November 10, 2005


I'm sorry. Given that drilling for oil can be done in an environmentally sensitive fashion, and given the price that we pay for dependence on foreign oil, I just don't get it. I do not understand why we aren't using everything in the toolbox to break our dependence on outside energy.

Sure: conservation is part of the solution. New technologies are part of the solution. But we need to develop other options in the meantime. I don't understand the argument that "it won't solve the problem 100%, so it's not worth doing." We should be approaching this from a number of different angles.

Michelle Malkin reprinted this letter to Hastert from her reader Rick, whose blog is here (go to her site for many, many more letters from disappointed people):

I have a neighbor who is a single mother. She struggles, but she gets by with a combination of determination and hard work.

. . . .

Not too long ago she came to my wife in tears, humiliated by the need to borrow money from us; gasoline prices, you see, were high enough to break her meager budget. Thanks to your "leadership", they aren't likely to drop too far, are they?

I served in the Army as an Intelligence Analyst and served in Desert Shield/Desert Storm; I happen to know that dependence on foreign oil has a number of effects- It keeps the price higher; it makes us strategically weaker; it funnels money out of our economy; and it puts some of that money in the pockets of groups like Islamic Jihad, Hamas, and al-Qaeda.

So while the tundra of remote Alaskan coasts may not have a oil derrick, some of the money I spend on gas will be going to the creation of roadside bombs in
Iraq. So while Zarqawi may thanks you, I most emphatically do not.

People are dying because of the terrorism caused by oil money in the hands of despots and outlaw groups. While I understand that energy is essential to economic development—and development is making lives better and safer in the third world, not to mention here—I don't understand why we don't do what we can to ease the suffering just a little.

Drill ANWR. Build refineries. Now.

Posted by Attila at November 10, 2005 08:33 PM | TrackBack

You know you areinviting stupid arguments here. tis is one of those debates where there seems to be a set piece openng of dumbness tht must be waded through to get to the actual arguments, either way.

To me, the actual arguments aren't COMPELLING either way. Skipping the arguments, for me, the tiebreaker was that people in the area wanted it.

Oh, did i mention that i was living in Oregon? when i moved here about a dozen years ago, i mentioned offhandedly that i was an environmentalist. luckily my brother-in-law was able to keep me from being killed, and i had to talk my way out of it. Seems that everyone in oregon knows someone who has been hurt by environmental edicts, often to no purpose, in the end.

Oregon has a long history of environmental activism. our beaches cannot be owned, and must be available to everyone. We had the first can law.

but the feds came in and made rulse whch favored animals to the detriment of people. the timber industry was destroyed by a bird. later, new research showed that te bird was never endangered. in the last few summers, the feds have insisted that scarce water goes to save a fish, while farmers crops fail for lack of it.

You see, the federal environmenatlists, unlike the Oregon environmentalists, who looked for fair solutions, do not care about people. People are not in their job description. and this is true of the major environmental groups.

Why this long runaround?

Because, I'm afraid, my tie breaker will mean nothing to the feds or to the environmental groups. the people of the area are no concern of theirs.

Posted by: Averroes at November 11, 2005 07:40 AM

And a lot of people who don't live there fail to realize that Alaska is in a lot of ways a "poor" state. It's underdeveloped, and it's costly to live there.

They could really use this.

Posted by: Attila Girl at November 11, 2005 08:02 AM

Perhaps this specific issue could be argued either way...but the problem is that the "progressives" will oppose *any* form of energy production. Want to build a coal plant? They'll object to the pollution. Maybe gasify the coal before burning it? They'll complain about CO2. Windmills? Views and birds. Nuclear? They think it's a form of black magic. Solar? To the extent that it succeeds on a large scale, I'm confident they'll find something to object to--maybe toxic materials in the storage batteries or in the solar cells themselves.

The whole idea of *tradeoffs* is missing from the worldview of people who want to live in perpetual infantilism.

Posted by: David Foster at November 11, 2005 08:31 AM

Certainly, let's drill in the ANWR.

And let's legally and enforceable reduce oil imports, barrel-for-barrel, for each barrel we extract. After all, if the excess supply just pushes down the price and we consume more, we've managed to achieve the worst of both worlds: We're still sending money to hostile nations, and we've drilled in the ANWR, and sustained our dependence on both.


Posted by: Christophe at November 11, 2005 12:51 PM

No. But thank you for playing.

It is interesting that most charges of hypocrisy leveled at either the left or the right can be flipped; I check myself using this "mirror technique" all the time. You appear to be wondering whether I'd go along with measures that would ensure prices stay high, to makes sure the economic incentives were there for conservation and development of other options.

I think the incentives are clear enough, for anyone who's lived through both the 1970s and the double-aughts (the present decade).

But I've always wondered why my local public radio stations bemoan high gasoline prices in one hour, and then discuss why we aren't developing alternatives the next.

Personally, I adore rail and cars with high gas mileage. Don't tell my friends, 'kay?

Posted by: Attila Girl at November 11, 2005 10:22 PM

I think I have entered Bizarro Earth. Republicans are saying that the price of a commodity has to be adjusted downwards by statist intervention in order to avoid hurting the poor and to achieve foreign policy goals. This sounds like a Chirac speech.

The only thing that will cause alternatives to oil to be developed is high oil prices. This is not exactly a revolutionary notion; markets work on price signals. When oil prices go up, alternatives become economical; when oil prices fall, alternatives become uneconomical and the economy drops them like a rock.

This is why OPEC isn't happy at all about the current price spike: OPEC knows full well that the fastest way to get the world off the oil habit is to make oil so expensive that the alternatives look good. Tactically, they're rolling in it, but they've been here before, and seen the result. (In fact, we all are: Saudi Arabia's declining ability to buy off its youth with pseudo-jobs was one of the big creators of radical Islamists in the 1990s.) They'd much rather keep the price moderate so that there is no incentive to do anything but suck up crude. As the oil execs said, they think in decades.

Of all of the reasons that oil has gotten more expensive right now (instability over Iran, the Iraq war, China and India's growth, refinery undercapacity, Katrina and Wilma, etc.), the lack of the ANWR supply is about #3,135. ANWR is a trivial make-work project dressed up in energy patriotism.

A memory of a previous shock does exactly nothing to provide incentives to develop alternatives; a glance at the average fuel efficiency of an American car since the late 1970s will show that, well, graphically. Price increases, though, work wonders, as world+dog rushes to squeeze crude out of Canadian oil sands that couldn't have gotten themselves arrested five years ago.

I'm 100% in favor of sending less money to Saudi Arabia, et al. And this price spike is the best thing that's ever happened for that.

Posted by: Christophe at November 12, 2005 05:22 PM

Why didn't the 1970's propel us to alternative energy sources?

Short and simplistic answer:

CAFE standards.

Posted by: Averroes at November 13, 2005 04:03 PM

Share photos on twitter with Twitpic "Let the issues be the issue.

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