Declaring energy independence for a brighter future

It is time to make history by changing history. For more than 40 years – and through eight presidents – the United States has been dependent on foreign oil to power the nation. Today, energy independence is a realistic goal, one founded on American innovation, technology and hard work.

The Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries – OPEC – has a stranglehold on the United States’ fuel supply. In fact, the United States spends more than $1 million per minute on foreign oil – adding up to more than $450 billion per year, making this the largest wealth transfer in history. This situation is not only unsustainable; it leaves the U.S. indebted to the 12 OPEC member nations, including Iran, Saudi Arabia and Venezuela.

For the first time in decades, the United States has the resources for energy independence. The discovery of abundant reserves of shale-based oil and natural gas, combined with new drilling technology needed to produce those resources, has given the United States a long-term source of homegrown energy. The U.S. has enough oil and natural gas to power 65 million cars for 60 years and heat 60 million households for 160 years, according to the American Petroleum Institute (API). By 2030, 100 percent of U.S. liquid fuel needs could be met by resources found in North America.

Energy independence is within reach, and its benefits extend beyond enhanced national security. Increasing domestic oil and natural gas production does the following:

* Creates jobs: Oil and natural gas companies currently support 9.2 million U.S. jobs and are among the nation’s largest employers, according to API. Increasing domestic oil and natural gas development could create more than 1.4 million additional jobs. These jobs are both direct – energy company employees – and indirect – vendors and others who support the energy industry. The increase in domestic oil and natural gas development boosts other industries as well, including steel and manufacturing.

* Revitalizes communities: In 2010, the industry contributed $476 billion in direct support to a struggling economy. Domestic oil and natural gas are produced across the country, and wherever drilling takes place, local residents benefit from royalty payments and good-paying jobs. In fact, in 2010 oil and natural gas companies paid more than $176 billion in wages and benefits and payments to oil and natural gas leaseholders. The oil and natural gas industry also provides an influx of tax dollars, paying $86 million per day to the federal government. County and state taxes paid by energy companies contribute to schools, roads and infrastructures.

* Promotes a healthier environment: Domestic energy – particularly natural gas – offers a cleaner energy future by helping reduce air pollution in communities around the country. As an electricity source and a viable transportation fuel, natural gas emits fewer pollutants and no mercury, according to the Energy Information Administration.

Energy independence is no longer campaign rhetoric; it is reality. If you support fueling our country from within, declare your energy independence at www.chk.com/independence.

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