Right now, Europe would love nothing more than to stop Vladimir Putin from reassembling the old Evil Empire of the Soviet Union
But Putin has Europe cornered this winter. Russia supplies 36 percent of the natural gas consumed by Germans.
Twelve other European countries are even more dependent with the three Baltic states and Finland receiving all of their natural gas from Mother Russia. It is difficult to stand up to someone when you are shivering from the cold.
West Virginia can help. The U.S. Energy Information Agency estimates that West Virginia and its neighbors are sitting on 141 trillion cubic feet of natural gas in the Marcellus shale formation.
Surely some natural gas from West Virginia and other sources in the United States can be sold and shipped to Europe to end the Russian monopoly.
But federal law restricts exports of natural gas, as House Speaker John Boehner pointed out in a column in the Wall Street Journal.
“These policies have amounted to our nation imposing economic sanctions on itself — sentencing consumers in the U.S. and abroad to higher prices and slower growth while ceding the international energy marketplace to countries such as Russia, Venezuela and Iran,” Boehner wrote.
Exporting natural gas to Europe would benefit West Virginians. State government receives about $175 million a year in severance taxes from oil and gas. Increased sales abroad would increase those tax revenues. The state already exports more than $7 billion a year worth of coal.
Boehner called upon President Obama to approve the Keystone pipeline, lift his restrictions on oil and gas from federal lands and expedite applications to export liquefied natural gas.
Ending the Russian monopoly on natural gas throughout central and eastern Europe would allow those nations to be truly independent of Putin and Russia. Sales of natural gas from the United States to Europe would hurt Moscow in the pocketbook as half of Russian tax revenues come from oil and gas exports. The soft power of exporting energy would be far more effective than the current timid diplomacy displayed by Europe and Washington.
Drill, baby, drill — and make the world a safer and more peaceful place.
— Charleston (W.Va.) Daily Mail