Digging up our coal, oil and gas for export


I don’t think many Americans are aware of how much of our coal, oil and natural gas production is for export.  In particular, I don’t think Americans are as aware as we should be that the pipeline to carry bitumen from tar sands fields in Alberta to oil refineries in Texas is for the benefit of Canadian exporters, not (except very indirectly) American consumers.  The tar sands production is being piped south to Texas because other Canadian provinces are unwilling to take the environmental risk of having it piped east or west.

In and of itself, anything that reduces the U.S. trade deficit is a good thing, not a bad thing.  We need to import things from abroad, and we need to pay for them with exports.  Now we pay a price for this, which we did not have to pay for oil exports from Texas in the 1950s.

The easy-to-get coal, oil and natural gas has been pretty much used up, and so we need hydraulic fracturing for natural gas, mountaintop removal to dig for coal, deep water drilling for oil and the Alberta tar sands to get at what fossil fuels are left.

All these methods involve risks to human health and the natural environment, but that’s a price that can’t be avoided until alternatives are found and energy consumption is reduced.

An advanced nation should not depend on exports of raw materials, and imports of high-tech manufacturing goods, but that is the U.S. situation today.





As the old saying goes, you can’t have your cake, and eat it too.

A nation can’t have reserves of fossil fuels, and burn them up or sell them all for export, too.

Hat tip to Bill Elwell for the cartoon.

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2 Responses to “Digging up our coal, oil and gas for export”

  1. b-psycho Says:

    This is why whenever the “drill here drill now!” nonsense is offered in response to energy price grumbles I propose throwing the advocate of such a curveball: accuse them of wanting to nationalize fossil fuel companies (because that’s the only way that claim has any grounding whatsoever, due to export trends you described).


  2. Holden Says:

    I don’t think we really care to find alternative energy sources. Take for example the global warming alarmists. They all seem to push for natural gas, which still emits CO-2.

    Why not nuclear, which is much more environmentally friendly?

    I think America’s future is ultimately to be an exporter of energy, especially since all these recent discoveries of fossil fuels in Utah.

    That would also explain why we’re so gung-ho against Russia here lately. We want to be the primary energy supplier to Europe. Kick the Ruskies out!


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