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Energizing Economic Growth

Rig Worker


Washington, January 6, 2012 - Pick up a paper these days and you’ll likely see a story about the American oil and natural gas boom. Harking back to days of yore, the U.S. is now being described as "one of the most dynamic energy regions in the world." Foreign and domestic energy companies are rushing to invest tens of billions in the U.S.

It's new hydraulic fracturing and horizontal drilling technologies that are unlocking oil and gas in U.S. shale rock fields. Ohio, North Dakota, Oklahoma, Michigan, Pennsylvania and others are the big winners. Amazingly, the U.S. is on track to be a net exporter of petroleum products this year, the first time in over 60 years!

Where did this energy bonanza come from? One energy expert is quoted in the Wall Street Journal saying, "I didn't see it, and I don't know anyone else who saw it coming." Another case of "experts" missing technological advances and entrepreneurial opportunities. Another lesson in the futility of the economic "planning" government bureaucrats – and this White House - love.

The benefits of U.S. energy development are many: lower natural gas prices for consumers, allowing more for household spending and investing; cheaper energy for American manufacturers, bolstering their competitiveness against China; fewer dollars spent on importing oil, improving our trade imbalance; tens of thousands of good paying jobs, as our energy dollars stay home, and cash-strapped states receive increased tax revenues. Not to mention less dependence on hostile states around the world. Last month, my subcommittee held a hearing on the foreign policy implications these trends could bring.

But Washington is expected to issue new rules governing this technology on federal lands in March. Overzealous regulators will be tempted to strangle this energy revolution. The stakes to prevent this couldn't be higher.

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