An energy revolution is underway. The game-changing technologies that have emerged involve hydrocarbons: natural gas, oil, and coal. Major advances have been made in locating and extracting resources—such as horizontal drilling and fracking—and operating in more distant and hostile environments.
Falling energy prices have benefited manufacturers as well as consumers. Moreover, exports of coal, liquid natural gas, natural gas liquids, and petroleum products have grown substantially, turning Americans into major traders.
Even more could be done if Washington stopped implementing policies which have evolved unintentionally to become complex, overreaching, and often capricious. The government should expand access to federal lands and waters and free producers to make best use of what they extract.
Despite Washington’s persistent fixation on energy “independence,” the marketplace is international. Supplies and prices are determined globally. Selective boycotts don’t work because oil and natural gas can be resold at will.