Drillusion

At times, we might forget that there are a good number of very bright, extremely dedicated, and fundamental people working in Congress. Elected officials and staff. Our funding system that seems to drive member after member to be begging, tin in cup, for funds can make the entire process look open to purchase.  The traditional media mania for ever lower quality reporting magnifies this, making foolish shallowness the norm.  Reality is far from this and it is worthwhile at times to take a moment to consider that reality. 

An e-mail came into me today that reminded me of this, a letter with perhaps the best single word I’ve seen to summarize Republican truthiness when it comes to energy issues but a letter with substance.

Drillusion

Thank you  Representative Earl Blumenauer. 

Americans deserve better …

What is the challenge?

After seven years of dangerous energy policies, Oregon families are reeling from the effects of rising gas prices. Americans deserve better than political posturing from an administration that continues to serve up a failed energy policy, and pushing for increased drilling on our public lands is their newest deceitful maneuver.

Drilling does not address our near term challenges in anyway when it comes to energy supply and it does next to nothing even in the longer term.  The Republican gamesmanship is getting to an extreme, with too many cooperative traditional media and the right-wing sound machine helping to whip up a storm.  It is past time to be angry.
This is not only a hoax, but pure “drillusion.”
Drillusion.
Earl, I think you’ve nailed this one.
Just what is the substance behind the R mania?
Opening up new public lands to drilling can take anywhere from 10-20 years to produce oil, yet I know you need relief today.
Americans (“Oregon families”) require “relief” and assistance now, not decades from now.
What do the oil companies want out of this?
Oil companies already hold leases on 68 million acres of public lands but are NOT drilling. Instead of exercising the opportunities they have, they are trying to accrue additional drilling leases in the Arctic and along our coasts.  This is not a solution; this is only a continuation of the same disastrous policies that fail to address our growing crisis.
 We face oil prices that are devastating our economy, a result from the failure to do anything to address Peak Oil. We face ever mounting threats of catastrophic climate change.  What do the Republicans wish to do?  Drillusion to drill the hole deeper.
When the hole is deep, what is the first thing to do? Stop digging. 
We have an oil addiction.  It is time to think about ending the addiction rather than feeding it.
But, there are steps in the near term that can provide some breathing space of somewhat moderated energy prices while taking serious steps away from that addiction.
There are immediate steps we can take to alleviate the impact of rising gas prices. For instance, we can rein in speculators, which add $5 to $50 to the price of a barrel of oil.
Notice that uncertainty: “$5 to $50″.  It seems quite plausible that the massive speculation in the oil markets are fostering higher prices. Reality: we simply don’t know how much. Various elements of tension (such as warfare and military threats in the Persian Gulf region) are quite likely fostering a higher element of the cost level. Reality: the full true drivers of oil prices are unknown, though this author thinks that the main drivers are the realities of Peak Oil limiting supply in the face of ever mounting demand.
But, in the near term, amid the economic tensions, we can moderate prices even as taking the steps to move off oil.
We can also reduce the cost of gas by releasing some of the oil stored in our Strategic Petroleum Reserve (SPR). Currently at 97 percent capacity, the SPR is the largest emergency supply in the world. Three presidents have done this in the past, cutting the cost of oil by as much as a third.
With the resources from releases from the SPR, which would moderate prices, we can start to take action for change.
 
In addition to short term help, we need to make wise investments in our transportation system. This will not only address the energy crisis, but it will create thousands of new jobs and boost our sagging economy.
 
Sigh.
Thinking about how to help people tomorrow while setting the stage to help them (and their children) even more tomorrow.
Who would have ever thought that was what government was about?
Oh, right, Democratic Party members of Congress.
Recently I introduced a bill, the “Transportation and Housing Choices for Gas Price Relief Act,” that would immediately reduce the impact of high gas prices.
What does the Oregonian have to say about Earl’s bill?

It’s a smart bill. More members of Congress should be seriously discussing such ideas instead of spinning their wheels in a politically motivated debate over more offshore oil drilling. While it’s a long-term debate worth having — more exploration and drilling might help the nation’s future strategic position — as a route to lower fuel prices it goes nowhere. The expanding global economy has ended the era of cheap fuel in America. Today, the cheapest gallon of gas is the gallon you don’t have to buy. Blumenauer’s farsighted bill would help more Americans avoid that painful purchase.

I’ve met Earl. He is a thoughtful person, working hard to create a path forward toward a better present and future for Oregonians, Americans, and, as well, the larger world.   
While I don’t necessarily agree with every element and wish there were some additional items, compared to Drillusion, it is a fundamentally sound policy.   And, much of what he recommends are elements that are part of any sensible move forward, such as “help[ing] Americans cope with rising energy costs by providing transportation options, such as incentives for commuting by carpooling, public transit, and bicycling, as well as telecommuting.”
 
Although there is no silver bullet for solving the complex energy problem, we can take action now to make sure that Oregon’s families receive the assistance they need.  Ten to twenty years is far too long to wait for a solution that was needed decades ago, and I will continue working on common sense approaches that will prepare us for an oil-independent future.

 “No silver bullet for solving the complex energy problem …” Yes. Earl. You are right.

And, not only “we can take action now,” we must.

Earl is right, we can not wait decades “for a solution that was needed decades ago.”

I, for one, am glad that Earl Blumenauer is representing Oregonians, and the rest of us (the rest of the US), in the US House of Representatives to “continue working on common sense approaches that will prepare us for an oil-independent future.”

 

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2 responses to “Drillusion

  1. Pingback: Apollo Daily Digest » Blog Archive » August 11, 2008: Could The Offshore Oil Debate Force A Federal Shutdown?

  2. I just ran across this post today and thought you might be interested in some more information about the current energy crunch. Here at The Wilderness Society, we’ve been compiling quite a lot of info that you might find useful for a future post. Hopefully we can talk a little more about the opportunities via email (Andrew_Peters ‘at’ tws.org). I’m looking forward to hearing from you.

    In the meantime, you might want to check out a couple links:

    http://www.wilderness.org/gasprices/

    http://wilderness.org/Library/Documents/upload/ExpertsOnOilPrices.pdf

    Best,
    Andy

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