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Energy independence: Don't blow it

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Friday, Nov. 16, 2012, 8:56 p.m.

The shale-fracking revolution has the United States on track to become the world's largest oil producer and on the verge of its longtime goal of energy independence — if the Obama administration will just stay out of the way.

A new International Energy Agency (IEA) report projects that America will supplant Saudi Arabia as No. 1 in oil production by about 2020, with North America as a whole becoming a net oil exporter as soon as 2030.

With America now importing about 45 percent of its oil and about 20 percent of its energy needs, the IEA says, that would be a “dramatic reversal of the trend seen in most energy-importing countries.” But that “dramatic reversal” won't happen if the Obama administration insists on pursuing policies that make domestic oil and gas extraction less profitable.

It must resist environmentalist supporters' calls for carbon taxes, cap-and-trade legislation, rules against drilling on public lands, anti-fracking laws and opposition to the Keystone XL pipeline. The Obama White House's love for winner-picking, taxpayer-funded “green” energy boondoggles doesn't help, either.

Proven, safe and economically sensible technologies for shale oil and gas extraction present an opportunity to strengthen America in a way unthinkable not long ago. If the Obama administration prevents U.S. energy independence, its policies will cost this nation dearly by weakening it immeasurably.

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