In an ideal world, Congress and President Barack Obama would smooth the path to the development of the United States' substantial supplies of oil and natural gas. That would reduce our dependence on foreign oil, and it would lower gasoline prices. At the same time, it would helpfully reduce the flow of oil revenue into unstable, radical foreign governments such as those in Iran, Saudi Arabia and Venezuela.
But we do not live in an ideal world. Despite the United States' record of safe oil production in places such as Alaska, Democrats in Congress and President Obama have placed much of our domestic energy supply off limits to exploration, for unjustified environmental reasons. That leaves us to some degree at the mercy of anti-American oil-supplying countries -- which may not have the same environmental safeguards in oil production that we have.
And now, a big part of even our foreign oil supplies may be in jeopardy as well. Responding to sanctions over its nuclear weapons production, Iran is threatening to shut down traffic in the Strait of Hormuz, a vital waterway through which about 40 percent of all the oil that travels by sea is shipped.
The U.S. Navy will no doubt be able to keep the strait open, but Iran's saber-rattling is making oil prices soar, resulting in higher gasoline prices in the United States and elsewhere. Iran's actions are also worsening instability in the region.
So, Washington is unwilling to let our nation fully tap our own energy supplies, and we also face a threat to much of the oil we get from the Middle East.
What makes that situation even more painfully ironic is that the Obama administration also has needlessly postponed -- and may reject outright -- the construction of a job-creating, 1,700-mile pipeline to bring lots of oil from friendly Canada to refineries along the U.S. Gulf Coast. That pipeline would be the next best thing to producing our own oil, and it's clearly better than depending on the Middle East.
The project has been through years of review and multiple studies on its possible environmental impact, and there is no reason to think it cannot be built and operated safely as it winds mostly through sparsely populated parts of our nation. Yet to appease the environmental extremists who support him, the president is standing in the way of construction of the pipeline, which could create 20,000 U.S. jobs.
The United States' need for energy is not going to diminish but increase, and unemployment is far too high. Yet the president is blocking both domestic energy production and job creation. That is beyond frustrating.