The Washington Post recently reported that the Obama administration has approved a new proposal for natural gas exports, this time off the coast of Maryland. The recent advent of “fracking” as a drilling method has resulted in a dramatic increase in requests to explore, drill, and push for domestic production. As Lindsey Grant explained in Is Fracking an Answer? To What?: “Hydraulic fracturing… is a technique for expanding gas and oil production. It is dramatically raising expectations… and technological optimists are hailing it as the answer to fears of a decline in world fossil energy production.” Once again, America is looking only for an extension of our fossil fuel dependence, as opposed to an alternative that will prove sustainable over the long term.
Along with continuing our dependence, increased U.S. production also entails extensive environmental damage and water consumption. NPG and other groups have voiced serious concerns that the long-term costs of this controversial drilling method – which the oil industry tends to minimize or dismiss – may well outweigh the short-lived benefits. However, as U.S. population size continues to climb, our nation’s demand for fossil fuels grows alongside it and a full-court press is placed upon the government to allow unrestricted access to our natural resources. But no technology will ever outpace our nation’s population growth, and no supply of hydrocarbons will ever be infinite – regardless of the method used to access it.
Back in 2007, the NPG Forum paper Peak Oil: Are We There Yet? foreshadowed today’s reality in the race for fossil fuels. “We have been living in an era when rising demand chased a rising supply. We are now entering the much more dangerous era of rising demand chasing declining supplies… [As] oil declines, consumers will shift to gas and coal, depleting them. As we run out of fossil fuels, we will face a future, over the coming century, of fundamental changes in the way we live….
The facts are simple: the U.S. population is growing at an astronomical rate (1 person every 14 seconds, according to the Census Bureau), and we are reaching the end of the Fossil Fuel Era. As Grant warned us, if fracking “is simply used to support more growth, the new supply will support an unsupportable lifestyle for a little longer and then lead to a deeper collapse.” But the debate over increasing our domestic production of fossil fuels versus finding “green” alternatives is misguided – it entirely ignores the root of the problem.
The real question is: what are we doing to reduce U.S. population – and what size population is optimal – so that we can sustain our environment, natural resources, and quality of life for the generations to come?
To answer this question, NPG has enlisted the help of some of the leading experts in population-related fields. The consensus of their research is that the United States should aim for an ideal population of 150-200 million people. This size would enable us to gradually restore our environment and resources, establish a stable economy, and create an enjoyable standard of living that is sustainable over the very long term. A reasonable and responsible United States population policy that reflects this goal must be adopted – both to help our population to reach this size, and to help us maintain it once it is achieved.
NPG has developed a Proposed National Population Policy, which outlines the steps we must take to reduce our population size and protect our future. Our solution is simple:
- Completely halt all illegal immigration to the U.S. through increased border security, strong enforcement of immigration laws, and mandatory employment verification – as well as apprehending and deporting the estimated 11-20 million illegal immigrants currently residing within our nation.
- Drastically reduce legal immigration rates from the current 1 million arrivals per year to no more than 200,000 – including relatives, refugees, and asylees.
- Replace the existing federal income tax deduction for dependent children with a tax credit for parents who have – at most – 2 children.
- Give an annual cash grant to parents who pay little or no income tax and have only 1-2 dependent children.
This reasonable and common-sense program would work to slow, halt, and eventually reverse our population growth. This is the key for our nation’s survival, and for a livable future for our children and grandchildren. Finding another “quick-fix” in the form of fracking or increasing our domestic production of fossil fuels is not the answer. The answer is to reduce our population size and maintain it at a much lower level – we must accept this reality, before it is too late.
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