Pipelines and pipe dreams: the peril of our national energy policy

The election is behind us, but Americans remain uneasy about our national safety and economic future. They should.Fed chairman Ben Bernanke continues to write hot checks to pay overdrawn national credit cards while saying with a straight face that this is good economic policy. It seems any mother who can balance a checkbook is far more qualified than the administration's national economic experts. If only we could make the swap. With the Fed's faux economics, the dollar plummets and the price of a barrel of oil is hiked to adjust to world currencies to buy that same barrel of oil. Nothing has changed except our poor policies and pump prices. Is there a way out? Yes. Our government needs to alleviate the impact foreign countries have on the oil supply as they use our wealth to foment hatred for everything the United States represents. And the best way to wean us off foreign energy is to more fully develop our domestic energy sources. The Congressional Budget Office estimates 70 percent of America's oil and gas reserves are already available for development. Further, unreachable energy pockets are likely to become useable within the next few years as private companies continue to develop new and innovative ways to access them. The Institute for Energy Research finds that the total amount of recoverable oil in North America exceeds 1.7 trillion barrels. That would meet our energy needs for 250 years. And there is an estimated 4.2 quadrillion -- that's fifteen zeroes -- cubic feet of recoverable natural gas underneath us -- enough to meet America's electricity needs for the next 575 years. Imagine for a moment an America whose wealth gets circulated back among Americans rather than bled out to foreigners. It is a realistic vision. Without a vision, the people perish. Critical of American business while denying state compacts on transferring oil, President Obama has made it explicitly clear that he will continue to pour billions of tax dollars into green energy failures rather than develop known technologies that work today. The President's approach seems to ignore the enormous threats we are facing on multiple fronts with our national security. Green dreams aren't going to get America energy independent. The longer we continue to rely on foreign oil, the longer we will finance some of the most dangerous regimes on the planet. One thing is clear: we must do something now or face both an economic and national peril perhaps for generations. This is not academic. Energy security is national and economic security. With the right leadership, policy makers could get this country completely off foreign energy dependence within the decade. As a soldier that has fought in Middle Eastern garden spots, I believe we can ill afford to commit the future safety of American youth to short-sighted pipe dreams. This misguided activist-driven agenda needs to be tossed out. LTC Steve Russell, US Army, (Ret.), is the author of "We Got Him!: A Memoir of the Hunt and Capture of Saddam Hussein" (Simon & Schuster, 2011). He is the founder and chairman of Vets for Victory and serves as the Chairman of the Veterans Affairs Committee in the Oklahoma Senate.

********** Published: November 29, 2012 - Volume 11 - Issue 33