I don’t buy in to the school of thought that the United States need be a necessarily energy-independent nation — especially not if that’s supposed to entail that we pour tons of cash down the tubes in the foolish attempt to center our energy infrastructure around wind, solar, etcetera. I think we need to just stop taking ourselves out of the game through scant permitting and uncertainty-inducing regulatory schemes — and increased energy security will naturally follow suit. There’s lots of wealth to be made in the energy sector, and not only do Americans want to get in on the economic action, but we’ve got abundant enough resources to do it, too.

Thanks to the efficient, innovation-encouraging mechanisms of the free market, it looks like ending our reliance on oil from the Middle East could be a very real possibility.

America will halve its reliance on Middle East oil by the end of this decade and could end it completely by 2035 due to declining demand and the rapid growth of new petroleum sources in the Western Hemisphere, energy analysts now anticipate.

The shift, a result of technological advances that are unlocking new sources of oil in shale-rock formations, oil sands and deep beneath the ocean floor, carries profound consequences for the U.S. economy and energy security. …

By 2020, nearly half of the crude oil America consumes will be produced at home, while 82% will come from this side of the Atlantic, according to the U.S. Energy Information Administration. By 2035, oil shipments from the Middle East to North America “could almost be nonexistent,” the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries recently predicted, partly because more efficient car engines and a growing supply of renewable fuel will help curb demand.

The change achieves a long-sought goal of U.S. policy-making: to draw more oil from nearby, stable sources and less from a volatile region half a world away. …

Team Obama is fond of throwing around misleading statistics like, “We consume 20 percent of the world’s oil, but only have 2 percent of the world’s oil reserves” — but to anyone who knows anything about oil, that just sounds really dumb. That statement assumes finite proven reserves, except that our proven reserves are expanding all the time. Not only do we continually discover new and deeper deposits, but we’re continually developing better technology that makes previously unobtainable oil suddenly available for extraction.

As the above article describes, hydraulic fracturing (a.k.a. “fracking) has been a huge part of that technological advancement — which makes it really comforting that the Obama administration is using dubious claims of possible environmental calamities as an excuse to start regulating the heck out of fracking, doesn’t it?