Absent studies or impact surveys, the environmental lobby has declared a proposed pipeline from Canada to the Southern U.S. “an environmental disaster. Anwar remains off limits. New offshore drilling is essentially forbidden. Ever increasing amounts of Federal land are off limits. Oil sand production in the U.S. a la Canada faces the kneejerk “environmental disaster” mantra as well. The Gulf is still not back to full production based on administration policy and $5.00 – $6.00 gas is just one more Middle Eastern upheaval away!
Wind farms remain dormant as environmental lobbies oppose the construction of transmission lines to carry the wind generated power; another “environmental disaster”! Coal is under assault as production leases are revoked by the EPA.
Middle East supplies are in jeopardy; reports project that Saudi Arabia has significantly less of an oil reserve than was generally believed to be the case. Venezuela has “modified” its contracts with U.S. based companies and is opting to support China and Iran, despite the higher costs associated with those deals. Venezuelan production has fallen following the essential nationalization of the oil industry. China ranges far and wide in pursuit of energy security and new sources. Russia is in a position to cripple Europe by way of energy delivery, especially natural gas. Mexico is a mess!
Iran is sending warships through the Suez in addition to the consistent threat to close the Straits of Hormuz. The U.S. base in Bahrain is in jeopardy as a Shia majority begins to pressure the minority Sunni ruling class potentially resulting in an Iranian satellite.
The EPA moves to administratively apply failed Cap and Trade legislation. Hundreds of billions of dollars leave our shores with each increase in oil prices. Those billions support nations and policies in opposition to U.S. interests. Each increase in oil impacts the price of everything that must be transported, grown and produced. Each increase reduces discretionary spending in a consumer based economy.
Many, firmly committed to a green energy economy, agree there is a significant transition period whereby fossil fuels will remain the dominant energy source; a 20 year transition is not out of the question. There is also general agreement that green is simply not economic at this point in time; the economics of green and research breakthroughs are what will push green into general acceptance. $40,000 for a Chevy Volt appears not to be the answer!
Here we are; oil dependant on nations facing political crisis and in jeopardy of production disruptions, no plan for domestic energy production increases, no dramatic support for accelerating nuclear energy development. A wide variety of economic and national security questions float in the gray zone of indecision, ideology and a stubborn refusal to face the full range of facts and economic impacts.
No Presidential pronouncements or plans, no legislative action, no hue and cry to stop the horrific circle of dependence we have embraced for too long, with the exception of the Department of Energy budget, which shows significant spending growth for government support of green programs that have failed economically in each and every case. The green time will come; it’s just not now and now is looking like a crisis waiting to happen!
But wait, Tom Friedman has the answer, unfortunately it’s the same answer he always has; impose a $1.00 additional tax on every gallon of gas to be phased in at $0.05 per month. The tax, Mr. Friedman opines, will change behaviors and investment allocations; as we all know Tom “I just love how China does things” Friedman knows best. It’s not a lack of a cohesive energy policy or anti production ideologies that are the problem, it’s your behavior. And, ‘China Tom’ opines, before the tax even kicks in that all will be well as you change your behaviors; gosh Tom, why didn’t I think of that? Mr. Friedman specifically connects the tax with the benefit that it will “help sell more Chevy Volts”; really? Invested in GM are we? While we’re on the subject when has such a tax, once applied, ever been revoked? Anyone; Friedman, anyone, Buehler?
The answer is not more taxation in a recessionary economy aimed at changing behaviors. The answer is a change in energy policy that says to the oil producing world that we’re serious about self reliance. It’s the recognition that despite a genuine desire for alternative sources, we have to get from here to there with a viable economic base in place. It’s about taking advantage of our own resources, already identified. It’s about keeping the money here. It’s about being free of Oil politics and the associated lunacy. Let China sink into energy dependence, we don’t have to!