Op-Ed

Want to fight ISIS? Expand US fracking

A fracking operation near Tilden, Texas
A fracking operation near Tilden, Texas The Washington Post

Over the past half century, groups bent on ideological domination have intentionally murdered unarmed civilians, including pregnant woman and children, using among other things suicide bombers. Those are true acts of terrorism.

I find it distasteful and dishonest when environmental extremists attack energy technologies by referring to them as “terrorism.” Such is the case with hydraulic fracturing or fracking. What I find truly repugnant are the politicians whose periodic security and economic briefings inform them of the benefits of fracking yet who remain silent or encourage the branding of an energy technology, equating it with the slaughter of innocents.

Fracking is helping to defeat terrorism. Our politicians have been told that fracking is reducing the price of oil. By making global oil prices lower, fracking is hurting ISIS and other terrorist groups that are known to sell the oil they have captured on the black market to fund their activities, or receive funding from oil exporting nations.

Congress and the president know when the supply of oil is high, outstripping demand, the price falls. Such is the case today. In the past few months, the U.S. benchmark price of crude oil has fallen from above $50 a barrel to below $40. When oil prices were high at $100 a barrel or more and supply was lower, governments desperate for oil were incentivized to purchase it from terrorists.

Today’s low oil price puts less money in the hands of terrorists to fund their goal of fear and destruction. One can only imagine how much worse terrorism would be if oil still exceeded $100 a barrel. Clearly fracking is an economic weapon making America more secure.

It also makes our economy stable. By using fracking to produce more of our own plentiful oil and natural gas, the United States is less dependent on politically unstable countries, such as Nigeria and Venezuela. In 2009 the United States produced 5.2 million barrels of oil a day; by the early part of 2015 that number had risen to 9.6 million barrels of oil per day.

Could the United States produce even more domestic oil and end imports from unstable nations altogether? Yes. Due to advanced technologies such as fracking, the nation could produce significantly more oil. But the right policies would have to be enacted.

The government would need to open more federal land to oil and natural gas production. During the Obama administration, millions of acres of federally owned land have been made off-limits to drillers, through outright bans or punitive fees and taxes.

Redundant and unnecessary regulations should be repealed. The United States does not need federal regulations over fracking; the technology already is regulated by the states.

The U.S. government should reconsider the Keystone XL pipeline. By completing the pipeline, an additional 830,000 barrels of oil per day could be brought to the marketplace. Imagine with that additional amount of oil on the market, how much cheaper energy could be. Pipelines are the safest way to move oil and gas, and to America’s benefit, the safest way is also the cheapest way.

It’s time to choose between the politicians: those who wish to encourage greater energy production, lower energy prices and increased wealth for the people or those who call for higher taxes, greater financial burdens and aid in the funding of the death of innocents.

The U.S. has the ability to fight terrorism through oil. Perhaps the next president will have the drive to do it.

Mark Cares of Bear Creek has worked on a fracking crew and is the stakeout crew chief for a company that builds solar farms.

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