US energy independence -- for decades a seemingly unreachable strategic goal -- seems now tantalizingly almost within reach as hydrofracking and high oil prices bring into play oil and gas deposits once economically unfeasible. But the US will continue to import hydrocarbons from Canada and Mexico, and price corrections (much less depleting reserves) could snatch the boom from industry's hand. More to the point: should a nation whose political rhetoric uses "energy independence" to justify gifts to industry be preparing to export petroleum products and natural gas?
"TOWANDA, Pa. — Ever since Richard Nixon's 1973 promise to attain energy independence, successive U.S. presidents all have pledged the same goal, even as foreign supplies composed a larger and larger share of the U.S. energy mix.
Now, almost 40 years later, a measure of independence is within reach. But as this booming mountain town in northeastern Pennsylvania shows, the quest for independence involves both opportunities and trade-offs.
It may surprise Americans who've lived through many years of dependence on foreign fuels, but in less than a decade the United States could pass its 1970s peak as an oil and natural gas producer. If that happens — and many analysts think it's possible — the United States would edge past Saudi Arabia and Russia to become the world's top energy producer."