There is a revolution going on America. But it is not part of the Tea Party or the loud Occupy Wall Street protests.
Instead, massive new reserves of gas, oil and coal are being discovered almost everywhere in the United States, due to revolutionary methods of exploration and exploitation such as fracking and horizontal drilling. Current prices of over $100 a barrel make even complex efforts at recovery enormously profitable.
There were always known to be additional untapped reserves of oil and gas in the petroleum-rich Gulf of Mexico, off America's shores, and in the American West and Alaska. But even the top energy experts never imagined just how vast was the energy there -- or beneath far more unlikely places like South Dakota, Pennsylvania, Ohio and New York. Some studies suggest the United States has now expanded its known potential gas and oil reserves tenfold.
The strategic and economic repercussions of these new finds are staggering, and remind us how a once energy-independent and thereby confident American economy soared to world dominance in the early 20th century.
America will soon again be able to supply all of its own domestic natural gas needs -- and perhaps for the next 90 years at present rates of consumption. We have recently become a net exporter of refined gas and diesel fuel, and already have cut imported oil from OPEC countries by 1 million barrels per day.
With expanded exploration and conservation, the United States could also eventually supply half its own petroleum needs. If we were to eliminate just 5 million barrels of our current daily 9 million barrels of imported petroleum, the annual savings could reach nearly $200 billion per year. Eventually, the new gas and oil could add another 1.6 million new jobs and add up to nearly $1 trillion in federal revenue.
That windfall would cut out about a third of our present annual trade deficit -- well apart from additional income earned by new natural gas exportation. "Investments," "shovel-ready jobs" and "stimulus" would finally become more than empty sloganeering.
But America's new oil discoveries are not occurring in a vacuum. The entire Western Hemisphere is enjoying a fossil fuel boom, from northern Canada to Brazil and Argentina. America's backyard will soon be comparable to the oil-rich Persian Gulf, keeping more American money -- and troops -- at home. Illegal immigration should taper off as well, as oil-rich Latin American economies reap huge cash bonanzas. Hugo Chavez's Venezuela will soon be simply one of many regional exporters.
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