Keep pushing for energy independence

October 21, 2014

Tallahassee Democrat

Gen. Bill Hodgkins (retired) is a former Tyndall Air Force Base wing commander and now a volunteer co-chair of Vets4Energy in Florida (

Without much fanfare, the United States has now met its own domestic natural gas needs, while also becoming the world’s No. 1 exporter of natural gas. At the same time, Americans still consume far more oil than our currently available domestic resources can supply.

The gap in domestic oil requirements versus production is shrinking due to newly incorporated techniques, such as hydraulic fracturing and horizontal drilling, and these technological advances are allowing the United States to produce more oil than it has in more than a decade — an important impact to our economy and national security. However, significant areas of both federally controlled onshore and offshore resources remain closed to oil and gas exploration and production. To achieve energy independence and the benefits to the nation, these resources must be opened to development.

Recent industry estimates show that consumers could potentially save up to $5.8 billion in reduced fuel costs between 2015 and 2035 based on continued domestic crude production. By 2020, the nation could gain 300,000 new jobs, roughly 11,000 of them in Florida. The increase in local, state and federal tax revenue could be a significant factor in addressing shortfalls in areas such as education, health care and the nation’s transportation infrastructure.

Vets4Energy, a nationwide, nonpartisan organization of volunteer military veterans whose goal is to educate the public and advocate for sound energy policy decisions, believes officials in Washington and along the Gulf Coast need to strongly consider the facts about new drilling techniques and more sophisticated technologies that can contribute to the United States’ energy surge. Vets4Energy is engaged in this topic as it is clear that there is strong linkage between energy independence and national security.

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