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Zinke Talks O&G At Mt Rushmore During WGA Conference

Lee Strubinger

The Secretary of the Department of Interior says by the end of the year the U-S will be a top exporter of oil in the world.

Ryan Zinke’s remarks come during an address to the Western Governor’s Association at Mount Rushmore.

Not that South Dakota has much of a portfolio when it comes to energy production in either crude oil or natural gas, but many of the governors from other states visiting Rapid City do.

Secretary Zinke says having low cost, reliable and affordable “clean” energy allows the American economy to move forward.

“If we weren’t producing 10.7, 10.8 million barrels a day our cost of energy in the country would be a lot higher. Jobs matter. You look at the component of jobs and manufacturing, you have labor costs. We can’t afford, nor should we ever pay what labor costs are in China. Americans need to make a living and our wage needs to be appropriate so Americans can live and obtain the American dream.”

Zinke says the country can remain energy independent with the resources there are in North America. He says the US should never be held hostage over energy resources.

Watchdogs of the Department of Interior agree that energy independence is good.

Chris Sager is the executive director of the Western Values Project. He says fracking has created a boom in the American West, but puts public lands at risk.

“Oil production has been skyrocketing. It is a little confusing that this administration would choose to ignore those facts in favor of loosening responsible standards that make sure that oil production happens in a way that protects communities, that protects most of our public lands—including those by national parks—in favor of trying to achieve an objective that we are already well along the path of achieving.”

According to the US Energy Information Administration, oil exports from the US are nearly two million barrels a day in March, which is about double from that time last year.