Harold Hamm, the founder and CEO of Continental Resources, which is the 14th-largest U.S. oil company, spent a few minutes of exclusive one-on-one time with the president at the White House recently. He told President Obama that America has enough oil within its borders to “replace OPEC.”
The President told Hamm, “Oil and gas will be important for the next few years, but we need to go on to green and alternative energy.” The President went on to say that Energy Secretary Chu has assured him that within five years, we can have a battery developed that will make a car with the equivalent of 130 miles per gallon.
Hamm wants to know, “Even if you believe that, why would you want to stop oil and gas development?” saying that the U.S. could be “completely energy independent by the end of the decade. We can be the Saudi Arabia of oil and natural gas in the 21st century.”
Given the state of affairs in the Middle East, I have to wonder what the president is thinking. Getting the U.S. free of Middle Eastern oil is, or should be, a primary goal for the sake of national security. To produce the oil and natural gas believed to be available in our own country is in our national interest for more than national security reasons. North Dakota, which is on pace to surpass California in oil production in the next few years, has the nation’s lowest unemployment rate at 3.5%. The economy in the state is expanding so fast that there is a housing shortage in the state, primarily due to oil production.
Mr. Hamm told the Wall Street Journal that if Washington allowed more drilling permits for oil and natural gas on federal lands and federal waters, “I truly believe the federal government could over time raise $18 trillion in royalties.” That is more than the U.S. national debt.
But this administration is not interested in freeing the United States of its reliance on Middle Eastern oil. Despite his speeches, this president is not really interested in creating jobs that don’t fall into the category of green, union or government jobs. Furthermore, this president is not interested in lowering the national debt.
President Obama has said all along that he hopes to take our nation down the same path as Spain with its “green economy.” Spain, the place that has lost 2.2 jobs for every “green job” it has created and whose unemployment rate, which is calculated separately by the National Statistics Institute, amounted to 20.9% in the second quarter of 2011 – the highest among industrialized nations.
I do not believe that the United States should abandon its quest to find or develop clean and alternative forms of energy. However, until we find one or more that works and are profitable, we will need to continue to rely on and improve on the sources of energy that we have.
If there are elections next fall, we need to elect a president and a congress that supports both paths.