NCPA - National Center for Policy Analysis


May 23, 2008

While renewables and alternatives are a part of tomorrow's energy mix, they cannot represent the entire answer.  In 2030, more than 60 percent of demand will continue to be fulfilled by oil and natural gas.  We must take that to heart and remove barriers to domestic drilling, says H. Sterling Burnett, senior fellow at the National Center for Policy Analysis.

According to the U.S. Energy Information Administration:

  • The United States alone will need 19 percent more energy in 2030; globally, that number jumps to 55 percent.
  • In China, more than a billion people are beginning to taste unparalleled economic success; each year, increasing numbers of Chinese demand cars, refrigerators, personal computers and other electronics.
  • The same story echoes around the globe as economies liberalize and material progress becomes more widespread and the race for energy gets fiercer.

As a response, President Bush recently suggested drilling in Alaska's Arctic National Wildlife Refuge (ANWR).  He might be on to something, says Burnett.  Despite the hysterical claims made by environmental lobbyists, oil and the environment can mix.  Two leading environmental groups, the Audubon Society and the Nature Conservancy, have allowed oil and gas production on several of their most important and unique nature preserves.

Unfortunately, Congress has not allowed drilling in ANWR, says Burnett:

  • It also has banned energy exploration in 85 percent of our coastal waters.
  • It is estimated that beneath America's coast lies enough oil to fuel 60 million cars in the United States for 60 years -- and enough natural gas to heat 60 million homes for 160 years. 
  • If allowed access to American oil reserves in Alaska and off the coast, American oil companies could increase the country's reserves an estimated fivefold -- taking the United States from 11th place to fourth among the countries with proven reserves.

Source: H. Sterling Burnett, "We don't have to take $4 gas prices -- we can drill," Houston Chronicle, May 21, 2008.


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