Chris Faulkner: Protect America’s Energy Revolution (USAToday.com)

Congress should open the Treasury’s checkbook.

America’s energy revolution has forced OPEC into a desperate gamble.

Even though a global surplus of 2 million barrels a day has pushed crude to its lowest level in years, the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries has decided to try to drive the price lower.

The strategy will cost OPEC’s members billions of dollars. But the cartel hopes that low prices will cripple U.S. energy companies, thus knocking America down. Congress can’t let that happen.

To help U.S. producers stay in the game, lawmakers should start by lifting the ban on crude oil exports. This ban began in the 1970s, when a global energy crisis caused long lines at gas stations across the world. Today, of course, there’s a surplus of oil.

But Congress remains unwilling to allow the industry to participate in the global economy. So perhaps it’s time for traditional energy firms to demand the same subsidies paid out to their “alternative” counterparts such as wind and solar.

The U.S. oil and gas sector has surged in recent years thanks to the drilling technique known as “fracking.” Domestic oil production stands at its highest level in more than 30 years. During the past three years, oil and gas production grew faster in America than any other country in history.

This energy revolution has revitalized America’s economy, supporting 2 million jobs and increasing economic output by $283 billion. If OPEC succeeds in ending U.S. fracking operations, those gains will disappear.

Energy firms outside the oil and gas sector — such as wind, solar and biofuels — have long faced an even bigger challenge than OPEC: profitability. When compared with oil and gas, alternative sources of energy are tremendously costly and inefficient.

Without massive government support in the form of tax credits, tax breaks and research funding, few alternative energy firms could survive. Indeed, U.S. taxpayers spent $7.3 billion on tax subsidies for renewable energy in 2013.

Congress should open the Treasury’s checkbook to send the oil sheiks and tin-pot dictators of OPEC packing.

Opinion by: Chris Faulkner, CEO of Breitling Energy Corporation and author of the recent book, “The Fracking Truth.” He is also the producer of the documentary, “Breaking Free: The Shale Rock Revolution.”

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