Anyone reading this doesn’t need to be told the oil and gas industry in the United States, through innovation and investment, has made America the biggest oil and natural gas producer in the world — cutting our dependence on foreign oil by 20 percent.
People in Washington, D.C., want to burn up the press release wires with news of how they “fixed” the oil import problem, even though they’ve done little but use the oil and gas industry as a whipping boy.
But the real reason they shouldn’t be patting themselves on the back is because the problem hasn’t been solved. Not by a long shot. Despite the stunning expansion of the domestic oil and natural gas reserve base, we’re every bit as dependent on OPEC today as we were when it brought our economy to its knees with the Arab embargo in the 1970s. We’re still reliant on other countries for half the oil we need, including more than 1.5 million barrels a day from the Middle East.
Politicians in Washington want you to believe the problem is solved because gasoline prices have dropped. But this isn’t about gasoline prices; it’s about America’s national security. As long as we keep importing from the Middle East, OPEC leaders can continue to keep themselves in power and use oil as a strategic tool to tie our hands on foreign policy.
Our addiction to OPEC oil is the reason the U.S. military protects Middle East oil, even while most of it goes to other countries. Only 10 percent of the oil moved through the Strait of Hormuz comes to the U.S. The rest goes to China, India, Europe and elsewhere. But American soldiers take on all the risk, and American taxpayers pay 100 percent of the costs, of protecting that oil. It’s a mission that’s already cost thousands of American lives and more than $5 trillion in just over a decade.