The Telescope: Energy for Economic and National Security

Bob Beauprez
|
Posted: Oct 21, 2012 12:01 AM

It should be self-evident to even a casual observer that access to sustainable supplies of affordable energy are fundamental for economic expansion and job creation. Literally everything we rely on in our daily life requires energy to grow, harvest, manufacture, power, or transport. Scarcity causes prices to rise, and rising prices destroy jobs and restrict economic growth.

Yet, when faced with an economy already in a deep recession, Barack Obama inexplicably implemented policies that would cause energy costs to "necessarily skyrocket."

While waging war for the last four years against the hydrocarbon industry that currently supplies about 85 percent of all the energy consumed in the U.S., Obama was squandering billions on green-energy fantasies like Solyndra, BrightSource Energy, Abound Solar, and Ener1. Obama's green loan program was sold in large part as a job creating stimulus. But, where?

In addition to the long list of now bankrupt companies, SunPower got a $1.2 billion loan for a solar energy production ranch in California that will only employee 15 permanent workers. The vast majority of jobs created will be in Mexico, where SunPower will manufacture the photovoltaic panels in a 320,000 square foot facility and ship them north. At least the Mexican economy got stimulated.

Technological advances in drilling and fracturing (fracking) have unleashed enormous previously trapped oil and natural gas reserves. However, the Obama administration has done everything imaginable to discourage and eliminate more energy production, including imposing moratoriums, cancelling leases, slashing permits, adding punitive regulations, and keeping millions of acres of offshore reserves and federal land off limits to production.

Today, Americans are paying more than twice the price at the pump as when Obama took office in January, 2009. This is consistent with the twisted stated objective of his Energy Secretary Stephen Chu: "Somehow we have to figure out how to boost the price of gasoline to the levels in Europe."

Little wonder then that just two years into his term, Steve Forbes blasted the Obama administration with the dubious distinction as "the most anti-oil and gas administration in U.S. history."

If you thought the first term of Obama made no sense, you haven't seen anything yet. As Sen. Inhofe explains, Carol Browner, Obama's original energy czar and now key campaign adviser, recently crowed about getting really serious in the second Obama term. "The President believes deeply in these issues," she recently told a group of environmental true believers according to Politico.com. She promised that an even more aggressive pursuit of the radical left environmental agenda, "will be a big part of his to-do list and he will remain committed in the next four years."

If that scares you – and it should – Mitt Romney has a better idea. Taking a page from President Kennedy's 1961 pledge to put a man on the moon before the end of the decade, Romney vows to achieve North American energy independence by 2020. The good news is that both the resources and the technology to safely harvest those resources currently exist to make the goal of energy independence an American reality in the same way our nation rose to President Kennedy's challenge.

Renewables and nuclear energy will be a growing part of Romney's energy policy, too. But, he accepts the reality that even by 2035 nearly 80 percent of all energy consumed in America will still be from oil, natural gas, or coal according to the non-profit, non-partisan Institute for Energy Research. That's barely a 5 percent change from present standards.

Rather than unnecessarily forcing Americans toward green sources at any price under any circumstances, as Obama's policy would, Romney embraces the common sense strategy of wisely using the vast resources we have while preparing for a different tomorrow. And, given the enormous reserves that can now be harvested, the need for alternative sources of energy is continually getting pushed farther into the future.

Romney supports the continued development of renewable sources of energy, too, but doesn't think we should be borrowing money from China to fund the efforts. He prefers letting the market work. He understands that letting market forces work – unimpeded by government manipulation – assures the most abundant and efficient sources of energy at the most affordable price.

Obama clings to the myth that America is about to run out of fossil fuels. But, reports from his own Energy Department and the Congressional Research Service document that the U.S. has greater reserves than any nation in the world.

Not only do we have energy resources enough to supply our own needs, but very soon the U.S. could become a net exporter, particularly of liquefied natural gas (LNG). As recently as 2007, the U.S. was scrambling to figure out how to import more LNG, but recent discoveries and fracking technology have reversed the concerns. Now, industry experts predict the U.S. will be the world's leading exporter of LNG in just a few short years, surpassing Qatar and Australia.

Truly embracing an all-of-the-above energy policy and North American energy independence by 2020 is a cornerstone of Romney's plan to get the economy moving again at a 4 percent growth rate while creating 12 million jobs in the next four years; keeping hundreds of billions of energy dollars home in the U.S., creating jobs here, strengthening our economy – not some potential enemy regime.

As our economy is dependent on affordable, dependable supplies of energy, the same is true for developing economies around the globe. Rather than being frozen in time or even declining as Obama would prefer, global demand for energy resources has increased by 63 percent since 1980, and will continue to increase into the future. After all, a third of the world's population lives in two of the most rapidly expanding economies, China and India.

Romney's plan makes sense economically. He understands that wishing won't reduce either our need for energy nor reliance on hydrocarbons. Furthermore, Romney knows that it is pure foolishness to rely on someone else for a critical component of our economy when we have the resources here at home and the technology to harvest them.

But, the genius of Romney's plan is even bigger than that.

North America energy independence will bolster the U.S. economy as well as that of our next door neighbors, Canada and Mexico. Prosperous neighbors are happy neighbors, as well as providing more opportunity for trade, stability, and hemispheric security.

When we produce more of our own energy, thereby reducing U.S. demand on global supplies, global price pressure diminishes and developing nations without domestic supplies can access the market more easily. Access to energy aids developing countries in making more rapid economic progress. Progressing economies tend overwhelmingly to embrace democracy, and democracies seldom go to war with each other. That's another very good thing.

This leads to the most important part of Romney's plan, and how it is so very different from Obama's twisted ideology.

Only the most naïve would fail to notice the nexus between the nations responsible for the production and transportation of massive amounts of the world's energy needs and many of the most radical, anti-American regimes infested with radical Islamic ideology on the planet. About 40 percent of the world's tanker shipments of oil move through the Strait of Hormuz, a narrow waterway sandwiched between Iran and Oman. Additionally, the twelve OPEC member nations alone account for about 40 percent of all oil production in the world.

Being hostage for a significant amount of our energy needs to regimes such as these makes absolutely no sense at all; particularly, again, when we have the ability to completely supply our needs between our own production and that of our two closest neighbors.

In early 2009, I published A Return to Values: A Conservative Looks at His Party. The book went to print just as Obama was moving into the White House, so evidence of the damage his energy policies would do to our economy and the increased national security vulnerabilities they would create were unknown. Here's part of what I wrote in Chapter 10, "Look to Energy for U.S. Security:"

"The urgent need for a comprehensive, prudent energy policy to protect our national security needs to be as much a national priority as is rebuilding and modernizing the intelligence community and a balanced approach to fighting the Islamic radicals. While Democrats demonize Big Oil and demagogue energy policy, falsely pretending that they have some ethereal plan to solve the problem, it will be up to Republicans to speak the truth and champion intelligent leadership, to show and improve the link between energy and national security. Our freedom and national stability is as much at risk from significantly reduced supplies and price escalations as any other threat we face."

Since that was written, America's national debt has increased by more than $5 trillion, more than 20 million Americans are unemployed or under-employed, job creation lags behind population growth, Iran is four years closer to a nuclear weapon, and Obama's lead-from-behind foreign policy has resulted in a more dangerous world in which America is neither feared nor respected as she was in the years immediately after the 9/11 attacks.

Unfortunately for America, along with Barack Obama also came Democrat majorities in the House for two more years. The Senate remains in Democrat control to this day. The President and his party are owned by a radical environmental constituency that is perfectly willing to sacrifice American economic security – as well as our national security – to further the cause of the green gods they worship.

I concluded the energy chapter in A Return to Values with the observation that, "Energy is security, and U.S. security depends on energy." It is no coincidence that the first element of Romney's 5-point plan is Energy Independence. Romney gets it. Obama either doesn't get it, or doesn't care.

World demand for energy will be met somewhere by someone – why not by Americans for Americans?

I care about America's security, and that's why I'm voting for Mitt Romney. I hope you'll reach the same conclusion.