They took away our culture, they redefined marriage and life itself, and they’ve erased our borders. Will the courts steal the lifeblood of our economy and smother the growing oil miracle in America’s economy?
Yesterday, President Trump was in Houston, touting his new plan to expedite oil pipeline construction and permitting for oil and gas extraction, two vital infrastructure projects that have been hampered by liberal states and held up by activist judges.
While the media has barely covered it and many Americans take our prosperity and energy production for granted, it’s worth reviewing and quantifying the magnitude of what the shale oil boom has done for this country over the past few years.
Last week, the S. Energy Information Administration (EIA) announced that American crude oil production had hit an all-time record of 12.2 million barrels per day. That crushes Saudi Arabia’s and Russia’s levels of output. America will be the world’s largest oil producer for the foreseeable future and will account for over 70 percent of future growth in global crude oil production.
Thanks to the discovery of more shale oil, the innovation of hydraulic fracking, and Trump easing regulations on permitting, crude oil production has spiked 36 percent just since Trump took office. The continued spike in production is all the more remarkable given that the price of crude oil has tumbled since last October and still remains 15 percent lower than when it peaked last fall.
Shale production has spiked from less than 600,000 barrels per day in 2010 to roughly 7.4 million barrels per day this year.
We now produce so much oil that we are on the cusp of also becoming the king of oil exports as well as production. According to the International Energy Agency (IEA), “By 2024, the United States will export more oil than Russia and will close in on Saudi Arabia – a pivotal milestone that will bring greater diversity of supply in markets.” Just this year, our gross exports of crude oil are expected to hit six billion barrels per day, roughly triple the level just three years ago. The U.S. already exports more coal natural gas than it imports and is expected to permanently become a net exporter of oil by 2021. It has already intermittently achieved net exporter statuses during some individual months. Through 2040, the U.S. is expected to account for 75 percent of the global growth in oil production and 40 percent of the growth in natural gas. According to the IEA, “By 2025, nearly every fifth barrel of oil and every fourth cubic meter of gas in the world come from the United States.” At the same time, the IEA predicts that global demand for oil will continue to slow its pace of growth, creating a win-win for our dominance of the market.
It’s not just our producing capacity that has grown. Our oil refineries are processing record amounts of oil. In January, we hit 18.76 million barrels per day being run through the refineries, clearing keeping up with the supply of production.
God truly has continued to bless America whether we deserve it or not. A funny thing happens when we responsibly utilize the gifts God bestows. We get more of them. For years, liberals warned about scarcity of resources and the approaching era of “peak oil,” yet the more oil we use, the more we discover, along with innovative technologies to more efficiently extract it. The U.S. has an estimated 310 billion barrels of technically recoverable oil, more than Saudi Arabia, and the numbers keep growing every year. Those estimates have jumped over 30 percent in just a decade, even though we have already extracted over 30 billion barrels during that period.
It is the Hanukkah oil miracle of America. God has blessed this country with such an abundance of natural resources that we are doing pretty well, despite the debt, dependency, and soft socialism throughout our mismanaged government. Whether we deserve it or not, God renews his creation every day.
And it’s not just important for economic prosperity, but for global security and diplomatic prowess against Russia and Iran. The oil and natural gas boom is allowing us to break Russia’s monopoly and stranglehold over Europe’s precarious dependency on energy imports. With revenue from oil and gas constituting roughly 40 percent of Russia’s budget, neutralizing that monopoly will mitigate any emerging threat Russia poses in economic dominance. We will also break the monopoly of OPEC and take a serious bite out of petro-terrorism.
So, what could stop this great American energy miracle? Not Russia or Iran. As always, we are our own worst enemy. Environmentalist judges are shutting down oil permits that are lawfully issued by the Department of the Interior and the EPA. Over the past few weeks, two federal judges have said Trump must continue Obama’s policies of blocking off drilling in hundreds of thousands of acres in Wyoming and the Alaska Arctic Outer Continental Shelf.
Then, states are blocking construction of more pipelines. While we have record production and refining of crude oil, there is still a need to transport that oil, which requires more pipelines. There is an infrastructure bottleneck being created by states like New York blocking more oil streams into New England.
Judges are also blocking pipeline construction. A single judge in Montana indefinitely delayed the beginning of the Keystone XL Pipeline construction to connect the lines from Alberta to Nebraska.
Our Founders created the Constitution to prevent states from impeding this very sort of interstate and international commerce, yet now single district judges are able to do so. Trump issued two executive orders to deal with state recalcitrance on pipelines. The first one would direct the EPA to give states clear guidance of compliance with Section 401 of the Clean Water Act, limiting their ability to make up new excuses for blocking permitting. It also directs the Transportation Department to begin allowing liquefied natural gas to be shipped in approved rail tank cars. The second order will transfer authority for permitting and approving pipeline construction that crosses international borders from the secretary of state to the president himself.
While announcing the executive actions yesterday, President Trump declared at an energy facility outside Houston, “We’ve ended the war on American energy.” That may be so, as long as we don’t allow the courts to control our energy production as they control our border. (For more from the author of “America Has Quietly Become the Global Oil Superpower. Will the Courts Stop That Too?” please click HERE)