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‘Politics of Scarcity’ Permeates Obama Energy Policy, Pushes America Away from Self-Sustainability

Data and technology show a much different picture and different energy future is possible.

America’s current energy policies are weakening the country, making us poorer, and raising costs for consumers and industry. Data and technology show a much different picture and different energy future is possible.

One thing President Obama never leaves out of a speech on energy and gasoline prices is “the U.S. only has 2 percent of the world’s oil supplies.”

 This is a fabrication used by the president, anti-energy groups, and other politicians seeking to increase Washington’s power overall of our lives and our economy, embodies the statists’ most effective tool: “the politics of scarcity.” 

The truth about U.S. and North American energy supplies is they are sufficient to meet all of our needs for generations, and the president and others know it because the government’s own reports admit it. If Americans who value liberty and economic freedom are to win the battle against the government-knows-best crowd, it’s important that we all learn the truth about America’s enormous energy wealth. 

The president’s insistence that “we can’t drill our way out of high gasoline prices” is nonsensical unless we have no supplies of oil right here at home. Americans are now enjoying some of the lowest natural gas prices in the world precisely because we did “drill our way out of it” and are finding and producing record amounts of natural gas. His campaign to tell us what kind of vehicles we can drive, what kind of energy supplies we can use, and how and where we live our lives is based upon the mythology that the United States suffers from an energy shortage and that only the government has the wisdom to ration and design our economy in a way that will save us from this pending shortage. It’s all very convenient for those people who love to do the governing over the rest of us and that sad group of Americans who so freely yield their liberty in pursuit of their desire to be governed.

What is the president saying when he says that we only have 2 percent of the world’s oil supplies? He is referring to the 20-odd billion barrels of oil already discovered in the United States that would be the only supplies we have if we never look on the 96 percent of the government’s lands and waters that are not leased for energy production. Or if we never drill any more wells exploring for new sources of oil, as in ANWR, or North Dakota or any of the other shale oil deposits being discovered. Or if we never tap the 1 trillion barrels of recoverable oil shale that the Department of Energy says exist out West. (For reference, the U.S. uses about 7 billion barrels of oil per year.) That’s right—the president’s 2 percent number is what we have if we stop looking for more oil. The 20 billion barrel number representing that 2 percent of world oil supplies is the amount of proven reserves the US had in 1944. Since then, the US has produced more than 75 billion barrels of oil, and we still have 20 billion barrels left. 

So how much oil and energy do we have in the U.S. and North America? The Library of Congress’s Congressional Research Service says that we have more oil, gas and coal resources than anyone else on the planet. And their study did not include our 1 trillion barrels of recoverable oil shale, about the same amount of oil as the world has used since the first oil well was drilled in Pennsylvania in 1859. 

The Institute for Energy Research reviewed the government’s reports and came up with an even larger number. According to our report, North America’s technically recoverable:

lCoal could provide electricity at current levels for 500 years, 

l Oil supplies are almost twice as much large as the combined proved reserves of OPEC, and more than six times Saudi Arabia’s proven reserves; and 

l Natural gas supplies are larger than those of Russia, China, Australia, Indian and the Ukraine combined. 

There is clearly no shortage of energy, but there is a huge shortage of good policies. 

This is the kind of information a nation of free citizens gets from their government. Instead, President Obama, Members of Congress, and many opinion leaders throughout the United States insist upon the myth of scarcity. 

After all, how c an shoveling billions of dollars of cash to campaign supporters be justified if the public finds out the only thing standing between them and lower energy prices is their own government? How else can an entire cabinet department formed by President Carter to solve our energy problems be justified? And how can all the masterminds in Washington come up with the next government program to solve the “energy crisis” if there is no crisis?

We are being lied to, America. Our own energy is being withheld deliberately by our government in order to “make electricity prices skyrocket,” make “gasoline prices more like those in Europe,” and justify huge subsidies and punitive mandates to use “green energy” made by their friends in order to make such energy sources “the profitable kind of energy.” It is weakening our country and making us poorer. If Americans discover the truth about our enormous energy resources, the game is over, and the politicians and the Left know it. That is why they repeat their myths—to keep Americans from finding out that government’s policies are not about energy; they’re about power.

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Written By

Mr. Kish is senior vice president for policy at the Institute for Energy Research (IER). With more than 25 years of experience on Congressional committees, Kish‚??s primary focus is access to conventional and unconventional energy resources on federal government lands and in the waters of the Outer Continental Shelf.

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