The Corner

Energy & Environment

Hey, We Actually Solved a Problem, America!

Pumpjacks taken out of production temporarily stand idle at a Hess site while new wells are fracked near Williston, North Dakota, February 12, 2014. (Andrew Cullen/Reuters)

Earlier this week, 18 miles off the coast in the Gulf of Mexico, the Louisiana Offshore Oil Port loaded its first large oil supertanker with U.S. crude for export to the Chinese port of Rizhao.

Back in 2006, President George W. Bush declared “America is addicted to oil” in his State of the Union Address and called for more development of alternative fuels. He called for replacing 75 percent of America’s Mideast oil imports by 2025 – a more modest goal than it may seem, because at the time most U.S. oil imports came from Mexico, Canada, and Venezuela. At the time, the United States was importing 12 million barrels of oil out of the 20.6 million barrels it consumes a day.

At the time, there was a lot of discussions about “peak oil” and considerable concern that the United States would find itself as an energy hostage, living at the mercy of hostile states with deep oil reserves.

That grim future did not come to pass. Thanks to fracking and other technological innovations, the United States now produces more than 10 million barrels of oil per day, a level not seen since 1970. We are now the third-biggest producer of oil on the planet, behind Russia and Saudi Arabia, and we could add another 2 million barrels by the end of 2019. The U.S. lifted a ban on oil exports in December 2015, and by October, America was exporting a record 1.7 million barrels of oil per day.

We could be a net exporter of oil by 2020; we became a net exporter of natural gas last year.

We actually solved a problem, America. And we did most of this under a president who was not a fan of fossil fuels! Yes, the Left’s preferred solutions did help a bit, too — solar power, wind power, more fuel-efficient and hybrid cars, biofuels. But our current prosperity and strength would be unthinkable without fracking. Today we are an energy superpower and all of those hostile states who thought their fossil fuel reserves gave them leverage over us are facing a very different future.

We hear a lot of complaints about the current state of America and a lot of despair, declarations that our best days are behind us, that we’re in decline and that we’ve become a country of whiners and snowflakes, incapable of dealing with real problems. That’s nonsense, and worth remembering next time some candidate is touting himself as only way to build a better future.

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