Saturday, July 19, 2008

Digging our way out of a hole.

"To put it plainly, T. Boone Pickens is out to save America,"

-Carl Pope, Executive Director, Sierra Club

While I freely admit that I am far from ever being the sharpest knife in any drawer I did have to pause and again wonder about my fellow countrymen and women lately. The “Current Occupant” of the White House saw fit to try and once again bully Congress to give one final gift to his friends in the energy business in the form of allowing oil drilling off American shores. Never mind that in many countries a man holding office with his approval ratings would be sweating at night worried over a possible coup most in the Democratic controlled Congress have never received delivery of their spines and have been more than willing to bend over an squeal like a piggy on a regular basis.

Seeing fit to take advantage of those spongy folks in Congress Bush spoke on television recently about how he had dropped the executive order issued by Daddy Bush barring offshore drilling and began asking the public to put pressure on their congressional leaders to force them to rescind one passed by an earlier Congress. The reasons he gave were what gave me pause to wonder about the old conspiracy theories that said fluoride in drinking water was a commie plot to undermined American will making them placid cattle subject to control.

Our esteemed and respected president citing a CNN report is quoted:

WASHINGTON (CNN) -- President Bush lifted an executive order banning offshore oil drilling on Monday and urged Congress to follow suit. Citing the high prices Americans are paying at the pump, Bush said from the White House Rose Garden that allowing offshore oil drilling is "one of the most important steps we can take" to reduce that burden. However, the move is largely symbolic as there is also a federal law banning offshore drilling.

"This means that the only thing standing between the American people and these vast oil reserves is action from the U.S. Congress," Bush said.

My bewilderment in all this is that it will take years before any of this oil makes it to market. Leases have to be sold, exploration rigs will drill many dead holes before finding any substantial oil, and all sorts of logistical issues have to be settled as rigs and people are put in place. For shits and giggles and to avoid a conflict of interest, I won’t even touch on my environmental concerns. Because when the high paid energy company lackeys in the media swear up and down they can drill without screwing up the oceans and coastal environments I don’t believe them for a minute. However, if drilling did take place demand is growing at an astronomical rate in countries like China and India and our own demand for the black crack is not about to slow down even with the new found popularity in hybrids and SUV’s being sold for close to nickels on the dollar. So if anyone is buying the argument that drilling off American shores will bring back the glory days of 2.50$ gallon of gas I have some used charcoal that I should be able to sell them as diamonds. If they bought into Bush’s con job of solving our energy addiction by drilling for even more oil they will buy into anything.

Once again I have bumped into another guy who has a plan that could end our addiction to oil, help the environment, and allow us to pull down our pants and instead of squealing like a pig for the assorted fruits and nuts of OPEC tell them to kiss our ass. But, as always, it’s just the question of getting the amorphous mass of the Mr. and Mrs. Middleclass to stop whining and do something.


Vigilante said...

Beach, for these GOP-ers, the only tool they have in their tool box is a drill, so it's not surprising that they think that all any problem confronting them can be solved with a hole.

Vigilante said...

A thread on this subject has opened up on the Wizard's Site.

Mike said...

There is not one single answer to our current dilemma. There are many. More drilling without more refineries won't do us (America) much good. Wind, solar, nuclear, and water currents are all good sources. So is coal when it can be burned cleanly.

The biggest help would be if we could find a way to run our cars on something else. What a huge difference that would make--worldwide.

Plus, it would put the towel-heads back on camels where they belong.

Vigilante said...

Yeah, whassup with the refineries? How come with all these peak profits, big oil can't build more refineries? Can't or won't?

Beach Bum said...

Vigil: One of my biggest issues with oil is that for better or worse I believe that CO2 emissions are indeed causing global warming. The ramifications of global warming are even admitted by the military as a major National Security concern. I feel very uncomfortable having the American lifestyle be the cause of so much pain and suffering to so much of the rest of humanity.
Given my recent anti-Hillary rants at MadMike's site and the fact that Ann Courlter is one of the few (to use a term loosely) human beings that makes my skin crawl even worse than Hilldog I will more than likely leave his post alone. Right now I'm just not in the mood to rant again.

Mike: My earlier post in which I linked to a Scientific American article that proposed using huge solar energy facilities to end our dependency on imported oil did have the drawback of depending exclusively on power from the sun and transmitting through out the country. If my brain has not once again failed, T. Boone Picken's plan does draw from more than one source. Hopefully once I send my son to bed and shut down the damn Guitar Hero I can read deeper into what he proposes. But from what I already understand I do like his ideas on using wind, natural gas, and solar. Like you said though there will not be one answer to our energy problems and further drilling may have to be done. Also, like you I have a major desire to put OPEC and that bastard Hugo Chavez out of business.

Beach Bum said...

Vigil: Probably a little of both although I honestly have no idea which could be the greater issue.

the WIZARD, fkap said...

Beach, I'm glad to see the discussion broaden and spread. Your commments are good and viewpoint valid. We agree on much, but not all the issues.

My grave copncern is that energy problem is so much bigger than we imagine, and it's implcations so much broader.

A friend of mine, a restaurant cook with over 20 years at the same job is now being forced to walk to work. This isn't a joke. She is far from a minimum wage worker, but as a single mother, she lives on a damned tight budget. Food costs are up 30%. She is trying to get kids through school. And her work is only two hours from her home. And it's only about 95 degrees when she walks home in the afternoon.

This isn't some latte drinking, SUV driving, country club Republican. This is a black ,Obama supporting, real American who sees her life slipping away.

I'm very frustrated that we have gridlock in Congress that is stopping 100% of all solutions.

It is time for real leadership and genuine compromise that includes development of alternative resources, tightened CAFE standards, alternative fuels, alternative energy sources (including nuclear), and increasing domestic oil supply.

I am literally writing about this every day. I'm working on a new essay right now. In addition to the link vigilante provided above (in which I severly criticize Nancy Pelosi), you can read my multifaceted comments at this link: The Energy Crisis Essays. I've been equally hard on both parties and all politicians.

Vigilante said...

Wizard, I expected your link to lead me to a site other than your. My mistake or yours?

Anonymous said...

i think the same...biggest need of the hour is to reduce our dependence on petrol...we nned to find sumthing else... !!!


Re Vig's "any problem confronting them can be solved with a hole."

They should be told that when in a a bind, they should stop diggin a hole!


Hiya Beach,

Thanks for the good wishes. Might not be able to access blogs where I'll go for a good two weeks or so so here's to looking at you kid.

Btw, I dropped a message over at my blog for you but reckon, best is to re-post it here:

Hi Beach,

Thanks loads!

I hope you manage to convince Dragonwife and enjoy a beach holiday soon.

This gas problem sure is making us all think about the future, isn't it? Funny you mentioned tiny gas sipper of a car -- been thinking of that too; last week in Rouen I test drove an electric car on display. Tiny car, cute too -- was tempted to get one for fear that this gas problem would stay for a wee while. Problem is it wouldn't go more than 70kms an hour (50 in miles I think)at top speed!!!! Heh!

Look forward to reading your SC holiday stories soon!

4:32 AM

Colonel Colonel said...

The problem is that the current occupants of the White House are not American-loyal, their-Big oil Company loyal, and will do anything they can to sustain the profits of their pals (and themselves) for as long as they possibly can.

And once we do finally shift to solar or wind, if they're in power again they'll find a way that us folks can't use either to generate power, but still have to buy it from the Big Power companies.

MadMike said...

Oil has long been the staple for energy in the world. It is hard to break old habits, especially when they have made so many so rich for so long. Until the alternative sources mentioned by Pickens, i.e. natural gas, equals the wealth that is inherent in drilling for oil I don't see anyone in this government in a hurry to make changes.

Randal Graves said...

I'm with madmike on what will likely happen. Until alternative energy sources produce profit like oil does for Exxon, et al, change is going to be exceedingly difficult, unless something catastrophic and immediate happens that forces enough Americans to severely curtail their lifestyle. $10 gas, perhaps.

Beach Bum said...

Wizard: I largely agree with you. All sorts of different avenues will have to be used to both end our dependence on imported oil and to address environmental concerns. While my wife, being a lawyer, interacts a great deal with those who to a great degree have a nice financial buffer during these times; I one the other am strictly blue collar and know many in the hospital I work who have been struggling for far longer than just since the media began to notice.
It goes beyond just having to give up the idea of having a vacation but whether daddy will have enough money to drive to and from work.
Like you wrote it will take compromise, leadership, and just the plain awaking that there is a problem because many still to this day don't worry about what is going on because it has yet to affect them.

Vishvsambyal: I have high hopes that further development of hybrid vehicles will help bridge the gap.

Hillblogger: Toyota has a tiny thing called the Yaris here that I'm pushing my wife for us to buy. My mother-in-law, always willing to throw road blocks into any plan and a republican, had to add during this discussion that I couldn't possibly fit inside such a small car. I can't help but wonder if such a presumption prevents more people from buying small cars. If a tiny car can get me to the ebach more often I will find a way to fold my tall frame into it.

Colonel: I agree, I'm sure Cheney would have a heart attack to prevent his buddies and he from being pushed out of the power they hold.

MadMike and Randal: While you bring up valid points I see this as more of a Manhattan or Apollo project in which the power of both the government and private industry are brought to bear to solve the problem. And more than likely if such a movement could be organized the government would have to use the big stick on those in the private sector who would work against the effort. That is why I don't see this having much of a chance, but you have to try. But if we don't engage and move to solve this problem America doesn't have much of a chance to be a factor in the world. Oh well, maybe the Chinese will be kind to us when they take up the mantle of leading global power. But the kicker is those in power that saw the United States fall and either did nothing or worked to protect their personal or family interests as it fell will jump like rats to a safer ship as the rest of us sink. I write this since I continue to hear stories that the Bush family has bought a bunch of land in South America.

Randal Graves said...

I'm with you that we should definitely try, because we all know where NOT trying will probably lead us.

And as much as it pains some of those 'free market' zealots, sometimes the only entity with the weight to get something done is the government. Of course, it doesn't help when many assume that going green can't be profitable.

Utah Savage said...

Frankly I don't give a crap if T Boone Pickens has a stake in making money on wind and solar technologies. I want the big move to begin NOW. I also want to BuchCo/Halliburton war profiteers to go to Gitmo or the World Court. These creeps are guilty of War Crimes and Crimes Against Humanity. They are also selling America to anyone willing to buy it chunk by chunk.

Beach Bum said...

Randal: To a great extent I'm all for the free market when someone has a new invention and or new idea. But like you I've met more than a few who somehow believe that the free market is the be all and end all of how things should brought out to the public. I may be using far too board a brush in painting free market types but I find most of their objections in not going with a Apollo-like project to get us off imported oil just conflicting with their interests.

Utah: I'm with you, anything that could cut our dependence on imported oil along with cutting the balls off of those who have gained so much these last eight years.

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Keshi said...

I hv basically stopped using my car for trips I really can walk or catch the train to.

I can only do my part. :)


Nitu said...

Walk guyz, walk..good for health, good for the planet.
More than inflation, we need to act towards saving the planet. Good that some souls are striving constantly for that.

Distributorcap said...

in europe i saw HUNDREDS of windmills -- while not the only answer, it is one ---- but for some people (like the rich folk of the hamptons) -- it will block their view

there will NEVER be any security or even future if we keep transfering all our wealth to Dubai and Kuwait

enigma4ever said...

I love the idea of WIND's a great idea...and DOABLE....I wish we had more...TBone is onto something...and I hope it happens NOW and sooner than later...great post and great thread..

Stella said...

This drilling issue with Bush infuriates me yet again.

Jerry Brown started windpower in California back in the 70s. He's running for Governor again. It'll be a cold day in hell before Brown lets anyone drill in California. It's official, he's running in 2010.

One problem: Feinstein could win if she decided to run. I can't imagine that—she officiated at Brown's wedding.

* Fought Offshore Oil Drilling: Brown has fought every attempt to drill for oil off the coast of California. Brown stood up to the Reagan Administration’s plans to expand offshore oil drilling. Brown signed a law forbidding new federal leases for drilling along the California coast. Federal officials are “playing Las Vegas odds with the people’s money” with plans to sell new oil leases off the CA coast.”

* Attacked US Offshore Oil Decisions: Governor Brown rebuked the US Interior Secretary for disregarding California’s rules restricting offshore drilling, particularly Exxon’s plans to build a floating treatment plant dangerously close to California’s ocean jurisdiction in Santa Barbara. Brown defended California’s coast saying “the environment we leave our children is too important to be caught up in this state/federal squabble.”

California Coastal Commission: Brown made permanent the California Coastal Commission to control shoreline development.

This is not someone you want to mess with. I'd love to see him and Busheney debate. So much fun...

Beach Bum said...

Keshi and Nitu: One of the many ways Americans have screwed up over the last several decades was the influx out of cities to distant suburbs. With our homes and work places so distant it made us very dependent on our cars and of course on cheap gas to get us there. I believe the northeast US has a great mass transit system allowing people to leave their cars behind but here in the south in many locations we never invested in mass transit or at best only built a basic system that doesn't cover much territory.

distributorcap and enigma: Hell yeah, we need to put up windmills and solar panels all over the place. One of the things I can't get some people to understand that if nothing else we can use wind and solar to cut our dependence on imported oil.

Stella: As I wrote I believe this new drive to allow offshore drilling is a huge sham. Even if they do drill there is no guarantee that the increased global demand that is sure to continue will bring down the price here at home or that the oil companies would even keep the oil here in America. This is just a gift to the oil companies. Right now I haven't seen much effort here in South Carolina to allow it but it only a matter of time once some money is spread around. Just to be clear for any soul who doesn't understand my position I do not support off shore drilling. Clean oceans and seafood is far more important to me than "cheap gas" for SUV's.

Anonymous said...

I wish someone would hurry the hell up and fix this fuel problem of ours!!!!!

The Zombieslayer said...

Vast reserves my ass.

If we 1) used less oil, 2) didn't send our middle class to India and China so now they too can waste gas like we do, we wouldn't have the crisis to begin with.

Anonymous said...

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thanks for sharing....

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