a bill that passed; President Bush went to Saudi Arabia and asked — begged them to increase their oil output.  Sources close to the project say that the Saudis’ private response was, “why doesn’t America increase its own oil production?”  Good question and one that Americans are asking every day.  Newt Gingrich’s movement, “Drill Here, Drill Now, Pay Less,” has nearly a million signatures in three weeks has lit a fire in America.  On the Republican campaign trail and during debates in the heartland, candidates are quoting “Drill Here, Drill Now, Pay Less” and separating themselves from their presidential candidate, John McCain.

I am in favor of all kinds of alternative ways to deliver energy that works.  I’m happy that billionaire, T. Boone Pickens is building a wind farm in Texas.  Until, however, we build and expand nuclear power or have a wind revolution or a solar revolution or find the next cheap and available way to power automobiles, oil is the best and cheapest way to provide energy to the people and its infrastructure is in place although should be expanded.  

In 1961, when President Kennedy said we would land a man on the moon by the end of that decade, we didn’t have a computer even as strong as the laptop on my desk or the cell phone in my hand.  We had failures on the launch pad and the Russians were beating us in space.  But we made it a mission to be number one in space.  We need a new revolution today.  President Bush needs to make a speech to the nation saying that we are going to be the number one oil producing nation in the world in the next 10 years.  Then, we willuse our oil superiority to fund the research it takes to find the alternative solutions in the next 20 years.  We are drilling for ice on Mars today but we can’t drill for oil in our own country to make your drive to work better tomorrow.  It is shameful. 

America is the greatest country in the world and we should not be going with our hats in our hands to any two-bit nation who oppresses half of its population to increase oil production when we have the resources right here.

The Democrats think they have it right; the prices are so high now that poor people are hurting and demanding change.  They don’t want windmills, either — they want cheap gasoline.  There is nothing more American than getting in your car and driving and that is being maligned by people who ride in motorcades or in the back seats of Cadillac’s paid for by you like the Nancy Pelosi’s and the Charlie Rangels of the world.  They don’t like you and they don’t want you to be independent. 

The oil companies are responsible, too. They are not refining at maximum capacity and they are not drilling on all the leased property that they can drill on in the United States today.  The profits aren’t the problem, the problem is they are holding back on the resources they do have because of the resources they can’t get to.

So what can we do?  Support drilling for oil in America by contacting your congressman or joining Newt’s movement to “Drill Here, Drill Now, Pay Less.” Demand that American oil companies refine at 100 percent at high demand times in the US and to drill for oil on leased property or give up the leases.   Encourage the development of alternative energy sources by getting the government out of the game of picking winners.   Finally, commit yourself to convincing our elected officials on every level that we can be number one and should be number one in oil and energy production.

As Tim Russert would have said, “This is big.” And the American Dream is big and is alive and well today tomorrow and forever.