Does anyone really think that offshore drilling will help anything?

July 18, 2008

My mother gets e-mail from the National Republican Congressional Committee because she’s convinced that she’s a Republican even though as far as I can tell she’s never voted for one and agrees with very nearly nothing that the Republicans say or do.

In any case, she forwarded me an e-mail sent out today by the NRCC on the topic of Democrats’ supposed lack of action on oil prices — to wit, that Nancy Pelosi and other Democrats in Congress are going on vacation soon and not planning to vote on offshore drilling on America’s relatively meager petroleum reserves. Offshore drilling is one of those issues that Republicans like John McCain are very fond of because they can come up with an ineffective, slapdash so-called solution that benefits big business, but does absolutely nothing to help the American consumer, and then sell it to the American consumer by appealing to the fear and ignorance of people who don’t know any better.

But some of us do know better, because it doesn’t take anything but common sense to realize that the United States needs to get off oil altogether, not just foreign oil. That’s how the Republicans like to sell it: “Let’s end our addiction to foreign oil!” Well, sure, that’s a half-step in the right direction, but you’re sticking that word “foreign” in there because of all the money you’ve taken from American oil companies. All the Republican desire to “end addiction to foreign oil” really amounts to is a desire to create a monopoly for American oil drillers.

This is a Band-Aid solution. At best, like the proposed and equally ridiculous gas tax holiday, it will have a minor, short-term effect on gas prices, while increasing demand and ultimately causing gas prices to rise — and the oil addiction to continue.

There are plenty of alternative energy sources available, and that’s what the United States needs to invest its money in. Congress shouldn’t allow this offshore drilling to push through, because all it’s going to give us is more decades of fossil fuel reliance and an even dirtier atmosphere. As we just now seem to be turning the corner toward proper care for our environment — and, indeed, for our wallets — the Republicans want to drag us right back into the dark ages of oil because that’s where their money comes from and that’s what their friends are invested in.

I call your attention to the PickensPlan, if you haven’t seen it already. The PickensPlan site has this to say about ending our reliance on oil, foreign or otherwise:

Building wind facilities in the corridor that stretches from the Texas panhandle to North Dakota could produce 20% of the electricity for the United States at a cost of $1 trillion. It would take another $200 billion to build the capacity to transmit that energy to cities and towns.

That’s a lot of money, but it’s a one-time cost. And compared to the $700 billion we spend on foreign oil every year, it’s a bargain.

We have the technology to create massive windfarms in the Midwest, and we have the technology to additionally put solar panels there, producing I-don’t-know-how-much more energy. Electric cars are on the rise again after having been killed by big oil and car manufacturers in the past. We can produce wind and solar energy practically for free after building the infrastructure; even nuclear power, as much as everyone (somewhat illogically) fears another Chernobyl and as much as disposal of waste is a problem, is much cleaner and more sustainable than fossil fuels, and is providing the electricity I’m using right now just fine, thank you very much. With all that clean fuel, we can drive around in electric cars that go plenty fast (just look at the Tesla Roadster) for pennies on the dollar compared to what we’re paying today. And we can do it for forever, or until an even better power source comes along.

This is America. We don’t stagnate, we innovate. It would be nice if the people running the country were made properly aware of that.

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10 Responses to “Does anyone really think that offshore drilling will help anything?”

  1. Ryan said

    No. We should support short term local oil solutions (NOT off-shore drilling, but there is plenty of oil under this land) and put government funding into alternative energy research, not implementation – that way it is a smoother, longer, and less costly transition. The technology isn’t good enough, although it should be, but forcing it will cause undue stress on the economy when the ‘local’ oil shortage is a fictional one. I realize that much of the oil underneath the mainland of America is too crappy to use for high quality gasoline, but much of the northern oil reserves are untapped.

  2. Murray said

    I have a small problem with the electric car. Many of them indirectly use coal, another fossil fuel, to run, thus compromising the environmental benefit to using one.

    If our dependence on coal were reduced in favor of, say, nuclear power, this complaint about the electric car would evaporate.

  3. Andrew said

    Well, Murray, that’s pretty much my contention in this post.

  4. Tom said

    I’m pretty sure the PickensPlan is a little on the sketchy side – wasn’t Pickens involved with the whole Swift Boat thing back in the day?

  5. Andrew said

    It’s correct that Pickens was a supporter of the Swift Boat Veterans for “Truth,” but that doesn’t mean that everything he says is wrong. The plan is a good one as far as wind power, although the natural gas aspect is a bit iffy.

  6. deanna said

    Ryan,
    experts say that oil in off-shore drilling will support 300-day need, will NOT affect pricing, and will be most likely be consumed by China 9they can afford to pay for it.) That is why we cannot pursue such short-sighted vision as presented by Bush administration – that is why we need both Pickens’ and Gore’s plans not just evaluated but executed! Forget off-shore unless you only have corporate oil interest vs personal integrity and vision to understand we MUST switch to electric cars and we must stop sending billions of US treasure to foreign oil countries. We help to support dictatorships from Middle East to Russia and cannot close our eyes to the consequences.

  7. Ryan said

    Deanna, I am not trying to be rude, but you need reading lessons. There is a reason I capitalized the “NOT” in my comment.

  8. Ryan said

    At the risk of being criticized for two comments in a row, I need to mention that I take issue with another part of Andrew’s original post: “This is America. We don’t stagnate, we innovate.” While this statement is impressive and even inspiring, it would be more accurate to say “This is America. We oppress motherfuckers, and aren’t even that competent at doing so.”

  9. Andrew said

    When I said that, Ryan, I was referring to my idealistic view of what America once was and should be, not to the current way of things, which is horrific stagnation and borderline fascism.

  10. Ryan said

    When I said that, Andrew, I was just pissing about. You know that I have more respect for you, intellectually, than that.

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