Can the U.S. Replace the Middle East as the World’s Top Energy Producer?

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Source: Getty Images

Source: Getty Images

The revitalization of the energy industry over the past few years has been instrumental in the rebuilding of the economy. As Americans felt the crunch from the financial crisis and recession, many people were able to head to the west and Midwest to find work in the booming natural gas and oil production fields, both of which had seen a lull over the past couple of decades. But recent access to shale formations across the country — from the northeast all the way out to North Dakota and Texas — have ushered in a new and prosperous age of energy production.

Traditionally, the U.S. has imported great amounts of its petroleum from foreign sources, namely Canada, Mexico, Venezuela, and the Middle Eastern OPEC countries. This has led to many issues over the years, from international hostilities to terrorist attacks, and continues to be a major problem in terms of using violence to secure American national interests abroad. The fact is, securing access to cheap and plentiful crude oil has been one of the most important items on America’s to-do list for decades, and billions — if not trillions —  of dollars have been spent over the years to ensure America keeps its interests intact.

But things seem to be on a different path as of late, particularly when it comes to energy policy. More and more, people are increasingly becoming aware of the negative effects of American energy policy, and public opinion is shifting toward an attitude that wants less waste and more reliance on domestic sources. There’s also been a large push toward renewables and green technologies, including wind and solar, and away from traditional fossil fuels like coal and petroleum.

But the recent boom in natural gas and oil production has put a lot of money in the pockets of energy companies, state and local governments, and has also supplied a lot of jobs to needy Americans, making a big portion of the public sympathetic to the industry.

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