NCPA - National Center for Policy Analysis


May 22, 2008

We have an abysmal national energy policy and as our population grows and our economy expands, energy needs will increase, says Pete du Pont, chairman of the National Center for Policy Analysis.

From 1980 to 2006 America's annual energy usage increased from 78 to 100 quadrillion British thermal units, and the figure is estimated to grow to 118 quadrillion BTUs by 2030.  If our regressive energy production policies continue when the next administration takes office, our economy and the personal lives of Americans will be severely affected, says du Pont.

We have failed to increase our country's crude oil production:

  • Domestic oil production has declined, to 1.9 billion in 2007 from 3.1 billion barrels in 1980.
  • Meanwhile imports increased to 3.7 billion barrels from 1.9 billion.
  • We are now importing about 60 percent of the oil we use.

One reason for the imports is that our public policy has forbidden offshore oil drilling, explains du Pont:

  • There is an estimated 85 billion barrels of recoverable oil and 420 trillion cubic feet of natural gas (an 18-year supply) contained within the Outer Continental Shelf and another 10 billion barrels of oil in Alaska.
  • Together they could replace America's imported oil for about 25 years, but the first President Bush issued a directive forbidding access to a significant portion of the Outer Continental Shelf.
  • President Clinton extended the restriction through 2012 and vetoed legislation that would have allowed drilling in Alaska.

So America has large amounts of oil and gas, but our efforts to extract it have been significantly reduced by the federal moratorium on drilling, says du Pont.   America remains the only nation in the world that has curtailed access to its own energy supplies.  Meanwhile, China will soon begin drilling for oil off Cuba and in Venezuela.

Source: Pete du Pont, "Energy and the Executive," Wall Street Journal, May 19, 2008.

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