Oil crucial to security and economic health

Longtime oil executive and West Point alumnus Tim Felt made an election year plea on behalf of his industry Wednesday during an appearance at The American Legion's National Convention in Indianapolis. Felt's appeal followed the showing of a seven-minute video chronicling the vital importance of petroleum products to military forces, ours and our enemies', from World War I through today.

National Commander Fang A. Wong introduced the subject of Felt's talk. "For the last 40 years," Wong said, "America’s national security has been closely tied to the availability of foreign oil. Simply put, we’ve often had to purchase our energy from regimes and nations that don’t always have our best interests at heart. This is one of the reasons why The American Legion supports construction of the Keystone XL Pipeline. Not only would it provide needed jobs for veterans, it would reduce our dependency on Middle Eastern oil."

The crux of Felt's ten-minute address was an argument against restrictive U.S. energy policies. Felt asked, "Will the government support more development? Will it increase access to our nation's offshore supplies? Will it speed up oil and gas permitting? Will it build the necessary energy infrastructure like the Keystone XL pipeline?"

Felt added that he was pleased with the Legion’s stance on the issue. "I am really proud of the fact that the Legion supported that pipeline.”

"We can do two things that will support our country's vital interests," Felt said. "We can provide more jobs and (we can provide) better energy security. That's why we're a little bit disturbed about the Keystone XL Pipeline being stopped because it is the most shovel-ready, energy security-enhancing opportunity in the nation. It's a multi-billion dollar investment spanning five states that would provide much more friendly Canadian oil to the United States besides providing 20-thousand production jobs in the next couple of years plus hundreds of thousands more jobs down the road."

Felt then discussed restrictive regulations that threaten the exploitation of much needed natural gas sources and further regulate the production-enhancing practice of hydraulic fracturing, commonly known as "fracking", in the name of ecological stewardship. "Hydraulic fracturing may be the most exaggerated environmental issue in more than a decade,” Felt said.

He concluded: "We have the supplies and we have the technology. The choice is clear to me and I hope it's clear to you. We can produce more of the oil and gas we need (at home) investing billions more in our economy, putting more people to work and strengthening our position around the world. Or, we can let others outside of our country have a greater influence. Policy makers will make that decision. You and all Americans will soon decide who those policy makers will be. I urge you to make energy an election year issue. Join the conversation about energy. Advocate for policies you support and elect those who will make the law of the land as we need."