Marcellus bolsters U.S. energy freedom

October 15, 2013

Fracking the Bakken in North Dakota, the Eagle Ford in Texas, and the Marcellus Shale in Pennsylvania and neighboring states yields more than job growth and economic opportunities for Americans—it’s creating a new era of independence from Arab oil.  Jim Cawley, the lieutenant governor of Pennsylvania, has written a column giving a very clear and vivid explanation of this sea change in global affairs and what it means for his constituents:

…In October 1973 oil exporting nations cut off exports to the United States as punishment for our support of Israel — the lone democracy in the Middle East.

Gasoline prices jumped. Home heating prices soared because the price of a barrel of oil dictated the price of everything else energy related.

Families were told to turn down the thermostats to 68 or lower, and cars lined up for miles outside service stations that were still running. Inflation combined with a slowed economy to usher in the “era of malaise.”

We were hostages in our own land.

Jump ahead 40 years and consider the words of Saudi Prince Alwaleed bin Talal: “Rising North American shale gas production is an inevitable threat” to the economy of Saudi Arabia.

Think about that.

Forty years after the embargo, a major OPEC country is worrying about America’s emerging energy independence. They have good reason.

Saudi oil exports to the United States have declined, as have exports from Algeria and Nigeria.

And as October got underway, The Wall Street Journal reported that the United States, home of the Marcellus fields, has ascended to the rank of top energy-producing country in the world.

We are talking about American energy independence – a term coined amid mile-long gas station lines and in the speeches of politicians who knew we needed to do something but had no idea what.

Our natural-gas resources are so abundant that the prices of oil and natural gas have become decoupled. There was a time when a jump in oil prices meant a corresponding rise in natural gas.

Not so today. Petroleum is selling at twice what it cost a decade ago. Natural gas prices have fallen by half.

Recently, the [Pennsylvania Gov. Tom] Corbett administration announced an initiative to expand natural gas refueling stations on our state’s highways.

It’s disappointing that some Harrisburg Democrats are lining up behind their state party’s call for an end to hydraulic fracturing, the technology that made energy independence possible.

They are, in short, calling for an abrupt halt to 30,000 direct jobs in the state’s natural-gas industry and an attack on 200,000 more jobs that depend on or benefit from the Marcellus Shale industry.

We’re talking about Marcellus jobs that sustain families, enrich communities and spin off countless economic benefits that reach from the gas fields to the neighborhoods of Philadelphia…

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