The People of America's Oil and Natural Gas Indusry

Shale = Bright U.S. Energy Future

Mary Leshper

Mary Schaper
Posted October 28, 2014

Fracking Has Changed the Energy Policy Debate

Real Clear Politics: Few policy objectives over the last half-century have proven as tantalizing for presidents as the call to achieve energy independence.

In 1973 -- as a gasoline shortage consumed the nation -- President Richard Nixon outlined Project Independence 1980, “a series of plans and goals set to insure that by the end of this decade, Americans will not have to rely on any source of energy beyond our own.” Gerald Ford, in his 1975 State of the Union address, called for “a massive program” to ease demand and increase supply “to achieve the independence we want by 1985.” Jimmy Carter, more modestly, aimed for the United States to cut its dependence on foreign oil by half by the end of the 1980s.

Ronald Reagan, George H.W. Bush, Bill Clinton, George W. Bush, and Barack Obama all set similar goals at different points in their presidential campaigns or presidencies. Typically, their political opponents did too. Little serious progress toward those goals was achieved during most of their terms in office.

And now -- after more than 40 years of promises, programs, and extended deadlines -- the United States is on the verge of producing more energy than it consumes. Some programs, such as new fuel-efficiency standards for cars and trucks, help. But the greatest force behind the changing energy landscape is more technological than political.

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Mary Schaper is a Digital Communications Manager for the American Petroleum Institute. She previously worked on Capitol Hill for the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee as Digital Director and for Senator Lisa Murkowski. Before coming to D.C., she spearheaded digital strategy for Murkowski's successful Senate write-in campaign in 2010. Schaper enjoys traveling and taking in the local culture alongside her husband, their son and loyal springer spaniel.