FOX News | Michael James Barton | January 27, 2019
U.S. District Judge Richard Gergel recently barred the Interior Department from moving forward with its offshore drilling plans until the federal government reopens. According to his injunction, the department is prohibited “from taking action to promulgate permits ... or take any other official action regarding the pending permit applications for oil and gas surveys in the Atlantic.”
Hopefully, the ban will be lifted quickly now that the partial government shutdown has ended. Right now, nearly 94 percent of offshore territories are off-limits to energy explorers.
Unlocking offshore resources would help not just energy companies, manufacturing workers, and drivers, but every American that values national security.
Energy is a powerful geopolitical tool. Any move toward energy independence is also a move toward keeping our nation safe.
The last 15 years have ushered in an American energy renaissance. New technologies such as fracking and horizontal drilling have enabled developers to tap huge underground energy reserves, driving domestic production to unprecedented heights that strategic analyzers have been pining to achieve for decades. We're now the world's top producer of both natural gas and oil.
That means the United States is now well on its way to achieving the once unthinkable: complete energy independence. Our net energy imports have fallen a remarkable 95 percent since 2008. Today, imports constitute just 19 percent of our total petroleum consumption – a 50-year low.
This progress has had huge, largely underappreciated national security implications.
For starters, it's made us less vulnerable to market manipulations by rogue regimes.
Infamously, back in the 1970s, the powerful cartel of Middle East oil producers known as OPEC artificially constricted its exports to damage the American economy. The gambit worked precisely as intended. America was heavily reliant on OPEC and the sudden shortage was economically catastrophic, stranding Americans all over the country in long waiting lines to fill up their tanks.
A modern incarnation of this embargo would fizzle. We don't need OPEC's oil anymore. Indeed, energy imports from Saudi Arabia have dropped by half since 2007. And crude oil and petroleum imports from Venezuela, a global adversary, have fallen nearly 60 percent. Today, our biggest source of crude oil is Canada, one of our closest allies. We're no longer at the mercy of rogue regimes.
Read the full op-ed here.