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Natural Resources in the United States

700,000 people work in mining and natural resource extraction industries in the United States.

Since Thomas Edison opened his coal power plant in 1882 to supply electricity for the first time to homes, households living without electricity have been almost eliminated completely in the United States (in the rest of the world, 1.4 billion people still live without electricity).

Today, fossil fuel, nuclear, and hydroelectric power supply 93% of Americans’ energy needs.

The United States has the largest fossil fuel reserves in the world.

    Petroleum

    161,600 Americans are employed by the oil and gas extraction industry.

    The largest foreign supplier of oil to the United States is Canada.

    The United States is the third highest oil producing country in the world.

    Petroleum supplies the largest amount of Americans’ energy needs, almost 40 percent.

    Petroleum products power 255 million vehicles throughout the United States.

    The U.S. has the largest oil shale reserves in the world, about 2 trillion barrels worth.

    Estimated oil reserves have increased from 100 billion barrels in 1950 to over 1.2 trillion today.

    Over 62% of U.S. onshore oil reserves on federal lands are off limits to drilling

      Coal

      80,000 Americans are employed by the U.S. coal mining industry.

      The United States receives more electricity from coal than from any other source.

      The U.S. has the highest amount of coal reserves in the world, nearly 10% more than any other country in the world.

      The total amount of coal in the United States amounts to more than 4 trillion tons.

      Coal-intensive States have the lowest electric rates, except for the three Pacific Northwest States that use mostly hydro power.

        Natural Gas

        The U.S. has 272 trillion cubic feet of natural gas reserves, sixth most in the world.

        There are almost a half a million natural gas wells in the United States alone.

        The U.S. produces 19.2 trillion cubic feet of natural gas each year.

        Natural gas provides nearly a quarter of Americans’ electricity needs, second most only to coal.

          Timber/Logging

          The U.S. logging industry provides jobs to over 28,000 workers in the United States.

          One third of the United States, 302 million hectares, is covered by forests.

          More than 17 billion cubic feet of timber is produced in the United States each year.

          Since 1900, forest lands in the United States have actually increased despite more logging.

            Metals

            The U.S. has the second largest reserves of rare earth metals in the world behind only China.

            The United States is the world’s third highest producer of copper after Peru and Chile.

            The U.S. is the fourth highest gold producing nation in the world producing 240 metric tons of gold per year.

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              • Coal

                Coal-intensive States have the lowest electric rates, except for the three Pacific Northwest States that use mostly hydro power.