The International Energy Agency (IEA) released its Annual World Energy Outlook this week with the headline that the U.S. could become a net exporter of natural gas by 2020 and essentially energy independent by 2035.

This transformation is a direct result of the private-sector innovation and investments to develop new oil and gas extraction techniques such as horizontal drilling and hydraulic fracturing, which is allowing for a massive expansion of gas and oil recovery.

Given the strong safety record of these techniques and the massive economic potential they provide, it is regrettable that the Obama Administration continues to create barriers to expansion when the opportunity arises.

The most recent effort is the Interior Department’s November 9 announcement that it would keep 1.6 million acres of land in the American West off-limits to energy production. The plan limits oil shale research and development to 677,000 acres in Colorado, Utah, and Wyoming and oil sands R&D on 130,000 acres in Utah.

Read More:  The Foundry