Natural gas prices rise on Obama, colder weatherAP posted: 5:06 PM 03/30/11
Comments Text Size A A A
NEW YORK -Natural gas prices climbed more than 2 percent on Wednesday as President Barack Obama said he wanted the U.S. to use more of it instead of foreign oil. Forecasts for colder weather also pushed up prices.
Natural gas for May delivery added 9.2 cents to settle at $4.355 per 1,000 cubic feet on the New York Mercantile Exchange.
Obama announced that he wants to cut the country's oil imports by a third by 2025. The president touted a series of initiatives, emphasizing that the U.S. could rely more on its own natural gas and biofuels to generate electricity and to power vehicles.
- Sponsored by:
Oil Dependence: An Unnecessary Security Risk
In the early 1970s, America's dependence on foreign oil was a little over 20%. Today, our dependence on foreign oil is over 65%. We have become more and more energy dependent because we have never had a serious energy independence strategy, and we still do not have one.
Energy independence is within our grasp because we have plenty of energy natural resources. We have billions of barrels of oil, plenty of natural gas reserves, more coal than any other country in the world, lots of places we could build dams for hydroelectricity and some of the safest nuclear power technology in the world.
Wind and solar energy development is not going to get us to energy independence. Studies such as the Department of Energy's "Billion Ton Study" have shown that those two sources could at best provide 5% of our energy needs combined.
But by maximizing all of our other domestic energy resources, we could become energy independent. This would not only help to keep down the cost of gasoline and the cost of nearly everything we buy, but it would also be a boost to our economy and create hundreds of thousands of new jobs.
But most importantly, energy independence would keep us from being vulnerable to the current instability in the Middle East or the whims of OPEC.
But to become energy independent, we would have to reject the false premise that America's high energy consumption is at odds with conservation, or that we will cause irreversible harm to our planet. To say that we will cause irreversible harm to the planet by using our natural resources responsibly is like saying that man never should have discovered fire in the first place.
Natural resources are there for a reason. Use them! That's why they are natural! The Arctic National Wildlife Refuge (ANWR), oil reserves off our own continental coasts, oil shale areas out West and even nuclear power development can create a path to energy independence.
The area proposed for production in ANWR, for example, comprises only 0.08% of the 19 million acres of the refuge, and it is estimated to contain at least 16 billion barrels of recoverable oil. Allowing drilling there would not be an environmental hazard using today's technology. And if any caribou got lost near that less-than-two-acre carve-out of ANWR, I seriously doubt that they would even notice or care.
And yes, accidents do happen in these various sectors of our energy economy. We usually learn from them to help minimize future accidents. That's common sense. But we do not need to go overboard with excessive regulations after an unfortunate accident to make the approval processes even slower.