Why Energy Independence Matters

The Washington Times posted an article today about Iranian military exercises in the Straits of Hormuz. The Straits of Hormuz is significant because 35% of all seaborne traded oil, or almost 20% of oil traded worldwide flows through the Straits of Hormuz. This is something to watch as the situation in Iran becomes more volatile.

This is today’s Dry Bones cartoon:

The Washington Times reports:

Iran’s navy sent dozens of small boats into the Strait of Hormuz on Thursday, dramatizing its ability to choke off the strategic Persian Gulf waterway — a move that could send global oil and U.S. gasoline prices soaring — and escalating the confrontation with the Trump administration for withdrawing from the 2015 nuclear deal.

U.S. officials said the naval exercise was Tehran’s way to show its capability to create a disruption in the waterway, through which some 30 percent of the world’s sea-transported oil passes daily. Officials at the Pentagon said they expected the exercise would last only a few hours, although it was unclear Thursday night whether it had ended.

“We are monitoring it closely, and will continue to work with our partners to ensure freedom of navigation and free flow of commerce,” said a statement by Navy Capt. Bill Urban, U.S. Central Command spokesman.

The development marked Iran’s latest escalation in response to Mr. Trump’s promise to begin reimposing harsh economic sanctions in the coming days that were suspended under the 2015 deal. One Pentagon source said the unexpected Iranian navy moves were meant to hammer home Tehran’s rejection of President Trump’s offer this week for direct, unconditional talks with Iranian President Hassan Rouhani.

The article details the unrest in Iran:

It is an increasingly delicate moment for Mr. Rouhani, who faces protests in Iran over the nation’s struggling economy, weak growth and declining currency.

The Rouhani government has been rocked by a string of protests in cities across the country over the failing currency, mismanagement and investor fears of U.S. sanctions, the first wave of which is set to begin Tuesday. The Trump administration is pressuring Iran’s other trading partners in Europe and elsewhere to curb trade and investment ties as well.

A report by the official IRNA news agency said about 100 people took to the streets Thursday in the northern city of Sari and that demonstrations broke out in at least three other cities. The agency reported that none of the protests had official permission and all were broken up by police.

Iranian dissident groups abroad have detailed multiple demonstrations in recent days, with harsh police crackdowns in response. The Associated Press cited videos circulating on social media purporting to show dozens of demonstrators setting fire to police vehicles and shouting “death to the dictator.” The authenticity of the videos could not immediately be verified.

One way for a dictator to unite his people is to unite them against a common enemy. This may or may not work in Iran since many of the younger people in the country are more inclined toward western ideas than the ideas of the mullahs.

The article concludes:

“Any disruption of oil supplies in the Persian Gulf would be a major threat to the global economy and would hurt U.S. trading partners, thereby damaging the U.S. economy,” said Amy Myers Jaffe, who heads the Program on Energy Security and Climate Change at the Council on Foreign Relations.

U.S. domestic oil and gas production and export increases in recent years “have not reduced the U.S. need to police the free flow of oil from the Middle East,” Ms. Myers Jaffe wrote in an analysis for the think tank this week. “An oil price rise due to the loss of supply in one part of the world is reflected in U.S. price levels as well all other locations across the globe.”

Rockford Weitz, who heads the Fletcher Maritime Studies Program at Tufts University, said that in the Strait of Hormuz, Iran “could damage commercial shipping with relatively cheap anti-ship missiles, fast patrol boats, submarines and mines.

“Even threats and modest disruption to commercial shipping could trigger economic damage in the form of higher marine insurance rates, crude oil supply concerns and unsettled stock markets,” Mr. Weitz wrote in an analysis published by Tufts last month.

We live in a fragile world–keep praying.

Russian Collusion Is Real–Just Not Where Robert Mueller Is Looking

The Daily Signal posted an article today about the collusion between Russia and some popular environmental groups in America.

The article reports:

New Yorkers who are missing out on the natural gas revolution could be victims of Russian spy operations that fund popular environmental groups, current and former U.S. government officials and experts on Russia worry.

Natural gas development of the celebrated Marcellus Shale deposits has spurred jobs and other economic growth in neighboring Pennsylvania. But not in New York, which nearly 10 years ago banned the process of hydraulic fracturing, also known as fracking, to produce natural gas.

Two environmental advocacy groups that successfully lobbied against fracking in New York each received more than $10 million in grants from a foundation in California that got financial support from a Bermuda company congressional investigators linked to the Russians, public documents show.

The environmental groups Natural Resources Defense Council and the Sierra Club Foundation millions of dollars in grants from the San Francisco-based Sea Change Foundation.

 “Follow the money trail, and this [New York] ban on fracking could be viewed as an example of successful Russian espionage,” Ken Stiles, a CIA veteran of 29 years who now teaches at Virginia Tech, told The Daily Signal.

The article explains why the Russians would be concerned about energy development in America:

Since the U.S. is now the top producer of natural gas in the world, and well positioned to export liquefied natural gas across the globe, Russia recognizes it gradually could lose influence in parts of the world where Moscow has been the dominant supplier of oil and gas, Stiles said in a phone interview.

“America’s natural gas revolution has huge geopolitical ramifications, so Russia’s motivation to try to block our natural gas development is easy to understand,” the CIA veteran said. “If you are worried about the Russian bear rearing its ugly head in the next several years, the way to stop that and put it back into its cage is to cut it off at the knees financially.”

“That’s what natural gas pipelines are all about and that’s what fracking is all about. We are providing affordable energy to average Americans at home and our allies overseas.”

The Russian economy depends on higher oil prices. Russia also uses energy to blackmail European countries into cooperation. America’s development of its own natural resources is a necessary balance to the Russian use of energy as a blackmail tool.

 

What World Is He Living In?

This is part of the transcript from the speech President Obama gave to the graduating cadets at West Point:

Four and a half years later, as you graduate, the landscape has changed. We have removed our troops from Iraq. We are winding down our war in Afghanistan. Al-Qaida’s leadership on the border region between Pakistan and Afghanistan has been decimated, and Osama bin Laden is no more. (Cheers, applause.) And through it all, we’ve refocused our investments in what has always been a key source of American strength: a growing economy that can provide opportunity for everybody who’s willing to work hard and take responsibility here at home.

In fact, by most measures America has rarely been stronger relative to the rest of the world. Those who argue otherwise — who suggest that America is in decline or has seen its global leadership slip away — are either misreading history or engaged in partisan politics.

Think about it. Our military has no peer. The odds of a direct threat against us by any nation are low, and do not come close to the dangers we faced during the Cold War. Meanwhile, our economy remains the most dynamic on Earth, our businesses the most innovative. Each year, we grow more energy independent. From Europe to Asia, we are the hub of alliances unrivaled in the history of nations.

I will admit that I am very partisan, but that is not why I believe that America’s global leadership is slipping away. We have an American marine in prison in Mexico because he made a wrong turn. We have an American pastor in prison in Iraq because he is a Christian while his wife is in America. If America were stronger, both of these people would be at home in America.

American energy independence will be achieved despite the government, not because of it. The Obama Administration has blocked oil exploration on federal land. The Obama Administration has also blocked construction of the Keystone Pipeline. The administration has spent millions of dollars investing in technology that has not yet been proven to work. The Obama Administration is a roadblock to energy independence–not a facilitator.

This is the link to a transcript of the speech. Please read the whole speech and draw your own conclusions.

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Something To Think About As Gas Prices Climb

Part of the cause of the rise in gasoline prices is increased tension in the Middle East. Part of the rise is caused by the fact that America is not energy independent and we are at the mercy of things we can’t control. One of the ways to solve that problem would be to become energy independent. Alternative energy may be part of that solution, but right now the technology is such that more carbon-based energy is the current answer. The Keystone Pipeline would have helped and more hydraulic fracturing (fracking) has helped. However, there is a movement among the radical environmentalists to shut down fracking. That movement is not based on scientific evidence.

Hot Air posted a story today about a university study on fracking.

The article reports:

The hydraulic fracturing of shale formations to develop natural gas has no direct connection to groundwater contamination, according to a study released Feb. 16 by the Energy Institute at the University of Texas at Austin.

The study reported that many problems blamed on hydraulic fracturing are related to processes common to all oil and gas drilling operations, such as casing failures or poor cement jobs.

University researchers also concluded that many reports of contamination can be traced to above-ground spills or other mishandling of wastewater produced from shale gas drilling, rather than from hydraulic fracturing, Charles “Chip” Groat, an Energy Institute associate director, said in a statement.

“These problems are not unique to hydraulic fracturing,” he said.

The article also points out that fracking takes place hundreds, if not thousands, of feet below the aquifer. Hydrocarbons are naturally found in the water in areas where there is a high presence of shale oil–that’s why they drill there! The development of shale oil resources in America will provide jobs (the current unemployment rate in North Dakota is 3.3%) and move us toward energy independence. If the technology in green energy moves forward, that would be wonderful, but it isn’t there yet.

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