U.S. energy dependence aids nation's security

January 8, 2017

Nic Porta is a veteran of U.S. Coast Guard, and volunteer chairman for Vets4Energy.

As a veteran, I am proud of my years in service to our nation. During my 10 years as an officer in the U.S. Coast Guard, I observed some unsettling events, specifically while conducting counter drug patrols where the nexus between narcotics and heavily armed foreign nationals was apparent. Most troubling as a vet, however, is the continued U.S. reliance on petroleum from Middle Eastern nations, which indirectly supports terrorist institutions.

Although oil and gas fuel our American lifestyle, when we buy petroleum from Middle Eastern nations, we also fund those that bring us jihad and terrorism. If the gasoline you fill your car with originated in the Middle East, you may have indirectly paid for a bullet fired at a loved one serving overseas, or a missile launched from shore at a Navy destroyer on patrol, or the internet access a violent extremist uses to recruit members here at home. Recent headlines in the New York Times clearly demonstrated a connection between Saudi Arabia, the Taliban and the Pakistani government (Gall, Dec. 6, 2016). When we are attacked, and our bravest respond - they will need oil and gas to fuel their jets, tanks and ships. We must change, and we can do something about it.

Our nation has made incredible strides with regards to energy development. The U.S. is a legitimate energy superpower, as we produce roughly the same amount of petroleum as many OPEC nations and Russia. This incredible development gives the U.S. a significant advantage both economically and militarily. By utilizing the relatively new combination of old techniques - horizontal drilling and hydraulic fracturing - energy independence is attainable. For the American way of life and its preservation, continued U.S. energy development is imperative.

Our next step toward U.S. energy development and energy independence is to support the oil and gas industry with common sense expansion of infrastructure, including proposed pipelines that transport oil and natural gas. Although some sceptics have criticized expansion of infrastructure (such as pipelines), it actually presents a safer alternative opposed to transporting crude oil by train or ship, which is a common practice and can result in environmental disaster when accidents occur. One such recent incident involved a 109-car train derailment that occurred during a snowstorm in Mount Carbon, West Virginia, on Feb. 16, 2015. The cargo was Bakken crude, which was being shipped from North Dakota to Virginia. A simple broken rail had expanded - and ultimately caused an accident that resulted in 20 cars spilling crude...

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