Michael Whatley

It’s no wonder most Americans don’t trust politicians and government agencies in Washington, D.C. Too often the city’s power brokers offer talking points that seem to fly in the face of logic. Now, a report from the Congressional Budget Office on U.S. energy security serves as the most recent example as to why American’s take information from Washington, D.C. with a hearty grain of salt.

In their report “Energy Security in the United States” the agency makes many errors that one would hope the analytical arm of Congress might avoid. Among these, the report dismisses entirely the idea that increased domestic oil production can have even a modest impact on U.S. energy security. It makes this determination by accepting the premise, without question, that increased U.S. oil production will be offset by decreased production elsewhere. Such a one-for-one assumption is overly simplistic, denies the most basic principles of the marketplace, and makes the report look more like a collection of election year talking points than an effort to provide clarity to U.S. energy policy.

One of the most egregious oversights is the fact the report never even mentions the enormity of North America’s newly found resource base. New technologies have caused resource estimates in the western hemisphere to skyrocket. One example, the discovery of technology to economically produce the Canadian Oil Sands increased that nation’s reserves to approximately 175 billion barrels of oil. Similar developments have increased our resource potential as well. For example, the Energy Information Administration indicates the U.S. now contains more than 198 billion barrels of technically recoverable oil. Taken together, these resources total approximately 373 billion barrels of oil, more than the reserves of Iraq and Iran combined. For this reason, recent studies and news articles have highlighted the U.S. can gain energy independence – or at the very least self-sufficiency- within the next few decades. This seems to be a pretty large omission for a report focused on our nation’s energy security.


Michael Whatley

Michael Whatley is Executive Vice President of the Consumer Energy Alliance.