Can America Be Energy Independent?

Fracking's Radioactive Dumping Ground

Fracking’s Radioactive Dumping Ground (Photo credit: Truthout.org)

The vision of an energy independent America has become a popular topic in the political arena.  It has become part of the President’s platform, while media pundits tempt us with this dream.  But can it actually happen?

Simply put, no. Unless the President decided to nationalize all of America’s energy companies, energy independence is something that could never exist in a free-market capitalist system. Yet we constantly hear about the plethora of energy options that big energy companies are moving forward to create an energy independent America.

It is one big marketing strategy to sell us this farcical dream of a patriotic, job creating, and independent energy industry.  We hear that this new energy will be clean and good for the environment, as well as affordable and abundant.  The irony is that this domestic energy boom has increased America’s participation in the global energy market, not reduced it.  Studies have shown that increased production has not historically resulted in lower energy prices.  The idea that these energy sources are clean and safe is beyond ridiculous.

Where the real debate should and does exist is around the question of whether these new energy sources are something we actually want; is it a necessary evil? Do the risks outweigh the benefits? Natural gas creates far less pollution than coal and oil.  However, fracking uses substantial amounts of water and often pollutes local water sources with chemicals, as countless videos attest.

What we need is an honest discussion of the pros and cons of developing these industries. We must decide how we actually want to move forward. Do we want to bite the bullet and go ahead with natural gas, increased oil production and so-called clean coal and ignore the possibly catastrophic environmental damage? Or do we want to charge ahead and wholeheartedly embrace the field of green energy and support the implementation of regulations to ensure responsible stewardship of our environment?  By having these honest conversations we can help decide what we really want the future of the American energy industry to look like.

 

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James McComas

I bring a background in researching and writing to the Campaign Consultation team for my role as Administrative and Project Assistant. Prior to joining Campaign Consultation, I was a research intern for BUS 52, a year-long project which sought out organizations and individuals across the continental United States who worked to positively change their communities in innovative ways. I also assisted a journalist researching climate change issues. Read more.

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