And there they were, in all their glory, basking in the attention gained from protesting Marcellus Shale drilling.
Sure, those who were angrily denouncing the gas industry during the Marcellus Shale Coalition Conference in Philadelphia got the attention of the local media. But by far, their biggest cheering section, the folks who were happily paying the closest attention, weren’t even in Pennsylvania.
They’re in the Middle East.
The leaders of those oil nations could not be more thrilled to have such a passionate cadre of protestors, who do everything in their power to ensure the United States remains bent over the foreign oil barrel. And as an added bonus, American petro dollars are used to fund extremist anti-American programs in those very same Middle Eastern nations, resulting in a new generation of well-funded terrorists.
About the only thing missing is the Middle Eastern oil barons not paying the protestors to be their registered lobbyists, because that’s exactly what they are.
We are witnessing the greatest transfer of wealth in the history of mankind as America needlessly sends trillions to China and the Middle East. The standard of living in those countries continues to rise, as does their global power, while the United States slowly devolves into a second-world nation with — at least for now — a first-world military.
And here’s the part no one wants to admit but is unequivocally true: it will never again be the way it was, and the American way of life simply cannot improve until the people remove their heads from their derrieres and demand that we utilize our own domestic energy resources.
Absent that, the demise is unstoppable.
A look at any port tells the story: tankers and freighters come to America fully laden, but leave U.S. shores virtually empty. And the reason is simple. We make nothing. No nation can survive, let alone prosper, if it abandons its manufacturing base. But that is exactly what we did.
Of course, we will never be able to compete with the lowest labor costs in the world. So the only way to offset that is to have the lowest energy costs in the world. And more than any nation on Earth, America can do that. How? By utilizing the greatest concentration of energy resources on the planet — a level which dwarfs that of any other nation.
There are vast — almost immeasurable — yet untapped oil reserves off both coasts and in the Gulf of Mexico, in Alaska (especially in the ANWR), under the Rocky Mountains, and in the Bakken Formation in North Dakota.
And that’s just for starters.
America has also been blessed with an overabundance of natural gas, including the Marcellus Shale, which just happens to be the second largest gas deposit in the world. Ironically, many of the gas protestors who describe themselves as "environmentalists" (whatever that means) are opposing the cleanest fuel available.
Natural gas produces virtually no emissions, which not only is good for the environment, but its low price and limitless supply are lessening use of more emission–producing fossil fuels. It’s a no-brainer.
And since it is less than half the price of gasoline, the wider utilization of natural gas can power the economy in an unprecedented way. As companies like UPS have realized, lower fuel costs give them a competitive edge, and that means greater commerce and more jobs.
And speaking of jobs, take a look at just one glowing example right here in Pennsylvania of how natural gas can get the economy moving again. Proctor and Gamble has a substantial manufacturing plant in the state, and as with any such facility, energy costs are always one of the priciest budget items.
Upon discovering natural gas under the plant, the company invested in several gas wells on the property — money that was quickly recouped since their energy bill is now dramatically less. Businesses in that situation can now take the millions in savings and expand operations, hire more workers at good salaries, and keep its manufacturing doors open in America.
But that’s just the beginning. It’s all the ancillary effects that result from gas that can jumpstart the economy: homes are built and bought (driving down foreclosures), restaurants thrive, many small businesses no longer face closure, and untold new businesses spring to life. Estimates are that 100,000 jobs have already been created because of Pennsylvania’s (fledgling) gas industry, and billions in tax revenue have filled municipal and state coffers.
And that is but a mere preview of what’s to come.
Yet the protestors would rather kill all that off, content to keep the status quo of $4 gasoline, rising inflation, and a stagnant economy. Oh, and one more thing: their actions jeopardize the safety of every American by keeping the nation in a state of begging, totally reliant on foreign oil. To say our national security is weakened would be a gross understatement.
Here’s the bottom line. Two plus two always equals four, whether or not one chooses to believe that. Likewise, black gold and natural gas are the lifeblood of every economy, and that unequivocally will not change for scores of decades, if ever. Those countries with petroleum resources thrive, while those reliant on rival nations for their energy needs are always at a substantial disadvantage. It is survival of the fittest, and no amount of fairy-tale fluff will change that fact.
The most ignorant aspect of Shale protestors is that they only harp on the "horrors" of natural gas and oil (most of which are easily debunked myths, but that’s another column), yet offer no alternatives — at least none grounded in the real world. If they ever do, they will be taken seriously. But until then, they will be laughed off as extremists trying to achieve a relevance that is simply unattainable.
Solar? Wind? Hydro? Love them all. And we should continue to utilize them so long as they are cost efficient. But they do not make even the smallest dent in meeting America’s energy needs. Attempts to argue the contrary are folly.
Nuclear is a different ballgame, and we should be doubling our plants, but in the wake of Japan’s (avoidable) crisis, combined with zero political leadership from either Party in Washington, that’s a pipe dream.
Which brings us back to gas. If not gas and oil, then what? More reliance from hostile foreign nations while out global competitors gain yet another foothold on America? That’s not a solution. It’s a death sentence.
Natural gas, and the industry itself, are not perfect, but they are most certainly the best option we have to keep our communities safe and prosperous, and our people’s dignity intact. Criticism for the sake of criticism — with no viable solutions — is simply irresponsible.
Of course, so is cooking one’s meal with propane stoves while protesting a natural gas conference — as some hypocritical protestors actually did. And that says it all.
It’s high-time the United States of America stops using Chinese as its official language and asking permission from Middle Eastern oil barons.
So come up with something better and get your fracking facts straight, or go pass gas somewhere else.
An accredited member of the media, Chris Friend is an independent columnist, television commentator, and investigative reporter who operates his own news bureau, www.FreindlyFireZone.com
Readers of his column, "Freindly Fire," hail from six continents, thirty countries
and all fifty states. His work has been referenced in numerous publications including
The Wall Street Journal, National Review Online, foreign newspapers, and in Dick
Morris’ recent bestseller "Catastrophe."
Freind, whose column appears regularly in Philadelphia Magazine and nationally in
Newsmax, also serves as a frequent guest commentator on talk radio and state/national
television, most notably on FOX Philadelphia. He can be reached at [email protected]