Liberate American Energy Producers, Neuter OPEC
July 25, 2007
Irvine, CA--A recent Reuters report quotes a top OPEC official declaring what price the cartel seeks to bring about: $60 to $65 per barrel, he says, is "appropriate."
"It is taken for granted," said Alex Epstein, a junior fellow at the Ayn Rand Institute, "that OPEC, a despicable cartel of tyrannical regimes that coercively limits their oil production to raise prices, can manipulate our energy future on a whim. But such a state of affairs is completely unnecessary; it is a product of U.S. environmental regulations that strangle domestic energy production.
"In a free energy market, the response of competing producers to OPEC-influenced high prices would be to eagerly cultivate new oil sources in America--such as the many untapped sources of oil in Alaska and on America's coastlines--and to vigorously seek to produce truly practical alternative sources of energy, such as coal, natural gas, and nuclear power. Such actions would drive oil and energy prices down, and with them OPEC's ability to manipulate prices.
"However, thanks to environmentalist policies, America's energy market is anything but free. In the name of preserving pristine nature at human expense, our government has rendered huge oil and natural gas deposits off-limits, has strangled coal production for decades, and has demonized and practically prohibited the pursuit of nuclear power.
"It is only because America has for decades throttled domestic energy producers that the looting dictators of OPEC continue to wield major influence over our energy supplies. It is time for America to liberate itself from the shackles of OPEC by liberating energy production from the shackles of environmentalist policies."
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Alex Epstein was a writer and a fellow on staff
at ARI between 2004 and 2011.