We have seen a wonderful discovery in our country – natural gas. The loosening of our tight supply has made us much less dependent on foreigners for energy and in the future, it will be the salvation of this country. We have more natural gas than any country on the planet. Fields and fields of it exceed Saudi Arabia and any other petroleum producing nation or regions, and we haven’t seen it all yet.
I know natural gas is cheap today and let’s face it, it won’t be that way forever. Power has a price and natural gas costs will rise to match other forms in time. But the fact that we won’t import it means it’s produced in our own economy and in the long range it will make a big difference in manufacturing, as well as, homeowners’ costs. Despite the administrations efforts to hold down drilling and exploration, we are moving on and it will benefit our children’s future too.
In the late 1970s, the government said we were running out of the natural gas that homeowners and industries needed. So electric producers switched to coal by pressure from the government – today the picture has turned. There are even natural gas stations over around Clinton, Ark. How soon that will be a reality is not obvious but they are ready to sell it.
People are talking about using natural gas for railroads and saving diesel for cars, trucks and tractors. The rails could very easily make the transition. It would be expensive to change fuels but may be a probable substitution.
Since the price for natural gas has fallen so low, the field of discovery has shifted from natural gas to oil. Big business now is working to find oil and it will be until supply drops the price down to $60 a barrel; they say that is the bottom price. I could stand that and I’m sure you could too if you own a car or pickup plus buy fuel for tractors and farm machinery.
In North Dakota, where the big discovery was made a few years ago, oil supplies are estimated to be larger than Saudi Arabia. There is so much boom there, they pay clerks up to $15 an hour and can’t find any. It is also under Montana and many ranchers up there smile when checks come in the mail in Big Sky Country.
If we open our pipelines, north to south, we might not need a drop of oil from Chavez. It’s a shame lawmakers can’t see that and instead feel the pressure to change to sun and wind. It needs to be looked at hard for as much as we pay to subsidize it considering the amount produced. There are several regions going to come in big in oil production and end this imported oil business.  One such area is the four corners area of New Mexico, Arizona, Utah and Colorado. It is looking bigger each day to developers.
I want to add one note. Before Congress the head of the Environmental Safety was asked if drilling had caused one case of leaking into any water supply. He testified saying, “No, not one case.” My case rests. God bless America.
Western novelist Dusty Richards and his wife Pat live on Beaver Lake in northwest Arkansas. For more information about his books you can email Dusty by visiting ozarksfn.com and clicking on ‘Contact Us’ or call 1-866-532-1960.


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