Proposed energy bill misses the target
Matthew E. Caster
If the United States has learned one thing since Sept. 11, it is that,
with the possible exceptions of Israel and Jordan, the Middle East is not
the place to look for trusted allies. Sixteen of the 19 hijackers were
of Saudi Arabian descent.
Iran and Iraq are two governments in President Bush's "Axis of Evil"
that, if given the chance, would kill every single American on Earth if
they could. Kuwait, the same nation 500,000 Americans saved from Saddam
Hussein a decade ago, has announced sympathy for bin Laden's cause and
stated its belief that Americans seem to enjoy making war against Muslims.
It's hard to believe we still give most of these nations money. Why?
Well, they happen to be sitting on a huge lake of oil.
This week, the U.S. Senate begins debate of the Democratic proposal
for American energy policy over the next decade. The bill's primary focus
is on conservation and continuing research into high-tech energy sources,
such as solar and wind power. The bill completely tosses aside any reasonable
perception of reality, thus filling tree-huggers with glee.
This energy bill seeks to reduce American dependence on our three greatest
sources of energy: oil, coal and natural gas, which currently produce approximately
70 percent of the energy we use, a recent survey by the Federal Energy
Regulatory Commission stated.
More startling, however, was the commission's finding that even with
maximum funding and research for these "greener" energy sources, U.S. dependence
on fossil fuels would actually increase to almost 80 percent by 2020, simply
because of increased demand.
What are we supposed to do to make sure that doesn't happen? Perhaps
we should buy those new hybrid automobiles that get 78 miles per gallon
and accelerate from 0 miles per hour to 60 in 5.7 minutes. Or maybe we
should raise taxes and prices on energy, encouraging people to consume
less. Of course. Let's have the government dictate exactly how much energy
we're allowed to use.
What nonsense. While it is absolutely true that environmental concerns
need to be addressed with regard to our energy policy, pursuing this conservation-only
approach will ensure our summers are spent like California's last year.
The most sensible solution is to kill two birds with one stone. To hell
with the Middle East and that lake of crud ... Let's see if they can get
away with charging 28 bucks a barrel when we aren't buying any more. Things
will get crazy over there when American oil dollars aren't funding schools
that teach anti-Americanism.
The way to eliminate the treacherous Middle Eastern states from our
energy policy is to fill our needs by use of other sources. One potential
source is the Alaska National Wildlife Refuge, perhaps the largest untapped
energy source on earth. Survey after survey, including one last May by
the Department of Energy, has shown that well-constructed energy exploration,
collection and transportation devices have a negligible environmental impact.
The moose are happy, and we help keep our energy prices down.
If we still come up a little short, we can always buy oil from our new
buddy Vladimir Putin. Russian oil sells within Russia for about five dollars
a barrel. Take that price to the pump, and we're paying 65 cents a gallon
Of course, exploration needs to continue into alternative power sources.
Recent talk of fuel cells and cold fusion indicates that our long-term
energy needs seem to be safe right now. But until those means are totally
secure, reliable and cost-effective, our emphasis needs to be on exploration
for new sources of fossil fuels.
Conservation modes like lower speed limits, hybrid autos and solar power
can certainly help, but they just won't be enough for our nation's incredible
Besides, who wouldn't want to see that pool of black gold under the
Middle East turn into a pool of black goop? Maybe the North Koreans will
buy it or something. God bless America.