Energy makes the high standard of living most Americans enjoy possible. Affordable, reliable energy is the lifeblood of our economy. And as University of Texas Bureau of Economic Geology director Dr. Scott Tinker recently noted, “All forms of energy come from the earth.”
It is with those fundamental facts in mind that keep-it-in-the-ground groups should be viewed as anti-U.S. energy.
Though it’s obvious that traditional energy sources such as oil, natural gas and coal come from the ground, it is often overlooked that wind, solar and battery technologies would not be possible without massive mining projects.
So it is ironic that the same groups that are pushing government leaders to “transition” to 100 percent wind and solar vehemently oppose the domestic copper, cobalt, lithium and rare-earth-mineral mining needed for renewable-energy infrastructure.
It is because of well-funded campaigns by groups such as the Sierra Club and Earthworks that U.S. mineral mining is currently being “kept to a minimum,” to use the Sierra Club’s verbiage, and far below the levels needed to domestically source the type of “green” energy revolution these activists insist is needed.
Let that sink in for a moment: Not only do these groups advocate for the end of the United States’ oil, natural-gas and coal industries, they also effectively advocate that we be reliant on foreign nations for the renewable energy they argue can replace hydrocarbons.
Remarkably, the movement has gained traction on the policy front. So what happens if it ultimately proves successful?
China happens to enjoy a monopoly on rare-earth-mineral and cobalt mining and processing. Most renewable-energy infrastructure is manufactured in China. And the U.S. produces just 1.2 percent of the world’s lithium.
With no domestic supply chain to speak of, the keep-it-in-the-ground agenda is a recipe for the United States to not only be under China’s thumb for our renewable-energy needs but also returning to the days of being reliant on the Saudi Arabias and Russias of the world for the oil and natural gas that provide just under 70 percent of our energy needs. This is not sound policy by any objective measure.
The Department of Energy and virtually every other reputable source forecasts oil and natural gas remaining the country’s dominant source of energy for at least the next 30 years. A recent U.S. Energy Information Administration report notes, “Petroleum will remain the most-consumed fuel in the United States” through 2050.
President Joe Biden has even said “We’re not getting rid of fossil fuels for a long time,” and Interior Secretary Deb Haaland recently testified, “There’s no question that fossil energy does and will continue to play a major role in America for years to come.”
Clearly, we are going to need all forms of energy in massive quantities moving forward. So obviously, it is in the United States’ interest to produce as much energy here as possible. But keep-it-in-the-ground groups — as their moniker would suggest — continue to fight to keep all forms of U.S. energy in the ground.
Implementation of their agenda would quite simply destroy our hard-won energy security, lead to skyrocketing energy costs and leave us reliant on China, Saudi Arabia and Russia. The true “Big Oil” giants — the state-owned national oil companies in Saudi Arabia, Russia and China that already produce 73 percent of the world’s oil and natural gas and control 90 percent of the world’s proven reserves — would grab an even bigger market share.
Even worse, the keep-it-in-the-ground movement’s policies would at best lead to flat or even increasing domestic greenhouse-gas emissions by making domestically produced natural gas less available while also increasing global emissions by outsourcing even more manufacturing and processing to coal-reliant countries such as China.
Once thought of as a fringe movement, the keep-it-in-the-ground agenda has gained mainstream traction. With that should come some long-overdue scrutiny and the realization that these groups are, first and foremost, anti-American-energy advocates.