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Friday, June 13, 2008

Conservatives: Drilling is NOT Enough

Recently, everywhere I turn there is a Conservative politician, pundit, or columnist pushing the idea of drilling somewhere.

Here is how Victor David Hansen put it.

But a paradox is that most environmentalists think of themselves as egalitarians. So, instead of objecting to the view of a derrick from the California hills above the Santa Barbara coast, shouldn't a liberal estate owner instead console himself that the offshore pumping will help a nearby farm worker or carpenter get to work without going broke?

Another paradox: American laws and technology ensure a rig off Florida or in Alaska has far less chance of springing a leak than one in the Persian Gulf or the Russian tundra. If there really is a shared "planet earth," then aren't we all its collective stewards? By locking out energy exploration in the United States, we are encouraging it almost everywhere else.

No one is talking of more domestic drilling to give our SUVs and Hummers one last gasp at $2 a gallon gas. Everyone is already cutting back and waiting for more efficient engines and methods of conservation. Instead, producing as much of our own energy as possible means extracting more safely the world's oil for the world's biggest consumer.

Consider also how oil triggers a massive transfer of wealth abroad that is as illiberal as it is dangerous. Productive energy-strapped Americans, Europeans, Japanese, Chinese and Indians are working day and night to give the world critical material goods, ideas and services. To be blunt, oil-rich Saudi Arabia, Venezuela, Russia and Iran are not.

Here is Jonah Goldberg.

One wonders how pristine the Grand Canyon can be if it has roughly 5 million visitors every year, rafting, hiking, picnicking and riding mules up one side and down the other. Campfires, RVs and motels that do not conjure the word "virginal" ring around large swaths of it.

This isn't to say that the Grand Canyon isn't a beautiful place; it inspires awe among those who visit it. ANWR (pronounced "AN-wahr) inspires awe almost entirely in those who haven't been there. It is an environmental Brigadoon or Shangri-La, a fabled land almost no one will ever see. That is its appeal. People like the idea that there are still Edens "out there" even if they will never, ever see them.

Indeed, if Americans could visit the north coast of Alaska, as I have, as easily as they can visit the Grand Canyon, the oil would be flowing by now.

ANWR is roughly the size of South Carolina, and it is spectacular. However, the area where, according to Department of Interior estimates, some 5.7 billion to 16 billion barrels of recoverable oil reside is much smaller and not necessarily as awe-inspiring. It would amount to the size of Dulles airport.

Newt Gingrich has even started the campaign, drill here drill now. Recently, Conservatives and Republican politicians have all ceased on this issue and tried to use it for maximum political gain. It may have some amount of political value. This is a stark difference between Republicans and Democrats. I am all for drilling. I believe that drilling will go a long way toward dropping the price of gasoline in the short term.

Drilling will NOT resolve the fundamental problem facing this country. We are entirely too reliant on oil as a means of energy. No matter how much we drill we aren't going to be able to produce nearly enough oil to satisfy our energy needs. This means we will always be reliant on OPEC for the bulk of our energy needs. The fundamental problem that needs a solution is our dependence on oil for energy.

Drilling for oil doesn't solve the fundamental problem and unless Conservatives start talking about solutions to it they aren't going to resolve anything of substance. What needs to happen is the sort of transformation that happened in Brazil. What Conservatives need to do is come up with solutions to bring real energy independence here to the States. If they don't, then the Democrats will seize the issue and they will mandate those solutions. Recently, that's exactly what Bill O'Reilly has been proposing. O'Reilly is no liberal and yet he sees no solution unless Congress mandates one. We already saw what a disaster that could be with the misguided legislation mandating increased ethanol use.

Yet, mandated use of alternative energy vehicles is exactly what we are headed for unless Conservatives propose a better solution. The folks of this country are demanding a comprehensive solution to this energy crisis. Simply drilling is not a comprehensive solution and it won't resolve our fundamental problem. If Conservatives don't propose solutions to the fundamental problem of energy independence, the Democrats will propose mandates that will come up with those solutions. I recently proposed a series of tax cuts that would encourage entrepeneurs to spawn innovations that would create all sorts of alternative energy sources. Conservatives need to come up with conservative solutions to the energy crisis. Simply fixating on drilling is not a solution, and if this is all we talk about, we cede the issue to the other side. If we do, then the issue will be resolved through bigger government, bigger taxes, and more regulation.


Anonymous said...

In this order:
1)End speculative commodity (oil) trading.
2)Promote conservation - using both positive and negative reinforcement i.e. a series of incentives (tax deductions) and penalties (fines).
3)Drill - tap into our vast domestic energy resources(ANWAR & off-shore oil, oil-shale, liquid coal, etc.)
4)Innovate - aggressively research and develop cleaner , safer, renewable sources of energy (nuclear, wind, solar, hydrogen, bio-fuel, etc.)

mike volpe said...

I like all those ideas however there needs to be more specifics than merely end speculative trading. Speculative trading is a function of human nature. You have to take tangible steps to end it.

Anonymous said...

at a minimum raise the margin requirement from 5% to 50%....quite possibly prohibit hedge/pension/mutual funds from trading oil futures.......


Today on june 13th 2008-I was deleted by

the organization looking for alternative energy for America has deleted me- the man who solved the energy crisis-

why- because i say I am a messenger of god-my free will to believe in my inner voice- your FREE WILL to ignore me EVEN IF I HAVE THE SOLUTION TO THE ENERGY CRISIS_ PATHETIC

you want your cake and eat it too- you want life exactly the way you want it and not told by another

you dont pick your messengers- they are chosen-

i had enough- i have now endured 13 months on this net being deleted by every arrogant organization run by humans and just regular folk like you who have always ignored my messages since my time upon the net-

well i am done with your stupidity-

let your oil prices go up- let your food prices go up- watch your economies crumble- see your jobs lost- get rid of all your pet animals as you cannot feed your family and pet dog as so many are giving them to the pound-

I have come openly with a solution 13 months ago only to be ignored-

now a gluttonous world playing on the internet shall all learn how primitive man is and must be civil to one another- instead of shunning someone bringing forth a solution- in the months to follow- you will learn there is no alternative fuel- panic mode will set in very soon-

when you understand clearly how important energy is- i guess your arragance will stop and just implement my scientific deeds - as for my messenger duties- it will make sense in time- all is well- but it will only get better after your destruction- i am sorry i have to say this- but it is I who has now watched you completely ignore and ridicule a man of god- as always you will learn the hard way-

time will tell

solomon azar

Anonymous said...

I do not think that any of these people propose that drilling will alone and forever provide for our (potentially limitless) energy demands. However, the triple bind left wing legislatures have trapped this country in is well worth their commentary - we want cheap gasoline, they say, but also American gasoline (so as not to support the Arab governments that we are already supposedly racist against in another cute contradiction) but that gasoline cannot be obtained from most of the places it can most easily be found - which have been declared environmentalist paradises - to the exclusion of any other use.

Btw, I linked to your blog from mine. I hope you don't mind.