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How President Obama is moving us toward oil independence

President Obama is dedicated to moving America toward a more energy-independent future—one that not only protects our environment but also creates jobs. As part of his all-of-the-above energy plan, the President has encouraged responsible domestic oil production to lessen America’s dependence on foreign oil.

Thanks in part to this focus, the nation’s reliance on foreign oil hit a 20-year low in the first part of this year. In fact, energy analysts predict that “America will halve its reliance on Middle East oil by the end of this decade and could end it completely by 2035.” The Wall Street Journal reports:

By 2020, nearly half of the crude oil America consumes will be produced at home, while 82% will come from this side of the Atlantic, according to the U.S. Energy Information Administration. By 2035, oil shipments from the Middle East to North America “could almost be nonexistent,” the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries recently predicted, partly because more efficient car engines and a growing supply of renewable fuel will help curb demand.

The change achieves a long-sought goal of U.S. policy-making: to draw more oil from nearby, stable sources and less from a volatile region half a world away. “Whereas at one point there were real and serious concerns about the ability to maintain sustainable access of supplies to the United States if there were disruptions in the Middle East, that has changed,” Carlos Pascual, the top energy official at the State Department, said in an interview.

Here are just a few of the ways President Obama has helped bring us to this point:

  • Opened millions of acres for oil and gas exploration off U.S. coasts: In 2011, the Obama administration offered 21 million acres in the Gulf of Mexico for oil and gas leasing, and in June 2012 held a lease sale for 39 million acres in the Gulf.

  • Held onshore oil and gas lease sales: In 2011 alone, the Obama administration held 32 onshore oil and gas lease sales covering nearly 4 million acres, and has offered more than 3 million acres for leasing in the first quarter of 2012.

  • Increased domestic oil production: Under President Obama, the number of oil rigs in operation in the U.S. quadrupled in the past three years alone. Domestic oil production is now at its highest level in 14 years.

As President Obama has said, the Republican plan to drill and “keep drilling” is “not a plan, especially since we’re already drilling. That’s a bumper sticker. It’s not a strategy to solve our energy challenge.” The President’s strategy has helped put America on the path to an energy-independent future.