Daniel Kish is the senior vice president for policy at the Institute for Energy Research.
One pervasive myth about domestic energy production is that America is running out of energy. We are told that we must use wildly expensive and unreliable sources of energy such as wind, solar, and biofuel because someday we could run out of coal, oil, or natural gas. The reality is that the United States has incredibly vast coal, oil, and natural gas resources as is documented in our recently released report.
How vast are these resources? Here are some numbers:
Natural Gas Resources
The United States, and North America as a whole, is not energy poor. Instead, we are abundantly rich in energy resources. But much of these resources are on federal lands, and the federal government is very stingy with energy production. Only 3 percent of all federal areas are leased for energy production. According to a recent study, we could create more than 1 million jobs if the federal government allowed greater access to these taxpayer-owned resources.
On private and state lands, oil and natural gas production is growing, even as production on federal lands has decreased. Oil production on private and state lands in North Dakota has created an economic miracle. While much of the country muddles through tough economic times, unemployment in North Dakota is the lowest in the nation at 3.5 percent, and the state's GDP grew by a substantial 7.9 percent last year. This economic progress could be realized in many places around the country if the federal government allowed more energy production.
For more information, as well as a complete explanation of the numbers and graphs presented above, check out our new report cataloging our North American oil, natural gas, and coal resources.