What is the value of untapped US fossil fuels to the US Treasury?October 18, 2012
The actual number is unknown, and will depend on the ultimate yield of a large number of wells over a long period of time. While the precise number is unknown, the region of possible values is known, and it is known to be immense. Four years ago, a bipartisan House bill known as the National Conservation, Environment and Energy Independence Act proposed lifting the ban on drilling most federal lands while dedicating a percentage of the taxes, royalties and fees generated to conservation programs and alternative energy research. At the time, it was estimated that drilling on the outer continental shelf and production in the western oil shale deposits would generate $2.6 trillion directly into the treasury.
The combined immense stores of carbon fuels in the United States are what I have so often referred to as the “fortune beneath our feet.” A dedicated drive to develop them – which would have to include serious protections for the environment – would reignite growth in the economy, correct the national balance sheet, and provide enormous strategic flexibility for our soldiers and diplomats. This is, inmy opinion, the most important difference between Obama and Romney in the current election cycle.
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Note: I will be off tomorrow; no new posts until Monday.