Friday, June 20, 2008

Rough Necks or Stiff Necks -- To Drill Now or Not!

"If congressional leaders leave for the 4th of July recess without taking action, they will need to explain why $4-a-gallon is not enough incentive for them to act. And Americans will rightly ask how high oil-how high gas prices have to rise before the Democratic-controlled Congress will do something about it." President Bush Speech, June 18, 2008.
I intended to begin my arguments with quotes from my favorite columnist, but I could not pass on President Bush's gem from this past week. Since the President links the high gasoline prices with the drilling restrictions he wants lifted, it necessary follows the President believes the relaxation of restrictions will result in the lowering of gasoline prices. With full realization I may offend hyper-sensitive conservatives, that rhetoric either shows his ignorance or at least his willingness to pander for the oil industry. The drill, drill, drill refrain we hear from the oil controlled Administration is why we do not have a comprehensive energy plan for his country. Although the President wants immediate action because of the high price of gasoline even he admits his proposals "will take years to have their full impact." Are we supposed to take this seriously?
This argument will not have anything to do with the virtures of the environment versus our need for oil. My position goes way beyond this level. My concern is plainly and simply with the ever present shrill to find more oil when the real focus ought to be how do we actually get away from oil. Our continued dependence on oil is the real threat to national security and destroying more undeveloped areas will not remove that threat.
Rightzilla, as a loyal conservative, will argue there are two components, increasing supply and decreasing demand both of which need to be addressed. She is also likely to argue we need to start somewhere and that somewhere is with more drilling to buy time for the development of other alternatives. The problem is we do not need more time just to avoid the inevitable. We need to start weaning ourselves off oil and we can do that only be reducing our demand for oil not by drinking more.
There is no doubt numerous links that cite to what is believed to be enormous domestic reserves believed available to reduce our dependence on Middle East oil. There arguments are illusory. First, it is hard to believe the pie in the sky estimates when the amount of known reserves keeping getting decreased by the experts. The amount of reserves is a very inaccurate science. And excuse me for not believing the scientific "intelligence" the Administration is getting from the oil industry. I am afraid the amount of reserves will end up like the weapons of mass destruction that prompted our entry into Iraq-a figment of the Administration's imagination. Secondly, the amount of the reserves will buy us little time. Increasing domestic production without addressing our insatiable demand will only result in a quicker depletion of our reserves. How much time are we really buying without addressing the primary concern?
It is an absolute joke to suggest drilling restrictions are the cause of the record setting oil prices or that the elimination of those restrictions is the cure. The restrictions were in existence last year when the price of gasoline was over $1.00 per gallon less. Oil shale reserves appear to offer some hope, but the technology is still many years away, which offers no immediate help. Additionally, 80% of off shore reserves are open for drilling, all of which are not being fully exploited today. If all areas are not being used how will 20% more area be helpful?
I submit the amount of money proposed to be spent on opening new reserves would be better spent on developing renewable resources, energy efficient automobiles or mass transit systems. The Administration response-shut down efforts to develop solar energy. With these actions please do not try to convince us the Administration wants to reduce our dependence on oil. We need to find alternatives that will not just delay the inevitable, but rather will eliminate our need for foreign oil. As long as the Administration continues to be a shill for the oil industry we will never divert the necessary resources to the development and implementation of energy alternatives.
If we want to explore the economic factors resulting in the recent spiraling cost of oil we should start with the economics of oil company mergers like ExxonMobil and the trading market. How much competition exists in the American market today when so few companies control an overwhelming market share? These practices result in uncompetitive practices and price-gouging. Every wonder why the prices always climb more steeply and quickly than they decrease?
Loopholes for oil companies to drill on our public lands need to be closed. A windfall profits tax should be imposed in order to prevent predatory practices. Tax breaks for oil companies that continue to get wealthier at the expense of the American consumer need to stop. These added revenues should be earmarked for research and development for alternative energy sources or technologies designed to reduce our demand for oil. We also need to impose strict gas mileage standards. We are long past the time of thinking more oil is all we need. We need a comprehensive energy policy and I fear we will never be forced to change our demand as long as we have an Administration that believes the only answer is to find new oil. Blocking new exploration may be the only way to bring the oil industry to the table. Let us start there!
Should we drill. There are many reasons given not to: “we cannot drill our way out of this….” “ANWAR is too precious to destroy by drilling oil…..” “There is already enough land on which leases exist to provide our needs without involving additional leases.”

The first order of business is to get out of the fog of sound bites ringing back and forth across the isle and take the issue of drilling head on. I have a
2007 Honda Pilot sitting in my driveway. I travel 20 miles each way to work five days a week. I make various other trips on the weekend to coffee, shopping, errands, dog training, church, visit the folks and other typical activities many people have incorporated into their life style. I paid close to $90.00 at the Shell station next to my office Monday night. It was a higher price than most stations, but I was on fumes. Would it be nice not to turn loose of a “C” note every time I fill-er-up? Sure it would be. Especially since nobody is washing the bugs off my windshield with each tank full since I don’t live in Oregon. But who is to blame that the price is high, and is it a fault the government needs to address? Fundamentally, it is free market and speculation that sets the price. Well, and perhaps a few of those who would rather see us dead controlling the barrel prices over seas. And were that the end of the story, I would say resoundingly NO!! to the intervention of government. But because government is already entrenched in the oil that fuels this nation, they must now participate in the fix to the dilemma they…..yes, they……created.

The nation is crying for cheaper gas. But because of environmental restriction imposed through governmental regulation, we cannot simply get it. We continually kowtow to the histrionics of beyond the pale environmentalists’ wincing when any microbe is infringed on by human existence that we have lost our collective rational minds! Time to take a big slap in the face and come to our senses drill for oil, research alternative energy sources, commend conservationism and say goodbye to a few species whose demise will go unnoticed. Instead of sitting around bemoaning that it will be ten years before we see results, only to find ourselves sitting around in ten years bemoaning that it will take ten years to see results, crank up the rigs and let it rip! After all, whether you believe in GOD or not, Genesis got it right:

Genesis 1:26 states that “God said, Let us make man in our image, after our likeness: and let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over the cattle, and over all the earth, and over every creeping thing that creepeth upon the earth.” Sounds like the best plan to me and that does not mean we are the bad guy for wanting to live instead of those over whom we have dominion. All of this is to say that we can sit on our hands and watch our own existence diminish to nothingness because we feel guilty for having cognative reasoning skills not shared by beast and bird, or we can do what we need to…..DRILL, BABY, DRILL!
CounterCoulter's Response:
I wish we used more "cognitive" skills instead arguing we should drill just because we can because we have complete dominion over the earth. I have a better idea. Why don't we kill every living creature, insect and bug, because we can? Dig a hole several thousand feet deep, because we can. Bury all the remains under tons of earth, because we can and wait for the heat and pressure to cook the organic material into more oil fields so we can do more drilling, just because we can. Everyone knows we should always do things just because we can. Rightzilla, I must disagree that such behavior demonstrates our cognitive ability.
If we are going to rely on biblical quotes, why stop the dominion discussion with Genesis 1:26. What about Genesis 3:16? "To the woman [God] said, 'I will greatly multiply your pain in childbearing; in pain you shall bring forth children, yet your desire shall be for your husband, and he shall rule over you.'" Interesting twist on the dominion argument.
Why don't we take a step back from religion and ask ourselves how intelligent is it to adopt a "drill baby drill" mentality? Your argument is centered on the premise more drilling will solve our energy problems and in support you rely on the words of Newt Gingrich, who titled his article "Report From Norway: Why They Don't Have an Energy Crisis and We Do?
In many respects I agree with Mr. Gingrich. I too wish we were more like Norway, but not like Mr. Gingrich thinks. Maybe Norway does not have a energy crisis because almost all of Norway's electricity comes from hydroelectric generation. Their reliance on clean energy results in Norway ranking 58th in the world in the amount of carbon dioxide emissions. What a novel approach, using clean energy sources to achieve energy independence, just like Norway. Despite these observations, Newt's take is that we need to emulate Norway's stance on off shore drilling. What Newt fails to comprehend is that off shore drilling works for Norway but necessarily for uss because the US consumes the same amount of oil in four days as Norway uses in an entire year. Can we build a big enough straw to suck out all the oil we need to meet our insatiable demands?
Rightzilla also argues the cost of gasoline is just a reflection of the free market system. More oil, more gasoline, lower costs. Please read your own reference materials. "Crude oil prices are determined by worldwide supply and demand, with significant influence by [OPEC]." The oil industry is far from being a true free market system because the supply can be controlled by an organized group without influence by normal market factors. We are the captives and will continue to be so as long as we kowtow to the wishes of the oil industry. The other point Rightzilla glosses over in her own reference materials is the statement "increased demand for gasoline and other refined products in the United States and the rest of the world is also exerting upward pressure on crude oil prices." Her solution to keep pace with the increased demand is simply more drilling because we can.
Reducing our demand for oil is not going to be easy. This difficulty is why conservatives want to take the easy approach and suggest we just need to drill more. I am "sick and tired" of the easy approaches, the one line catch phrases that cater to the simple minded and the attempt to cloak everything with biblical passages no matter how ridiculous the position because you cannot argue with the bible. Way to stick with the usual conservative agenda driven by the religious right. I have strong religious values, but oddly I am at a loss to find any biblical passage that is even remotely helpful in analyzing modern economic theory. Please enlighten me. For a conservative, when all else fails, just cite the bible.
I recognize my suggestions for a comprehensive energy policy will not lower the price of gasoline over the short term any more than drilling will. It just amazes me the President and Rightzilla actually believe we can do more drilling to bring down the cost of gas as if drilling can actually start tomorrow. Linking the two is ridiculous. The focus needs to be on what is the best LONG TERM policy. I submit less dependence on ANY oil is the better solution. The conservative position is to think we need to drill to become less dependent on FOREIGN oil. I am tired of riding that one trick pony.
A sensible approach to increasing domestic supplies should be explored, but I for one refuse to discuss any increase until we start addressing in real terms ways to reduce our dependence on oil, foreign or domestic. I applaud any effort to fight any measure that will give the oil industry more control over our economy and our national security. God grant us the resolve to make those hard choices.
So. The rhetoric continues with really nothing new under the sun. CC rails about pandering to the oil companies and bases this on the fact that Bush wants to drill despite the fact there is time involved in actually getting from the oil extraction point to my SUV, or to a lesser degree his GREEN car. I do not see anything in his comprehensive energy mantra to suggest that the alternatives will give us a return on our efforts any faster. T. Boone Pickens, arguably the most knowledgable man in the energy industry is running a bazillion dollars worth of adds regarding wind farms. I support wind farms. let's build them and see if they can get above 1% of the energy supply they currently are in any less time than getting that Texas Tea. Meanwhile, get off our thumbs and drill. Furthermore, as far as the Bush administration pandering, problems with regulation on wind farms is state born , not federally imposed. Picken's private energy company is being capped regarding output by Texas, not the Feds. One problem we have with any inginuity in this country is local Politburoocrats imposing regulation, much of the time driven by environmental interests. So just how are we to develop new modes of energy when the libs stand in the road and block it at every turn? In Ellensburg Washington and at Martha's Vinyard they worry about the lack of asthetics and birds flying into the blades of the turbines. Wonder if the little dutch boy, while standing with his finger in the hole in the Dyk ever looked over his shoulder to see the windmills taking out the bird population of his country.
Another thing that sticks in my craw is the lemming like acceptance of the proposition that oil is NOT a renuable resource. While this may draw the ire of CC, recent research suggests that oil is itself renewing. This information, as the article points out is not well publicized who is pandering to whom? Seems more likely that the activist/anarchist/militant faction of the far left is far more culpable regarding the sad state of energy than is W. Personally, I liked it better when they were throwing blood on fur. That didn't cost me the way, where did they get that blood?
Some researchers say that extracting oil from the continental shelf reap results in as little as 1.5 - 2 years. This is important because if true, the far left is out of gas. Not to mention the implications if hydro-carbons do regenerate. These increimental resource "takings" under the guize of conservation must stop. The sky is NOT falling, but they got the flourocarbons out of my hairspray. The spotted owl is alive and well in a barn in Cle Elum, Washington and the drilling and use of oil should not make us feel as a periah.