When are we going to get serious about energy independence? On the Republican side, we have drill, drill drill. On the left, we have a planet with a fever. Both sides pay lip service to the national security threat we face because of our dependence on foreign oil. Yet, neither side is doing much about it.

I think it is fair to say that President Obama could use a win right about now. Here is one issue that could resuce his presidency from the abyss. (Ed. note, I hope he doesn’t read this!)

President Obama should adopt the Pickens Plan, or something similar, and run with it. Here’s how and why.

Domestic Source of Energy Makes America Safer by Reducing Its Dependence on Foreign Oil

In the past decade their has been an incredible amount of money spent and technology developed to find and produce natural gas resources here in the United States. Incredible innovation doen’t just happen in the information technology business. There are some amazing companies pioneering this development, including Apache, Chesepeake Energy, XTO, Devon, ConocoPhillips and many others. They have developed technology like Horizontal Drilling, which greatly expands the areas we can capture gas from,


The greens should be applauding the exploration and production companies for the technological advancements they have developed to increase production while at the same time reducing environmental impact. These kinds of technological advancements have led directly to an explosion of new gas finds and ultimately, proven reserves.

Potential Gas Committee reports unprecedented increase in magnitude of U.S. natural gas resource base

GOLDEN, Colo., June 18, 2009 – The Potential Gas Committee (PGC) today released the results of its latest biennial assessment of the nation’s natural gas resources, which indicates that the United States possesses a total resource base of 1,836 trillion cubic feet (Tcf). This is the highest resource evaluation in the Committee’s 44-year history. Most of the increase from the previous assessment arose from reevaluation of shale-gas plays in the Appalachian basin and in the Mid-Continent, Gulf Coast and Rocky Mountain areas.

We are siitng on an ocean of natural gas. So much in fact, that we are running out of room to store it! It’s a domestic energy source. How about announcing a plan to take advantage of this strategic asset? There are multiple applications, including converting coal fired power plants to natural gas, which can reduce harmful emissions by up to 70%. There is also a huge opportunity presented by, of all things, vehicles. How about announcing that we are converting the entire federal fleet of cars, Post Office inlcuded, to natural gas?

As Barron’s Magazine points out, there are already natural gas fleets out there, and “Boosters say a “gallon equivalent” of natural gas is about half the price of gasoline or diesel and produces about a third the harmful emissions. And America is swimming in the stuff.” Gee, tough sell politically, huh?

What do we have so far…a clean source or energy that we have in abundence here in America. Hmmm, what’s missing? How about a massive jobs program right in the heartland of America?


The job creation benefits of drilling alone are staggering. One of the hottest natural gas discoveries in recent years is the Marcellus Shale.

Massive Job Creation

“A study by Penn State University on the development of natural gas in the Marcellus Shale paints a bright future for the region both in terms of the economy and job creation. The gas industry pumped $3.8 billion into the state’s economy, generated more than 29,000 jobs and produced $240 million in state and local taxes in 2008, according to the study, titled “An Emerging Giant: Prospects and Economic Impacts of Developing Marcellus Shale Natural Gas Play.” Those numbers are expected to be $3.8 billion, $400 million in taxes and 48,000 jobs for 2009, it said.”

Beyond the exploration and production, there are the tens of thousands, if not hundreds of thousands, jobs that would be required to transition fleets and power plants to natural gas. As the Barron’s piece pointed out,

CNG vehicles in America face the same chicken-and-egg dilemma other hybrids do: building a refueling network. Refueling stations are scarce because only about 150,000 of America’s 250 million automobiles are CNG-powered…Operators of America’s long-haul trucks can afford natural-gas pumps in their shipping yards, and utilize Clean Energy’s growing network of 184 North America truck stops. The economic incentives are fairly obvious for these big energy users, less so for consumers paying a premium for CNG vehicles.

And then there is the Wind Farm component of the Pickens Plan and the jobs that would bring,

Any discussion of alternatives should begin with the 2007 Department of Energy study showing that building out our wind capacity in the Great Plains – from northern Texas to the Canadian border – would produce 138,000 new jobs in the first year, and more than 3.4 million new jobs over a ten-year period, while also producing as much as 20 percent of our needed electricity.

Natural gas is a domestic energy source we have in abudence, is cleaner than current energy sources and could create hundreds of thousands of good jobs for several decades. How much longer can we afford to ignore this domestic, clean energy source and job creation machine that is literally sitting under our feet?