Imagine a world freed from the extortive effects of energy dependence. Advanced democracies wouldn’t be obliged to prop up petty tyrants who abuse their subjects and scoff at civil society. Hate-filled despots intent upon exporting violence and imposing their twisted values would be deprived of the petrodollar fuel that feeds their narcissistic passions. And cheap, abundant energy would continue to raise living standards across the globe, erasing poverty in its wake and allowing people everywhere to reach for their goals and earn success using their talents and ambitions rather than being predestined to a life of destitution based solely on their birthplace in life’s lottery.
That day when we can tell the petty tyrants to take a hike is getting closer. According to a recent Wall Street Journal article, the U.S. has already overtaken Russia in natural gas production and is about to overtake in in oil production as well. That will put us second in energy production only behind Saudi Arabia, and well on our way to energy independence. In fact, according to the article, U.S. imports of natural gas and crude oil have already fallen 32 percent and 15 percent respectively in the past five years.
That’s good for us and good for the world. It helps our balance of payments, keeps energy costs low, and since fuel is a worldwide commodity, it lessens the influence – and capacity for troublemaking – of tyrants and provocateurs everywhere.
The only remaining question is whether we’ll embrace this opportunity or let it slip from our grasp. As shown in our recent Center for Self-Government study detailing energy resources on federal lands, we have billions of dollars’ worth of energy resources right here in the Western states, most of which can be responsibly developed and turned into jobs and prosperity. Increasing opportunity in our own backyard while denying the world’s troublemakers the resources to ruin the lives of others seems like a win-win.