Editorial: Rising oil prices help Oklahoma

The Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries has decided to slow down production of crude oil.

That is bad for consumers but good for Oklahoma.

Not too long ago, oil was $100 or so a barrel. Then the bottom of that price fell as a glut of oil hit the international marketdue to overproduction by OPEC and others.

That price drop really hurt Oklahoma as thousands lost their jobs and state government experienced billions in projected revenues.

With production slowing, the price of a barrel of oil is headed toward $50. And that will affect the price of natural gas, too.

Advanced recovery techniques have helped America inch toward energy independence (in spite of the regressive energy policy of President Obama). The oil bust put a dent in domestic exploration and production. A higher price will help not only oil producers but the state budget.

Republican leaders in the Legislature have failed to take full advantage of the downturn to make state government more efficient. Instead, they have borrowed hundreds of millions of dollars and essentially “kicked the can down the road” when it comes to smaller government.

Oil is a commodity and it will come back. And it will drop again.

Republican leaders, who run the House and Senate, need to return to a genuine zero-based budgeting process and impress upon state agency heads that growth just for the sake of growth is not acceptable.

Fortunately, many of the rank-and-file Republican legislators have solid backgrounds in private business – including the energy sector.

It’s time to make sure that Oklahoma doesn’t rise and fall on the whims of OPEC and other foreign nations.