|Eastern U.S. Marcellus Shale Fields|
Spindletop* made possible the mechanization of agriculture, which increased food production and dropped its price. Because the necessities of life cost less, we could spend more on what for ages past were luxuries only the rich could afford.
Buoyed by cheap food and cheap energy, the middle class grew in size and affluence. It's shrinking now, as Americans get squeezed between stagnant wages and rising prices for food and gas.
But in this dark hour comes an energy development that can revive our economy, restore upward mobility to the middle class and reduce the threat of Islamist terror.
This Spindletop-on-steroids is natural gas trapped in "black" shale, made accessible by hydraulic fracturing (fracking). The Marcellus Shale formation alone may contain 84 trillion cubic feet of recoverable natural gas, the U.S. Geological Survey said in August. That's up from the 2 tcf the survey had estimated in 2002.
Marcellus Shale added 44,000 jobs in Pennsylvania and 13,000 jobs in West Virginia in 2009, according to researchers at Penn State. Ohio could add more than 200,000 jobs in just four years, an industry group there estimated in September. Nationally, the direct and indirect gains in jobs are measured in millions.
We could be energy independent in less than a decade. Iran, Saudi Arabia and Russia stand to lose their geopolitical clout.
Nothing in this life is all gain and no pain, but shale gas comes as close as anything ever has. So why are many Democrats trying to strangle Spindletop II in its crib?
The EIA's figures make it clear why "renewable" energy firms like Solyndra go bust despite massive subsidies. So President Barack Obama is trying to jack up the price of energy to make solar and wind seem less outrageously expensive.
"Under my plan of a cap and trade system, electricity rates would necessarily skyrocket," Mr. Obama told the editorial board of the San Francisco Chronicle in 2008.
A few politically connected people, such as Solyndra's George Kaiser, have made millions from "green" energy subsidies and mandates. They, in turn, give lots of money to Democrats.
Shale gas undermines this backscratching. Abundant, safe, inexpensive and environmentally friendly, it destroys the arguments for wind and solar power.
Read the whole thing.
Oh, and if you are worked up about the water issues involved in fracking, see here for info on an invention that may solve that issue.
*Spindletop was the original big oil gusher in Texas that ushered in the age of oil.