Independence Day 2022 will have come and gone and our politicians from both parties and multiple viewpoints will be expounding platitudes and lamentations on what is meant to be independent. The world reels in arguments, regarding ongoing wars, immigration, climate change, and energy usage on a global scale. Here in the Unites States we are divided by disagreements over border security, rights of choice, wild fires, state rights, inflation and gasoline prices and the future sources of reliable energy.
Reflecting back there is a convincing argument that for decades energy independence has been more rhetoric that substance and continues to be given essentially lip service. Unfortunately realities are lost in sound bites and wishful thinking. As stated western Pennsylvania lies in the heart of the Utica and Marcellus Shale natural gas deposits and represents an opportunity of being the keystone for the next several decades US energy independence.
The pathway to energy independence, will take collaborative effort between government and industry. It needs to be realistic, affordable and reliable. However for the last twenty years both political parties have claimed the banner but have not made the hard choices to achieve the goal. One side embraces a skewed so called free market system that should dictate policy. The other side espouses a green energy revolution that will be a miracle cure all for the country energy needs.
Two weeks ago Toby Rice the CEO of EQT corporation spoke at The DUG East gas conference in Pittsburgh, setting forth an energy strategy to unlock shale gas and be the foundation of US energy leadership on a global scale. He sees the development of Liquid Natural gas as a tangible and viable way to reduce carbon emissions on a global scale and guarantee reliable energy as transitions are made to a more renewable focused energy landscape.
Mr. Rice is not the first to speak in such an ambitious tone. In November 2011 at the DUG East Conference T. Boone Pickens advanced the Pickens Plan for U.S. energy independence and clean energy from natural gas. As keynote speaker he encouraging at that time the Obama administration to embrace natural gas and proposed conversions of long haul truck fleets from diesel to natural gas. Such a transformation would have greatly reduced dependence on foreign oil and revitalized major segments of the domestic economy. Obama’s terms came and went with the Democrats speaking of going electric. Trumps administration was more focused on oil than gas and got sidestepped by Global Oil, Putin and Saudi politics and sidetracked by CO-VID. The current Biden administration is absolutely dismal in articulating and executing a cohesive and comprehensive strategy. Biden’s Secretary of Energy Jennifer Granholm visited western Pennsylvania this past week speaking at the opening of a solar panel components manufacturing of a former Bethlehem steel facility in Leetsdale, she waffled on explaining high gasoline prices, talked of not placating the oil dictators, and basically saying relief is coming by years end. After a number of Biden’s poison pills aimed at fossil fuels she also claimed talks with the domestic oil producers are in a word constructive. So as Independence Day comes and goes are we just biding time?