By Tom Pyle Tunisia’s recent overthrow of an unpopular government has created a hotbed of unrest across the Middle East. Thus far, three countries have taken to the streets in similar political upheaval in the region. The global nature of the energy market means instability on the other side of the world impacts U.S. energy security. International supply and demand set fuel prices. When demand is threatened by instability, prices tend to fluctuate. Turmoil in Egypt, specifically, threatens to disrupt the world supply. Vast energy supplies currently pass through the Egyptian controlled Suez Canal to deliver resources to refineries across the world. The canal clears close to 2 million barrels of oil daily. Should this transportation corridor close, the next best route would add an additional 6,000 miles to oil and gas shipments. Due to the high volume of oil which passes through the canal, the expensive extended trip would have the effect of driving up the price of the world oil supply. These developments highlight the need to further cultivate a stable supply of energy, both domestically and by utilizing American energy companies abroad. By generating a greater supply, disruptions like the one in Egypt would have a far smaller impact on the US. Unfortunately, the hostility of current U.S. energy policy towards traditional energy resources leaves domestic energy security to the whims of foreign regimes whom often are in direct competition with U.S interests. China, Venezuela, and Russia are taking aggressive steps to secure domestic energy resources, while using government funding to purchase resources abroad for their state owned companies. Conversely, the U.S. has restricted the ability of its privately owned energy companies to gain access to resources, most notably in the Gulf of Mexico. In this lucrative region, a federal drilling moratorium continues to shut down operations as federal regulators withhold necessary permits. As Gulf production is slowing, activist groups are hindering U.S. activity with our nearest allies, Canada and Mexico, to allow American companies to produce energy within their borders. The crisis in Egypt, and any pending fallout at American gas pumps confirms the need to encourage American energy companies to secure and produce resources at home and abroad. By investing in proper infrastructure and extraction techniques in foreign countries, the jobs and wealth created act as a stabilizing force. High U.S. demand and the domestic refining of resources assure that these operations are economically beneficial to both countries involved. But energy companies are not being encouraged in this cause by the current Administration, despite clear indications that a partnership is needed. Instead, the President has set an unrealistic goal of transforming the nation to 80 percent renewable energy by 2035. Top U.S. competitor China holds the key to this renewable revolution as they produce 97% of the world’s rare earth elements (REE); a needed input in everything from wind turbines and solar panels to hybrid batteries. Over-regulation in the U.S. has shut down all domestic operations; hence the Chinese now supply the world. Accessing REE will be an important and long-term first step to any desired change in the U.S. energy portfolio over the next several decades, barring a total reliance on Chinese manufactured goods to fuel this change. These dynamic energy issues point to one necessity for the present: securing U.S. energy. Domestic oil and gas companies can do just that, while providing substantial revenue for the country and supporting millions of jobs. Attempts to “reign-in” these companies will assure that these benefits are enjoyed elsewhere. Punitive measures directed toward American energy companies ignore the realities of the global energy market, and the energy needs of future generations. Thomas Pyle is president of the American Energy Alliance and its latest project, Save U.S. Energy Jobs.