According to CNN, a 2016 report by an energy consulting firm concluded the U.S. has more untapped oil than any other country, including oil-rich Saudi Arabia and Russia:
Move over, Saudi Arabia and Russia. America now has more untapped oil than any other country on the planet. That’s according to a new report from Rystad Energy that estimates the U.S. is sitting on an incredible 264 billion barrels of oil reserves. It includes oil in existing fields, new projects, recent discoveries as well as projections in undiscovered fields.
It’s curious then why environmentalists are pushing to use other energy technologies that depend on materials from foreign countries at a time when America has achieved a great deal of energy independence.
So-called green energy technologies are built using exotic materials known as rare earth minerals, the production of which is dominated by China. From Foreign Policy:
In China, which mines 89 percent of global output, toxic wastes from rare-earth facilities have poisoned water, ruined farmlands, and made people sick. Beyond high-tech gadgets, rare earths play a critical role in national defense, enabling radar systems and guided missiles. Ironically, they also power clean-energy technologies, such as wind turbines and electric cars.
According to the U.S. Geological Survey, no rare earths were mined at all in the United States in 2016:
Rare earths were not mined domestically in 2016.
The journal Nature reported that researchers have anticipated the need for “greater environmental diplomacy” to assure access to rare earth deposits:
We anticipate a need for greater environmental diplomacy to assure access to mineral deposits which are irregularly distributed and often occur in areas of conflict.”
In his 2015 book The Elements of Power, author David S. Abraham wrote that China uses access to its rare earth minerals to attract foreign investment:
Beijing uses access to their rare metals as a way to attract foreign investment that will subsequently bring international technology to China. The central government wants to upgrade its businesses. In a sense, Beijing is modeling its industrial growth after Japan’s Hitachi Corporation – once a mining services company, now it’s one of the world’s largest technology companies.
So when America is estimated to have more oil than oil giants like Saudi Arabia, American environmentalists would like to shift to a energy technologies that depend on materials for which China has a near monopoly.