George Gibbs Center for Economic Prosperity

Pensacola News Journal — V⁠i⁠ewpo⁠i⁠n⁠t⁠: Energy l⁠i⁠nked closely ⁠t⁠o na⁠t⁠⁠i⁠onal secur⁠i⁠⁠t⁠y

By: Sal Nuzzo / 2015

Pensacola News Journal
“Viewpoint: Energy linked closely to national security”
August 22. 2015
By Sal Nuzzo, JMI VP of PolicyIn 1977, President Jimmy Carter formally established the U.S. Department of Energy, with (among other things) the goal of making America completely energy independent. The idea being that there is an undeniable connection between our energy security and our national security. We have pursued this laudable goal in a variety of ways, through the development of traditional fossil fuels, renewables such a solar and wind, and advances in technology such as compressed and liquefied natural gas along with hydraulic fracturing.America’s energy independence is certainly an economic issue, but it’s also a national security concern with the highest degree of priority for the future prosperity of our children subsequent generations. In addition, recent developments in U.S. oil exploration and production are providing us with a unique opportunity to improve both our economic and our national security.Don’t get the connection between energy production and national security? Well, consider what brought about the establishment of the Department of Energy – the oil crisis of the 1970s. Our dependence on foreign oil, by predominantly OPEC nations, resulted in serious damage to our economic vitality and diplomatic capabilities. Anyone old enough to remember long lines at gas pumps and the rationing that resulted would attest to how our import dependence impacted our ability to negotiate and navigate serious international concerns. Want a more recent example? Look no further than Vladimir Putin, who is able to reassert Russian dominance in Eastern Europe via overt coercion because he has his hand on the energy pipelines feeding his neighbors, neighbors that he desires to control.It isn’t too shocking a statement that the past 5-7 years have seen a steady erosion of American superiority, in world affairs, in economic dominance, and in overall security. That much is pretty clear to anyone paying even a small degree of attention to international events.However, we are currently in the midst of an energy renaissance unlike any in recent history, and that renaissance can catapult us back from trailing the pack to leading it. Oil prices have been at historic lows, and the push toward greater energy independence has sent OPEC nations scrambling to flood the market with cheap oil in an attempt to thwart our push against reliance on foreign energy. This is no more evident than in the prairie of North Dakota, which is currently touting 30-plus percent increases in GDP and more six-figure jobs per capita than Manhattan. This is all because of the benefits of energy exploration and production.This revival is being curtailed by a bottleneck resulting from a 40-year old archaic regulation whose repeal would be a boost to domestic jobs, economic activity, and consumer value – the ban on the export of crude oil. This is one free market reform that makes both economic and political sense. After years of red tape, major oil companies are now finally starting to be able to drill on Arctic leases.The president will be traveling to Alaska at the end of August for a conference with leaders who have a vested interest in the Arctic. This conference, aptly named GLACIER, would be an opportune time for the president to reiterate America’s commitment, as a global energy leader, to our U.S. Arctic offshore oil and natural gas development strategy as a necessary course to fill the global demand for hydrocarbon energy for decades to come.Sal Nuzzo is vice president of policy at the James Madison Institute.Article: