NCPA - National Center for Policy Analysis


September 19, 2008

Energy is essential in America, and 40 percent of what we use comes from oil and 23 percent from natural gas. That comes to about 21 million barrels of oil and 64 billion cubic feet of natural gas each day. Domestic oil production is declining - down nearly half since 1970 -- so imports are up, from one-third of what we needed in 1970 to just under 60 percent today. So we need to discover and access more of our own energy resources, says Pete du Pont, chairman of the National Center for Policy Analysis and a former governor of Delaware.

The good news is that huge resources of oil and gas exist offshore:

  • Recoverable oil and gas on America's Outer Continental Shelf comes to some 85 billion barrels of oil and 420 trillion cubic feet of natural gas and there are another 10 billion barrels of oil in the North Slope of Alaska.
  • If full access to these resources were permitted, together they could replace America's imported oil for some 25 years, and no doubt reduce the price of oil, gas and gasoline.

There is no question a great deal of oil and gas is on the Outer Continental Shelf, but the Democratic Party has been opposed to offshore drilling for a long while, and the Republicans have sometimes joined Democrats.  Now it is time for a change, explains du Pont.  As Ronald Reagan said in his 1980 acceptance speech at the Republican National Convention: "Large amounts of oil and natural gas lay beneath our land and off our shores, untouched because the present administration seems to believe the American people would rather see more regulation, taxes, and controls than more energy."

He was talking about the Carter administration, but a quarter-century later the Democratic congressional majority would also like more energy regulation, taxes and controls.  But the American people realize that increasing energy supplies, thus decreasing the cost of energy, is the better goal to pursue, says du Pont.

Source: Pete du Pont, "Drill, Baby, Drill,", September 19, 2008.

For text:


Browse more articles on Environment Issues