Yet another energy story crosses our desk this morning which causes me to sigh and ask, “what the heck is wrong with our country?” Recognizing the necessity of energy independence in an area of the world far more volatile than our own, the nation of Israel has discovered vast reserves of natural gas and seems to be wasting no time in grabbing opportunity when it arises.
An explosion at an Egyptian gas terminal that disrupted the supply of fuel to Israel had Israeli officials pressing Sunday to speed development of a natural gas deposit that they say can make Israel energy independent.
At the same time, the turmoil in Egypt, which supplies up to half of the natural gas that Israel currently uses to power its electrical plants, has emphasized to Israelis the dangers of relying on other sources for fuel.
Israel’s Tamar field is said to contain about 8 trillion cubic meters of gas. In December, gas exploration companies led by U.S.-based Noble Energy announced that another deposit in Israeli waters, Leviathan, contained some 16 trillion cubic meters.
The finds — which Lebanon says, without providing proof, lie partly in Lebanese waters — are enough to keep Israel energy self-sufficient for decades, Israeli experts say.
Good for them. Of course, we’re sitting on massive reserves of natural gas here in the United States, only the government seems to be taking the opposite approach and hindering our efforts to capture and utilize it. Similarly, Canada and Alaska have large reserves, but the U.S. government is botching efforts to build the pipelines and other infrastructure required to take full advantage of it across all of North America.
Israel is quick to recognize that energy security is every bit as important to stability and security as all other elements of defense. It’s a lesson that a few people in Washington could use a refresher course on.