November 20, 2013

Around the Nation: Oil Boom, Ethanol Bust

By 2015, the U.S. will top Russia and Saudi Arabia as the world’s leading oil producer and, within 20 years, will near energy independence.

In good news from the energy independence front, the International Energy Agency (IEA) recently announced that by 2015, the U.S. will top Russia and Saudi Arabia as the world’s leading oil producer and, in the next 20 years, will near energy independence. We first reported this story last month, but this month we highlight that the boon is due in large part to the success of hydraulic fracturing (“fracking”) in tapping vast reserves in North Dakota and Texas. Long the nemesis of environmental zealots, fracking is not only safely reducing reliance on foreign sources of energy but is also continuing to disprove the alarmist claims of the environmental lobby.

Meanwhile, in other energy news, the EPA is finally facing facts regarding its green-lobby-appeasing renewable fuels standard and has proposed a reduction to the standard for 2014. The move is all but an admission that the mandate – which requires that 36 billion gallons of renewable fuel be blended into the nation’s gas supply by 2022 – is bad policy. Indeed, shrinking demand for gas has led to a scenario in which the increasing ethanol-to-gas ratio threatens to damage automobiles. The environmental lobby is naturally (pun intended) calling the move a “capitulati[on] to the oil companies.” In truth, the move is a capitulation to facts. And although the EPA’s step is a small one, it’s a step in the right direction.

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