Solutions to the impending energy crisis have been
slow-coming from Washington
due to partisan infighting in Congress- republicans rallying behind the
“increase supply” mantra and pushing for drilling; democrats relying on the
economic alternative “decrease demand” and pushing forth an environmentalist
agenda focused on alternative energy sources and public transportation.
Instead of working towards increasing supply by exploring America’s
drilling options and building its additional refinery capabilities,
environmentalists and liberals alike tout now as the time to develop
alternative sources of energy. While
this development would be very positive for working to alleviate American’s oil
addiction, the alternative energy options are just that: developing. Our long-term goals should certainly include
off oil; our short-term goals need to include producing more oil to more
immediately ease the pain felt by the economy.
Yet liberals oppose drilling in America due to the purported
environmental repercussions. Drilling in
ANWR would spoil the pristine condition of the unspoiled land and would disrupt
the natural wildlife and animal inhabitants of the area- same with exploring
shale oil in the Rockies. Mentioning offshore drilling conjures
references to the Santa Barbara
oil spill in ’69. Not only are
additional refineries considered unneeded, but the damage done by pollution
would be unnecessary. Yet how fair are
these arguments? The Clean Air Act,
amended in 1990, stringently regulates permits for and restricts emissions by
nuclear facilities and oil refineries. The Santa Barbara backlash led to improved offshore drilling facilities
across the industry that has yet to see another environmental disaster, more
than 30 years later.
While the work environmental agencies undertake is important
for protecting the earth against pollution, America needs to examine a
cost-benefit analysis of delaying immediate oil relief to appease these groups. The oil crisis is costing the U.S.
deeply, with severe economic repercussions as well as compromising political
implications. While urban areas offer
access to various means of public transportation, rural areas often don’t have
the infrastructure necessary to realistically implement a reliance on mass
transit- as a result, citizens in these areas have been bearing the brunt of
the impact of the oil emergency. Also,
the damage done to industries across the spectrum guarantee that the average U.S. citizen
will pay for the oil crisis- whether it’s airline prices rising, grocery prices
rising, shipping prices rising- one thing is clear: prices are rising. Coupled with this increase in prices is a
decrease in jobs; the automobile industry is facing rapid downsizing as well as
the transportation industry.
The political implications to the oil crisis are dire as
well. Congressman Mike Rogers [R, MI-8]
stated in a recent presentation on America’s
energy dependence that “…We send [Saudi Arabia] 40 million dollars
every single day. We send the Russians
about 220 million dollars every single day. We send Hugo Chavez about 180
million dollars every single day. These
are people who don’t clearly think all that highly of us.” America’s dependence on foreign oil
gives billions of U.S. dollars to countries we’d otherwise describe as our
rivals or even enemies. Not to mention
the oil-rich Middle East- it’s in the U.S.’s best interest to be capable
of supporting its own oil addiction.
has the resources to rescue the tumbling economy while preventing the soaring
gas prices- yet these solutions to the oil problem are prohibited by
environmental groups spearheading campaigns for polar bears, wielding images of
oil-soaked seagulls, and predicting a dire global meltdown.