The first, and most widely acknowledged, problem resource is energy. We’ve had a love/hate relationship with oil for a long time, and securing enough of the stuff at reasonable prices for our domestic consumption has been a central platform of US foreign policy for more than half a century. But there are other issues with energy besides oil, such as how to generate our electricity in an affordable way without causing unacceptable environmental damage, and there are new wrinkles in our energy equation, like the shale boom that has caused natural gas prices to plummet in the past two years.
The shale boom offers us significant economic opportunities, and the growth it may help generate may be crucial in allowing us to afford the other investments we need to make. However, we lack a coherent national strategy to deal with the big issues in this arena, and this is causing ripple effects throughout the Interlock. For example, in analyzing the potential economic benefits of the shale development, a team of researchers at McKinsey observed that, “Realizing the full economic benefits of the oil and gas boom will require completing a major infrastructure build-out, mitigating environmental risks, and heading off a potential talent shortage” – three critical parts of the Interlock.
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