Protecting Our Independence
Edward P. Cross, President Kansas Independent Oil & Gas Association
July is a special month for many Americans. Most of us will eagerly take a break from our busy summer schedules to once again celebrate Independence Day. There will be much fanfare with fireworks, parades, picnics, and other patriotic events celebrating our country’s independence from Great Britain in 1776. But when the festivities have ended, only a few will have reflected upon the true meaning of independence and the role it has played in shaping our nation’s character.
Our founding fathers made it clear in the Declaration of Independence that all men were entitled to certain unalienable rights. Among those rights are life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. It is easy to take for granted those rights and freedoms we share as Americans. However, it is important that we understand and appreciate the hard work and sacrifice that our forefathers made in order for us to enjoy the luxury of freedom. Freedom and independence are cornerstones in the foundation of our country’s heritage. The independent ideology of the American people is a fundamental element of our society and a key to our nation’s prosperity. We must protect that independence at all cost.
One important freedom we must protect is our free enterprise system. American business, and certainly the oil and gas industry, was founded upon the ideology of independence and free-market principles. Those principles allow business to be governed by the laws of supply and demand without government interference and excessive regulation. The dynamic free market has led to innovation and wealth creation, and has established an economic environment where hard work is rewarded.
But now, amidst economic turmoil, it seems free-market capitalism and independence are under attack. Government’s heavy-handed intervention into businesses and industries is unprecedented. It is alarmingly obvious that the increased governmental control is dragging on the economy. Where will it stop?
The oil and gas industry is always in the crosshairs of government. We are constantly battling excessive environmental regulation, drilling restrictions, and crippling taxation to fund politically expedient, yet questionably viable, government spending programs. Furthermore, the administration’s proposal to repeal our most critical and longstanding tax provisions would have a devastating impact on small independent oil and gas producers. Even if those regulations and tax proposals became law, the revenues would not come close to satisfying the President’s and Congress’ appetite for bigger government.
In his 1946 Independence Day speech, John F. Kennedy said, “Eternal vigilance is the price of liberty.” Those words were never so true. Being mindful of the erosion of our independence and free- market system through excessive regulation and government interference cannot be over emphasized. We must, now more than ever, remain steadfast in our resolve to protect and preserve the precious independence that has molded our nation’s character.