Monday, May 3, 2010

Oil as a Vital Component of Our Energy Policy


Lately there has been a lot of talk, especially from the left, about our nation needing to stop the drilling for oil in light of the recent oil rig disaster off the coast in the Gulf of Mexico. This altruistic vision sounds wonderful if it were not for the fact that currently we do not have a viable energy alternative that can replace what is the largest source of our nation's energy supply.

We absolutely should be looking at VIABLE alternatives to oil for our energy, and I am certain that there are plenty of people that are indeed working on this right now. The person or certain few people that come up with the most cost-effective solutions to this dilemma will transform the energy industry and indeed the entire world accordingly. They may very well become the Bill Gates of this new energy industry. What form that energy solution will take is yet to be seen and may still be decades out before it becomes a significant percentage of our nation's energy consumption.

With that being the case, like it or not, we are stuck with the vital national interest of drilling for oil to fuel our nation's economy for transportation, electricity, and heat for our homes. Far better that oil be drilled and extracted from our nation's own untapped petroleum reserves than from those nations that are not necessarily friendly or possibly even down-right hostile to America and its interests.
I would far rather have our overall safety record and lower costs of extraction, production, and shipment of oil within the United States than to have to purchase oil from a Middle Eastern dictatorship that gives a wink and a nod towards terrorism as the price for their continuing rule, or from communist tyrants in our own western hemisphere working at odds against America and freedom as is Hugo Chavez of Venezuela.

Does that mean that we drill with reckless abandon without regard for our environment and without the safety precautions necessary to ensure that such is protected? Of course not, but the left's answer in typical fashion is greater regulation and restrictions on the industry. This, of course, will only serve to make domestic oil reserves ever more costly to the American consumers thus guaranteeing that the status quo remains in our purchasing of oil from not-necessarily friendly foreign sources.

Free0352 from John Galt for President summed it up succinctly in a retort to a liberal rant on another blog that was calling for more such regulations when he said, "There are regulations on oil drilling. Lots of them actually. Didn't work now did it?"

He continued, "Accidents happen. When you damage stuff, you should have to pay for it. That's how grown ups roll. We use a little common sense. Let's pretend you're British Petroleum and you just spilled several million gallons of oil into the gulf. Guess what, you get sued by the nice people of Florida, and you get a big fine plus pay for the clean up. The end. Regulations won't end industrial accidents no matter how many rules you make. You can make a rule that I can't trip and fall but guess what.... some day I'm going to have an 'accident' and those happen- so why make rules? We only need one rule. When you hurt someone on accident, you have to pay for it".
Sounds like common sense to me. If you try to cut corners by not installing all of the more expensive safety precaution cut off valves etc to counter just such accidents, then when an accident does happen, you will be paying billions more to correct the damage you have done as a company from a standpoint of environmental impact all the way to the loss of income for the livelihoods of those ruined in such rare disastrous cases.

Oil may not be the most desired or cleanest way to provide the energy our country needs, but it is one of the most abundant and prolific, and therefore cheapest sources of that vital energy currently. Until a better solution is put forth, whether the left likes oil or not, we have to use this valuable resource. That is a fact that no amount of altruistic desires can erase. Better to deal with it and obtain that oil from domestic sources in the meantime.

4 comments:

Dave Splash said...

Explain how oil is abundant and cheap? It isn't. It is among the most expensive commodities in the world. Even if we drilled baby drilled everywhere scientists think oil is present in the US, it could maybe quench 25% of our oil thirst.

Also, no matter how much oil we drill in the US, it won't effect the price here at all, nor reduce our dependence on foreign oil. As I'm sure you know, all oil is sold on an international market. Everyone in the world that consumes oil participates in said market. The oil that BP was drilling and spilling off our our coastline would have enriched BP when they sold it on the open market. It would not have benefited the US at all, nor reduced any prices.

We need an energy source that we can produce 100% in the US with zero foreign involvement, one whose jobs cannot be outsourced, and one that is produced solely for our consumption.

Until the right puts forth a plan that meets that criteria, all you guys are doing is propping up the status quo of Middle Eastern oil cartels and enriching Iran.

My suggestion for the GOP is to abandon the pro-Iranian and Saudi plan it endorses now, stop apologizing for BP, and start focusing on our energy future instead of fixating on the past.

T. Paine said...

Dave, did you pay attention to this posting. I agree that BP should be punished with fines and the cost of clean-up etc. I never apologized for them.

Second, I acknowledge that oil is not a great idea, but until we find a VIABLE alternative that can provide comparable energy at a comparable or less price, we do not have a choice.

Lastly, you seem to lack basic economic knowledge, sir. If you increase the supply of a product so that more is available versus a constant demand, then prices will come down on the world market for oil. Again, basic supply and demand economics...

Dave Splash said...

Not really. Considering most oil is supplied by a cartel that manipulates prices. It is not simply supply and demand. Either way, we cannot produce enough to offset OPEC's price fixing.

As far as new sources of energy, every time any candidate for office talks about it they are mocked by the right. Remember, in 2008, one party's energy policy was "drill baby drill" and the other wanted to invest in wind energy, "clean coal" (which actually doesn't exist despite what coal companies and Pres. Obama claim), and other green energy initiatives.

We have to start somewhere. It won't be as if we can just walk away from oil in a second. But the plan for the move away from oil should have started 30 years ago. We could be in the midst of its full implementation by now if the oil lobby weren't so powerful.

T. Paine said...

Wind is NOT viable for any significant percentage of our nation's energy. It doesn't blow steady and continuously everywhere, and much like current photo-voltaic cells for solar power, it would take an area the size of Connecticut full of wind-turbines or solar panels simply to power a city the size of Manhattan.

The technology will invariably improve and may someday be viable. Right now this is not the case though, sir.

Besides oil, nuclear power is the only other relatively cheap and very clean source of energy we have available. Looks like we are stuck with oil for now accordingly.