Okay. It seems that everybody and his cat has an opinion on the energy problems we face here in the good ‘ol U. S. of A. I’m no different. The difference is that unlike most of the pundits out there, I don’t have any other axe to grind other than speaking what I see as the truth. No liberal bias. No conservative bias either. In particular, I am beholden to no special-interest groups.This shouldn’t be a liberal versus conservative issue (which is part of the problem). It should be strictly an American problem, and it should unite us.
In light of this fact, I’m going to share with you some common-sense bullet points that I hope will reframe the discussion on what to do to get our energy prices under control.
- When you’re in a deep hole, the first thing to do is to stop digging. The next is to do everything you can in order to get out of the hole. The third is to take steps to make sure you don’t dig yourself into another hole.
The green extremists won’t tell you this, but they are actually delighted at the prospect of $5/gal. gasoline. You see, they don’t really care about “energy independence” at all. They want us to use LESS energy, no matter what the cost. Period. So you see, you’ll never get them to agree for us to do anything that would increase our energy indpendence, if it includes us using our own energy resources.
The answer, however, is not to simply drill in ANWAR, or offshore, or instead to build lots of wind farms, or maybe to instead build several nuclear power plants. The answer IS to do ALL OF THAT – and more. If we do EVERYTHING we can do to create our own energy, it follows that we’d have to buy less abroad. When we need less from OPEC, they will lower their prices (that’s basic free market economics stuff). Want proof? They did just that, back in the 70’s – when prices went through the roof, we turned to our own sources…and prices went down, so we wouldn’t develop our own energy sources. OPEC doesn’t just manipulate prices higher – they are perfectly willing to lower them, if it’s in their own, long-term interests. The trick here is to stick to our guns, and not let an OPEC price drop deter us from developing our own energy sources.
- The libs and greens tell us “there’s no point in trying to drill us out of this – we won’t see any oil from our own drilling for 10 years.”
What they DON’T tell us is that this is the same line of B.S. they were using 10 years ago, when they stopped us from drilling in ANWR and offshore back then. If we don’t drill now, what situation will we see ten years from now? Again, they don’t care about “energy independence” or “cheap oil.” The greens want us to use less oil (or none at all). The left simply want to regulate us into the stone age.
- The Dems and the GOP are more interested in blaming each other, than solving the problem.
What’s wrong with this picture? Nobody seems willing to do the right thing – they’re more interested in villifying the other side. This attitude – on both sides – will end up the ruin of us all.
- Pelosi and the left claim that the oil companies should drill on existing leases first and exhaust those areas before they are allowed to drill anywhere else.
Allow me to introduce you to the concept of “low hanging fruit.” I’m not in the oil bidness, but I have a lot of friends who are. They tell me that some oil is easier to get to (and cheaper to pump) than others. The properties they’ve leased have exhausted the oil that’s easy to reach. The rest is exhorbitantly expensive to find and pump out. Doesn’t it make sense to get all the oil that we can reach – without tying the hands of the very people that can make us indpendent of the stranglehold we’re in from OPEC?
- The same guys that are preaching that we need alternate forms of energy development are the self same ones saying “but not in my backyard.”
Ted Kennedy, John Kerry, et all have blocked all efforts to create offshore wind farms, as it would ruin their view from Hyanisport. Cry me a river. You either are willing to do whatever is necessary to solve the problem – or you are part of the problem.
- What about those nuclear power plants? Isn’t nuclear energy non-polluting and clean? Why not build more plants?
Good idea. And the energy companies are trying – but government regs have prevented ANY new power plants from getting past the planning stages in a decade. They’ve blocked expanding the capacity of current plants, too. Done right, nuclear energy is clean and SAFE. If the French (who, let’s remember practically invented “political correctness” and the Green movement) rely on nuclear energy, why can’t we?
- Pelosi wants to play the blame game, and get Bush to open up the Strategic Petroleum Reserve to manipulate the price of gasoline by increasing the supply. Won’t that help?
Not significantly, no. In fact, the SPR was created for REAL emergencies – like a catestrophic terrorist attack, somebody destroying oil fields or bombing refineries – things like that. It was not created to keep people from whining about $5/gallon gas, but to make sure our military, homeland security, and EMS folks have enough fuel to do their jobs. Releasing anything from the SPR is like digging into your savings to buy something you really can’t afford – short sighted and self-defeating. Believe it or not, it’s actually illegal for Bush to do what Pelosi wants – and she knows it.
- What about drilling in ANWR? Won’t this hurt the cute little polar bears, caribou, and baby seals?
First of all, do you really care? I don’t. Even if the claims of ecological disaster and species extinction were true (they aren’t), I’d still vote for oil over polar bears. The truth is, the portion of the Artic National Wildlife Refuge that they want to use for drilling compares to the overall area of ANWR like this: Imagine Texas Stadium (home of God’s Team, the Dallas Cowboys). Get past security, walk out to the big silver and blue star on the 50, and place a U.S. postage stamp in the center of the field. The postage stamp represents the area that will be reserved for drilling. The rest of the field is reserved for the wildlife. Got a problem with that? I sure don’t.
- But wouldn’t it be better for the environment if we stopped using petroleum and carbon-based fuels? What about the air quality? Polution?
Let’s get real. There is no ‘magic bullet.’ To totally elliminate petroleum products means saying ‘bye-bye’ to things like plastics, polyester fabrics, and virtually everything we use on a daily basis. If we switch some things away from oil, we’d be better off, arguably, but a total ellimination of oil products ain’t in the cards. What would be smart is to use each form of energy where it’s best able to be used. For instance, nuclear power works great to generate electricity, but would be a nightmare for automobiles (regardless of what Marty McFly might think). We’d be better off if we concentrate on things like improving fuel economy, clean Diesel technology, and a combination of turbo-charged/super-charged four-bangers than expecting the country to switch from gasoline to hydrogen filling stations overnight. This will be an evolutionary – not revolutionary – process, if we are to succeed.
- So what’s the real answer?
There is no single, simple answer. But common sense can point us in the right direction. Here are my own top ten things we can do to achieve energy independence, lower energy prices, and an energy policy that protects and serves the people – not the government, the special interests, the energy corporations, or those yell the loudest.
- stop wasting energy whenever and wherever possible.
- remove the shackles from our own energy companies, stop treating them like the enemy, and allow them to search for energy in ANWR, in the Gulf of Mexico, and off the shores of the Atlantic and Pacific.
- Provide tax breaks and/or support to companies to develop oil shale conversion to gasoline plants, along with guarantees that will prevent them from losing their shirts when OPEC inevitably drops their prices to prevent our plan’s success.
- Build more refineries, more nuclear power plants, and wind farms. And do it as soon as possible.
- Give tax breaks to companies that are investing in solar panel research. Don’t fund the research – simply give tax breaks to the companies that are successful.
- Don’t add additional regulations to strangle our automotive manufacturers, but instead offer tax breaks when they build more fuel-efficient vehicles.
- Stop listening to those who lie about nonsense like ‘global warming’ in order to fuel their own agendas, and put our energy needs and security above some arbitrary and capricious ideal (like the Kyoto Protocol). Demand that the Al Gores of the world stop their hypocrisies and stop spinning facts and figures to support their own goals.
- Stop trying to legislate energy policy and allow the market to innovate. Specifically, repeal the market-disruptive laws that encourage farmers to grow corn for Ethanol, creating a double-whammy: Ethanol that’s too expensive, and less corn for food and feed, driving food prices up unnecessarily.
- Repeal the inane patchwork of laws that increase our energy prices, specifically, the stupid laws across the country that force refineries to make dozens of different mixtures of gasoline plus additives that supposedly keep our air cleaner. Two or three formulas should be more than enough.
- Stop fighting. We’re all in this together. Treat OPEC as the enemy…not the Democrats and not the Republicans.