Suddenly, the Libyan turmoil and its subsequent Obamian abdication of leadership have led -- again -- to heightened fears about America's energy future. The national average price of a gallon of gasoline at the pump has risen 33 cents to $3.51 in just two weeks.
So here's a question: Where would our fears be, and that per-gallon price of gasoline, if the country in turmoil were not Libya, which produces just 2 percent of global oil production, but Saudi Arabia? An answer is: They would be in a comfort zone -- far below today's levels -- if we were doing about domestic energy production what we should have been doing all along. Sixty-three percent of the oil we use would not be imported from other countries.
And what should we doing?
New White House chief of staff Bill Daley told "Meet the Press" on Sunday that "all matters (relating to energy) have to be on the table." Very well:
With greens currently driving energy policy, meaning that as a consequence the U.S. currently has no effective energy strategy, rebalance green concerns with the nation's energy needs:
--Lift the Obama administration's de facto moratorium on deepwater drilling in the Gulf of Mexico. Federal District Judge Martin Feldman has termed the administration's dalliance issuing permits following last year's Deepwater Horizon spill "increasingly inexcusable."
--Lift as well the seven-year federal ban on Atlantic and Pacific off-shore drilling. Cut the red tape. Speed the permitting process. Don't leave these off-shore areas to drilling by Cuba, Mexico, and China.
--Authorize extension of the TransCoastal Keystone XL pipeline from Canada to the Gulf coast, thereby daily providing an additional half-million barrels of crude to Gulf coast refineries.
--Approve drilling in Alaska's Arctic National Wildlife Refuge (ANWR).
(The latest polling shows roughly 2-1 popular support for drilling in territorial waters, and 54-40 percent support for drilling in ANWR.)
With America the OPEC of coal and natural gas, find regulatory ways to revive coal mining and to expand -- in truth, even to allow -- its industrial use:
--Remove regulatory and bureaucratic obstacles to tapping oil and gas in shale deposits that underlay vast reaches of the country from Texas to Wyoming to the Dakotas to upstate New York.
--Push (yes, push harder) private-sector research into automobile engines that operate on, for instance, hydrogen.
--Promote the construction of new refining capacity.
Ross Mackenzie lives with his wife and Labrador retriever in the woods west of Richmond, Virginia. They have two grown sons, both Naval officers.
Be the first to read Ross Mackenzie's column. Sign up today and receive Townhall.com delivered each morning to your inbox.