Why should the United States be one of Brazil's 'best customers' when we need to increase reliance on our own resources?
Americans are feeling the pain of spiking gas prices, and the unrest spreading through the Middle East seems to point to even higher costs at the pump.
Last month President Obama made a hopeful declaration: "We want to help you with the technology and support to develop these oil reserves safely, and when you're ready to start selling, we want to be one of your best customers."
Sadly, the president's words weren't offered to developers in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge (ANWR) where 30 to 50 years of oil may be available. They weren't offered to developers of the vast shale deposits in the Rocky Mountains, which are estimated to contain three times more oil than Saudi Arabia.
And they weren't offered to the dozens of companies that have applied for Gulf Coast drilling permits that are awaiting federal review. Many have had their hands tied for the year since the Deepwater Horizon spill.
No, Obama gave his enthusiastic support for drilling to Brazil.
Why should the United States be one of Brazil's "best customers" when we need to increase reliance on our own resources? If an all-of-the above energy plan was encouraged here, we could create numerous, high-paying jobs and move our economy forward.
For example, nearly three-quarters of a million jobs could be created if just the northern coast of ANWR were opened to exploration.
In his State of the Union address, Obama said 80 percent of our energy must come from so-called clean sources. How much money will the taxpayer have to pay to subsidize green energy sources like solar, biomass, wave and wind power?
I'm worried about the impact this will have on our deficit, since we know green jobs cannot stand by themselves.
A 2009 study from Spain showed that for every green job, at least 2.2 jobs were lost in other industries. Gabriel Calzada, an economics professor from King Juan Carlos University and author of the report, found a $774,000 cost for each Spanish green job created since 2000.
Last month Verso Economics released a similar study on the United Kingdom which showed that 3.7 jobs were lost for every green job created.
Oil production can create dependable jobs in the United States if given the chance. Too bad Obama has said "no" to American energy production.
There has been no urgency from the administration to grant offshore oil drilling permits. Seventy-seven oil leases in Utah alone are ready to move forward on production.
Gas was $1.83 the day before Obama took office. Now the national average is $3.84 and trending upwards.
Energy production must be opened up to American producers willing to invest in domestic resources. We can and must wean ourselves off foreign oil from the Middle East.
The United States can be its own best energy customer.
Michele Bachmann represents Minnesota's Sixth District in the U.S. House.
* * *
The Opinion section is produced by the Editorial Department to foster discussion about key issues. The Editorial Board represents the institutional voice of the Star Tribune and operates independently of the newsroom.