Despite continuing opposition by liberal environmental groups, the case for shale gas grows stronger every day. From jump-starting the economy to liberating Washington from dependence on foreign powers, the shale revolution is fueling freedom around the globe.
Independence is the “one word that best characterizes this Nation and its essential nature”, declared then-President Richard Nixon during his 1973 national address. From the rugged self-sufficiency of our founding pioneers to the values of modern day Americans, few would disagree with these words from Nixon. The freedom to move forward in the direction of our choosing, to promote the values that we deem important, is what our country was founded upon and what many of our fellow citizens from the Left to the Right of the political spectrum hold dear. This independence, Nixon continued, comes at a cost, though; it takes “great sacrifices of blood and also of treasure.” For the last century, the great irreplaceable treasure has been fuel.
“Our independence will depend on maintaining and achieving self-sufficiency in energy,” Nixon concluded in his 1973 speech. Dependence on foreign energy is like being in debt. As long as we continue to bend over backwards to secure energy contracts with other countries, we will never truly be free as a country to fully pursue our own ends. Now, however, it seems we are closer than ever to achieving what Nixon heralded back in the 70s. One monumental scientific breakthrough, how to combine horizontal drilling and hydraulic fracturing, has launched a new revolution in American energy, one that even has us set to surpass Saudi Arabia in fuel exports by 2020.
Liberal opposition to the shale revolution, however, is predictably standing in the way of American greatness once again, with environmental concerns seemingly set on keeping us in servitude to foreign powers. Fortunately, the case for shale gas is overwhelming, both as a motor of economic growth and the key to political liberation around the world.
The energy to ignite the American economy
There is no magic cure-all solution to the calamitous financial situation that we have found ourselves in after 5 years of ‘hope and change’, but the exploitation of American shale gas comes pretty close. In an age when the United States has been steadily losing manual jobs to China and other countries, shale gas will jumpstart American manufacturing to levels not seen in years.
As international energy specialist Philip Verleger argues, the fact that the US has perfected shale gas extraction techniques and boasts a competitive market that is not dominated by one giant player means that the new energy revolution will start here in the states. Competition ensures the low energy prices that bring investment in industry and job creation. Companies such as Michelin and Shell are already taking advantage of the low natural gas prices and building new plants in the US.
A free foreign policy
More than simply spurring economic growth, shale gas allows the United States to cease its dependence on questionable allies such as Saudi Arabia and Qatar, states with poor human rights records and little respect for American values of freedom and democracy. Outside the United States as well, shale gas is proving itself to be a tool of political liberation. In Eastern Europe, where President Vladimir Putin is able to push around ex-Soviet states such as Belarus and Ukraine through their dependence on Russian gas, the discovery of shale gas is being touted as the key to their independence.
Though Belarus has already fallen to Mother Russia and joined a Kremlin-led ‘customs union’ that many are referring to as a ‘new USSR’, Ukraine is rapidly exploiting their shale gas deposits in an effort to shake off Russia’s hold. Indeed, Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych hopes that energy independence will grant his country the freedom to choose its own future, to join the European Union and the Western World rather than remain under Putin’s thumb.
It seems that independence, that quintessential American value, has found in shale gas a powerful vehicle. Through the judicial exploitation of this incredible resource, the United States and countries around the world can reclaim the freedom to choose their own future.