Port: If left-wing, anti-oil activists got their way the situation in the Middle East would be even more chaotic

If the Greta Thunberg crowd got their way, and we stopped producing oil, the world would be a much poorer and far more dangerous place.

Oil well.jpg
An oil jack extracts crude from the Bakken oil field in western North Dakota. Forum News Service file photo
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MINOT, N.D. — Like all of you, I'm sure, I'm watching the situation with Iran very closely and with much trepidation.

Though the response to President Donald Trump's decision to off one of the chief organizers of Iran's terror state was a thoroughly impotent rocket attack which our military saw coming from a mile away and accomplished exactly nothing, that doesn't mean things can't escalate further.

It is a volatile situation, to put it mildly.

And yet, less volatile thanks to energy policies of the Trump administration and even, to a somewhat smaller degree, the Obama administration.

Senator Kevin Cramer made this point during a recent appearance on Fox Business:


His point about pro-energy policies making the situation in the Middle East somewhat easier to handle is a good one, though he's being a bit partisan in only crediting Trump and Republicans. Remember that it was President Obama who lifted the Carter-era ban on crude oil exports, which threw open the global markets to America's oil developers.

Also remember that at least some Democrats, such as former North Dakota Senator Heidi Heitkamp (defeated by Cramer in 2018), lobbied for it.

The impact of these generally pro-energy, and specifically pro-oil, policies are palpable. In a different era, a crisis in the Middle East manifested itself domestically in the form of higher oil prices.

That's not happening anymore.

"Despite rising unrest in the Middle East — including the death of an Iranian commander — America’s average gasoline prices have remained under $3 a gallon," Axios reports today .

U.S. oil production has more than doubled over the last decade , despite most of those years coming under the Obama administration which (outside of lifting the export ban) was largely hostile to oil development.

While there is much fantasizing in the political world about an oil-free future, like it or not the world runs on oil now. From planes and trains and automobiles to plastics and electronics, if we had to do without the stuff our quality of life would plummet significantly.


Thankfully, we have plenty of the stuff for now, and with U.S. production having surged despite fierce -- and at times violent, remember the #NoDAPL protests? -- certain oil-rich tyrants have far less economic clout behind their machinations.

Pause on that point for a moment. If the Greta Thunberg crowd got their way, and we stopped producing oil, the world would be a much poorer and far more dangerous place.

If we're going to use oil (and we are, for the foreseeable future, since there's no really good replacement) we may as well put our own oil on the global market for the sake of our own prosperity and global stability.

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Rob Port, founder of, a North Dakota political blog, is a Forum Communications commentator. Listen to his Plain Talk Podcast and follow him on Twitter at @RobPort.

Opinion by Rob Port
Rob Port is a news reporter, columnist, and podcast host for the Forum News Service. He has an extensive background in investigations and public records. He has covered political events in North Dakota and the upper Midwest for two decades. Reach him at Click here to subscribe to his Plain Talk podcast.
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