Daily Local News (West Chester, PA)

WCASD student: Middle East oil is hurting the U.S.

- -- Sean Mills is a West Chester East ninth grade student

On January 19, 2016, oil hit $27.19 a barrel, the lowest it has been in 12 years. This number is tremendous­ly impacted by Saudi Arabia’s glut of oil. In 2015 alone, the United States (U.S.) imported around 370,000,000 barrels of oil from Saudi Arabia. This number does not include the millions of barrels we imported from other members of the Organizati­on of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC). Our reliance on Middle Eastern oil is both a political and economic problem for us. The U.S. dependence on foreign crude oil is at an all-time high. A large portion of the oil we are getting is coming from the Middle East; especially from Saudi Arabia. It is unclear why America would be so tempted to pay billions to a country that oppresses its women and hangs people from cranes in the streets. Saudi Arabia is a strict Muslim nation. In fact, in Medina and Mecca, two Saudi cities, people who are not Muslim are not allowed inside. Saudi Arabian leaders are drunk on the power the oil reserves bring them and refuse to stop committing human rights violations on a daily basis.

Saudi Arabia is the biggest producer of oil in OPEC. Their goal is to control the market for oil. OPEC wants control over how much oil is available for consumptio­n and how much they wish to charge for it. This is one reason why we have such fluctuatin­g gasoline prices in America. Prices have been changing between $1.56 per gallon to $4.06 per gallon since 2008 and continues to change every week. Control over oil supply is what the middle-eastern oil companies want and currently have. OPEC used to have a monopoly on crude oil in the world. Now thankfully, we have started to slowly purchase more oil from Canada.

Another problem with paying untrustwor­thy and unstable countries in the Middle East is that the U.S. does not necessaril­y know where the money that we are paying them is going. We could unknowingl­y be funding terrorist organizati­ons like Al-Qaeda and the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS.) The Saudi government could be giving portions of their revenue to terrorists. This could be a source of funding for weapons and bombs to carry out terrorist attacks.

In the short-run there are some immediate steps the U.S. can take to address this issue and it is strongly recommende­d that we carry them out. For one, we can buy less oil from the Middle East and more from Canada. This will benefit the country because we will not be impacted by such unstable and changing prices all of the time. There will be a steady supply of oil coming in and a reduction in time to transport the oil to our country. In addition, the billions of dollars we are paying Canada will not fall into the hands of terrorists.

In the future, the U.S. can eliminate non-renewable resources all together and invest the money it would have spent on oil towards solar, wind, and geothermal power plants. Another way we can fund this is to provide tax breaks to companies that make these geothermal plants and solar/ wind farms so they can provide more funding towards research and production. These are environmen­tally safe alternativ­es to oil, which pollute our atmosphere and kill tens of thousands of ma- rine animals with the occasional oil spill. In the long run, it will cost us less money to maintain these plants and there will be a more constant supply of energy available to us. If we dedicate a large portion of our budget to the constructi­on and operation of solar farms and windmills, then we could eliminate our dependence on oil completely.

Middle Eastern oil is hurting this country both politicall­y and economical­ly. We must stop paying billions to these corrupt and tyrannical countries. We can do this if we buy more oil from Canada or rely completely on renewable resources other than crude oil from the Middle East. If we do so, America will be a more prosperous country than ever before.

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