Will we piddle as we did before the oil boom?
Contrary to impressions created and perceived, this seeming immersion in the “inquiry” on Capitol Hill does not constitute “All impeachment all the time.” It only seems that way.
Actually, there is considerably more work — mundane, but in its own way critical to the nation’s future — taking place in congressional enclaves and other halls of government.
Take, for instance, Sen. Lisa Murkowski’s clarion call for protection and extraction of vital “rare-earth elements” used, she says, in the production of “everything” — for instance, components in electric vehicles and smartphones to those in medical screening equipment and advanced weapons systems.
Ms. Murkowski, R-Alaska (and therefore sensitive to the importance of energy), has been through the oil wars in which the United States went from vulnerable reliance on others to a “position of strength and dominance.” She does not wish to see such a protracted and, perhaps, agonizing process relative to “the rare-earths.”
“What we are doing now, with our eyes wide open,” she said Wednesday, “we are putting ourselves in that same vulnerable position when it comes to these necessary minerals, these rare-earths, these things we need for everything.”
“The rare-earths” may be different from oil and natural gas from a resource standpoint, but Ms. Murkowski, as chair of the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee, sees a connection others may not. In terms of economic and national security, she says, “We are creating that same level of vulnerability . . . Like oil and natural gas, we have the resources. But we have to be allowed to extract it and be allowed to process it. We need to be pushing ourselves to be the world leader.”
The rare-earth elements are not the only resources in danger of either under-utilization or deliberate disregard. Many of the Democratic presidential candidates have called for the elimination of “fracking,” the highly successful method of reaching and appropriating sources of natural gas. The drilling technique yields half the oil the United States produces. Simply put, were it not from “fracking,” this nation would not have achieved the level of energy independence it boasts today.
Such a ban, needless to say, would border on the cataclysmic — reduction of domestic crude oil production by 6 million barrels daily, elimination of 3 million jobs, and the loss to GDP of roughly $430 billion annually.
So why would Democrats even consider this, particularly when “fracking” is so critical to the economies of states — Pennsylvania, for example — won in rather surprising fashion by President Trump in 2016. Are Democrats poised to risk a similar scenario by hitting the workers in such states where they live — in their pocketbooks? And, finally, don’t they remember it was a Democratic president — Barack Obama — who ushered in the “fracking” boom?