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William Stoecker / January 8, 2015

Drowning in Energy

For decades, America’s appetite for oil and gas led to increasing imports and increasing dependence on petroleum and natural gas (mostly methane) from Islamic nations, hurting our balance of trade and empowering the states (like Saudi Arabia) that support terrorism. Following the Arab oil embargo of 1973, President Jimmy Carter, who only six years ago lost his title as America’s worst President, created the Department of Energy on 8/4/1977. Its stated purpose was to make us energy independent, and it was as successful as the War on Poverty and the War on Drugs. In other words, we became even more dependent on imports.

The fracking revolution has shown that previous estimates of our oil and gas reserves were mistaken (or based on lies). The usual “environmentalists” have claimed that fracking fluids poison ground water (not true) or cause earthquakes (maybe…but the evidence is inconclusive and all the quakes near wells have been minor). As of 2012 estimates were that now, due to fracking, America’s economically recoverable petroleum reserves total 30.5 billion barrels, with another 198 billion barrels being technically recoverable, if improved technology and/or rising prices make it economically feasible. Also as of 2012 we now have some 827 trillion cubic feet of economically recoverable methane. The usual naysayers, ever-eager to snatch defeat from the jaws of victory, claim that fields being tapped via fracking soon give out…maybe, but new ones continue to be found, and there is increasing evidence that oil, and especially gas fields gradually refill after being abandoned.

Since most of the rock being fractured is shale rock, there has been some confusion. In addition to the shale rocks that have trapped recoverable hydrocarbons, the US also has vast shale deposits containing a waxy material called “kerogen.” These rocks can be heated to produce oil, and could provide an estimated 2.175 trillion barrels if technology and/or prices make it economical.

In addition to that, the planet holds vast reserves of methane hydrates, methane molecules trapped in cages of water molecules on the ocean floor near continents and under Arctic permafrost. Alaska’s North Slope alone has reserves estimated at anywhere between 25.2-157.8 trillion cubic feet of gas. It would take only a small advance in technology to make this recoverable. The conventional theory to explain the formation of oil and gas states that the hydrocarbons come from buried plant matter, heated and compressed deep in the crust. But for many decades, maverick scientists have claimed that much of it is abiotic in origin (although it may have been altered by the actions of extremophile chemosynthetic bacteria deep in the crust), and that truly vast quantities were trapped in the Earth’s mantle (the layer beneath the crust) when the planet was formed, and/or produced by chemical reactions within the mantle. Since hydrocarbons have been found in meteors and methane on Saturn’s moon Titan, and since experiments have proved that chemical reactions in the mantle could produce hydrocarbons, it is very likely that the mavericks have been right all along, and oil and gas sufficient to last us for many centuries will continue to seep up beneath our feet.

In addition, the US has the largest known coal reserves in the world, an estimated 481 billion tons, of which 40%-90% are economically recoverable. The coal can be cleanly burned using the fluidized bed method, or we can use the old coking process to take out the tars and oils (one man’s pollution is another man’s treasure) for use in chemical industries, and then cleanly burn the coke (almost pure carbon) that remains. Of course, coal-fired power plants will still produce the dreaded plant food, CO2, so our illustrious Maximum Leader has declared a “War on Coal,” as part of his overall war on our prosperity.

The same eco-Nazis who oppose fracking and coal also have always opposed nuclear power. Some imagine it to be a deadly peril, but the Three Mile Island accident killed no one; Chernobyl killed only workers within the plant, and even the disaster in Japan has failed to destroy the Earth. Inherently safe designs, incapable of a meltdown, have been developed, and breeder reactor technology allows us to produce energy from common isotopes like U-238 and from thorium. Uranium is as common as tin or zinc, and the US alone has 207,400 tons of economically recoverable uranium, and 440,000 tons of economically recoverable thorium. With breeder reactors, we could produce all our electricity from nuclear fission for centuries.

And then there is nuclear fusion, producing no harmful wastes and using the incredibly abundant hydrogen isotope, deuterium, which can be extracted from water. The Department of Energy has always supported “hot” fusion, and in 2014 a laser fusion research reactor at the Lawrence Livermore Laboratory passed the “break even” point, producing slightly more energy than was needed to start and sustain the reaction. But it took over 60 years of expensive research to get that far, and there is no assurance that “hot” fusion will ever be economically feasible. Meanwhile, in 1989 two lowly chemists in Utah, Martin Fleischmann and Stanley Pons, succeeded in producing excess energy with what appeared to be “cold” fusion, from an incredibly cheap and simple apparatus. So they beat the government-backed hot fusion boys by 25 years. Their results were duplicated at several other laboratories…but you will never learn that from the mainstream media. Whether this is fusion or something even stranger, the energy production is undeniable, and, had the money wasted by the government been spent on this simple technology, we might actually have cheap energy by now…we simply don’t know.

We could be entering an age of abundance and prosperity, but I predict that Obama and his leftist minions will not allow it.

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