Wednesday, December 21, 2005

"Instead of Drilling for Oil, Tap our Minds."

In a USA-Today op-ed that is breathtakingly clueless even by the standards of the US Senate, Senator Maria Cantwell (D-WA) lays out her opposition to drilling in ANWR. And she is aptly named for the task, because her opposition is nothing but disingenous cant for her constituents in Washington State (aka, a place so full of leftist environmental nuts that ELF and ALF are actually taken seriously, rather than derided as the crack-brained terrorists they are).

Thus, we get to enjoy patronizing schlock like this:

....the fight to protect the refuge today is also a fight to
confront our national priorities for tomorrow. Those who limit this discussion
to caricatured arguments about the competing value of oil reserves and protected
lands are irresponsible. We must ask hard questions.
Yes, we must, starting with why on earth you think that actually addressing economic questions in economic terms is irresponsible... why is it irresponsible to limit the discussion to whether ANWR has any value as a wildlife reserve? Perhaps b/c it's not the photogenic Garden of Eden Borealis that folks would like to make it out to be?

Realizing that God gave America less than 3% of the world's
remaining oil, would we rather gamble on the future goodwill of unfriendly
Middle East regimes, or bet instead on American ingenuity and investment?
WTF, over?
1. It's not a binary choice, idiot. That rhetoric went stale with the Soviets.
2. Who cares where the rest of the world gets its oil supply?
3. Personally, I'd prefer to bet on the American ingenuity of ANWR oilmen...

Drilling advocates argue that we ignore the need for an immediate
boost to domestic oil supply. But their arguments ignore the facts: Opening the
refuge would do little to meet our energy needs and nothing to reduce
Hrm... now, Ms. Cantwell, I know that you're in the Senate, but might I interest you in my two friends from Economics 101, Supply and Demand? Or, would that be irresponsible?

Not one drop would come from the refuge for 10 years. At its peak,
drilling would cut our reliance on imports by only 4 percentage points and the
price of gas by just one penny.

Therefore, Senator, since ANWR isn't a magic wand that will instantly right the world, it shouldn't be done? Personally speaking, I like the idea of being 4% less dependent upon the toad-like House of Saud, not to mention Cubazuela. However, since we're bandying numbers, let's put a number out there: $10,000,000. That's the annual gas savings to America, using the Senator's numbers, assuming that there are only 100 million vehicles in America, that they only need to be fueled once per month, and that they only need to have 10 gallons put in them during fueling. (Nice round numbers so Mme. Senator won't get confused.)

Others claim it can't hurt. They're wrong: It would hurt badly. Oil
companies drilling on the neighboring North Slope have caused, on average, 504
spills annually since 1996. They have released almost 2 million gallons of toxic
substances, most commonly diesel, crude and hydraulic oil. Just one spill can
significantly damage this fragile ecosystem.

Yeah, and just one cigarette in a bar will cause a Dallas Democrat to fall dead on the spot from second-hand-smoke. The Senator has obviously been reading too many letters from her friends in the touchy-feely Eden Borealis club again... either way, the Alaskan oilmens' record is pretty darned good, judging by the absolute explosion of the caribou population.
The plan before Congress could make matters worse.

Could? Could make matters worse? You don't even have the spine to say "no sir, don't like it, here's why?" Come on, Senator, you're supposed to be pretending to be wise so that you can represent six and a half million people in Washington State. Do some pushups or something and grow a pair so you can play with the big boys and girls.
Not only would it hijack defense funding that our troops desperately need, this plan would also
circumvent many federal laws — safeguards with which every American business has
to comply.
Which laws? Put up, or shut up and admit you're conjuring a scare tactic from the ether. Can we pass some rules to get the rest of the American business out from underneath some of these rules, too? Or better yet, get Congress to actually review the effectiveness of the regulations it's already passed? And, you're a Senator, so you know better than to pull that defense-funding b.s.: since 1963, the only thing hijacking defense funding is Democratic Senators.

We have other choices. We should empower our farmers to grow
cost-competitive biofuels, and we should produce cars that let Americans get
more miles to the gallon.

Which won't do dick to drop oil prices, given that the rest of the world is going through a giant surge in oil demand known as "we'd like to take part in modernity, too." And biofuels are nice, so far as they go, but they're NOT cost-competitive per unit of energy in spite of vast Congressional "empowerment." And if you actually attended the briefings on the Energy and National Resources Committee in which you serve, you'd know that.

By tapping our nation's spirit of innovation, we would stabilize
prices, expand supply and reduce the burden on so many hard-working families. By
investing in alternative fuels and new technology, America could cut its oil use
in half and do far more to secure our energy independence than drilling in the
Alaska wildlife refuge ever could.

Again, we already ARE investing in alternative fuels, and alternative means of producing fuels. None of them are ready for prime time, and many of them will never form effective oil substitutes. We've got biofuels, Fischer-Tropf synfuels, tar sands, hydrogen.... all kinds of innovation already going on.

In the mean time, let's tap our nation's much more noble spirit of telling members of the Political Class to stick it in their ear, and let hard-working people who want to get to work get to it, so that everybody profits and Senator Cantwell can engage in disingenuous cant on whatever else fascinates her this week, like scrapbooking in the rain forest.

No comments: