September 9, 2013

The Newest Energy Exporter

Over the last three years America has quietly almost doubled its exports of petroleum products.

One wouldn’t know it by the philosophy of the current occupant of the White House and his efforts to put an end to the Keystone XL pipeline plans, but over the last three years America has quietly almost doubled its exports of petroleum products to more than 100 million barrels a month. That’s not Saudi Arabia territory yet, but our nation has been blessed with abundant reserves and now has the technology to tap into them.

This surge in production is now being credited for increasing the second quarter GDP estimate from an anemic 1.7% to a more palatable 2.5% annual clip. Naturally, the administration is falling all over itself to take credit, with economic advisers Jason Furman and Gene Sperling posting on the White House website, “This is yet another reminder that the President’s focus on increasing America’s energy independence is not just a critical national security strategy, it is also part of an economic plan to create jobs, expand growth, and cut the trade deficit.”

The truth, however, is that the American energy boom is being realized despite the best efforts of Barack Obama.

True kudos go to the ingenuity and entrepreneurship of American businessmen and the good fortune of having much of the oil shale suitable for exploitation via fracking on private and state land, where it’s beyond the reach of the long regulatory arm of the Obama administration. And there’s an even bigger export prize waiting with increased export of natural gas – nearly two dozen companies are seeking permission from the federal government to export to countries outside those with which we have free-trade agreements.

The potential is there to restore America to the economic powerhouse it was before OPEC brought us to our knees 40 years ago. The question is whether we have the political will to do it.

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