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Monday, August 6, 2007

Energy Bill?

                    Energy Bill?

Should we laugh or cry? There’s an "energy" bill being debated in the US House of Representatives today, but the bill makes no provision whatsoever for more oil exploration, more oil production, or greater refining capacity. Yes, there are provisions for more windmills, forced energy conservation, and other goofball ideas, but not one provision for increasing Americans access to gasoline! And this in the face of gasoline prices above $3.00.

Talk about irrelevant, that’s the United States Congress. American’s young and old are concerned about the steep rise in the cost of gasoline, and Nancy Pelosi plays the role of Nero. That’s leadership?

Frankly, I’m sick and tired of politicians talking about America becoming energy independent. The truth is that the politicians really don’t care. It does not take a genius to make the United States energy independent. It’s no dark secret and it’s not complex. Here are five steps that could be taken in less than 10 years that would not only guarantee energy independence, but also lower prices and reduce pollution:

Off Shore Drilling. Allow off shore drilling beyond the
                        30 mile limit. Due to the curvature of the earth, Texas
                        islands beyond 30 miles cannot be seen by someone
                        standing on shore. What about oil spills? Well, how
                        many oil spills from offshore oil rigs have occurred?
                        The answer is not one! There has never been an oil
                        spill from a Texas island, even in a hurricane! But did
                        you know that exploration for oil can only take place
                        beyond 100 miles! That silly, but then it was put into
                        law by silly people, America’s politicians. The
                        Republicans tried for a 60 mile limit, but that was just
                        too close for the Democrats.

Nuclear Power. More than 60% of the energy needs
                        of France come from nuclear power, yet Americans
                        haven’t built a nuclear power plant since the 1970s.
                        Why? Because of fear mongering. The opponents of
                        nuclear power always point to the power plant failure
                        at Three Mile Island, and to the disaster at Chernobyl.
                        But the truth is that no one died as a result of the
                        Three Mile Island failure because we built-in safe
                        guards that the Soviets refused to include in their
                        plants. Nuclear power plants are pollution free and
                        would not only provide all the electric generating
                        power we need, but they also would provide a power
                        source that is not dependent in any way on OPEC. In
                        order to really make an impact on pollution and to
                        increase energy availability, let’s start today to phase
                        out our conventional coal and oil fired electric
                        generating plants and replace them with nuclear
                        power. This is a step that is long overdue.

Domestic Exploration. Have you ever been to Alaska?
                        It is so incredibly vast as to be nearly
                        incomprehensible. We need to open up Alaska to
                        exploration (while implementing the necessary
                        safeguards to protect the environment). Tens of
                        millions of gallons of oil are there for the taking and
                        we need to proceed to get at them post haste. And the
                        same is true for vast reserves in Montana, Utah, and
                        Wyoming that are readily available. Politicians need to
                        stop the demagoguery and start acting like
                        representatives of the people by putting the people’s
                        needs first.

Liquid Natural Gas. I understand that our known
                        liquid natural gas fields are the greatest on the face
                        of the earth. Most of these are in the Gulf of Mexico.
                        It’s time to accelerate production of LNG and quit
                        trying to legislate scientific advances. I have been out
                        of the engineering field for more than 30 years. But
                        one thing you learn when studying engineering is that
                        you can’t legislate advances in technology. It’s a
                        waste of time and money. Congress can pass all the
                        bills in the world demanding and insisting that we
                        make new discoveries, but until those discoveries are
                        actually made, it’s just more hot air.

Refineries. I worked in a refinery for several years and
                         there’s something that can be done about our oil
                         refining capacity without building a whole slew of
                        new refineries. What most people don’t understand is
                        that a refinery is not just one unit that produces
                        gasoline. Most refineries are comprised of a whole lot
                        of units that produce all sorts of other byproducts, in
                        addition to gasoline, that are used for the         
                        manufacture of rugs, plastic, oil, etc. If we can’t
                        persuade states to let more refineries be built, we can
                        at least encourage and allow existing refineries to add
                        more units that produce gasoline. Many of these
                        refineries cover vast amounts of acres, sometimes
                        more than 1,500 acres, as did the one I worked in at
                        Port Arthur, Texas. There’s plenty of room to add
                        additional units to increase gasoline production. Let’s
                        get moving!

What I have proposed is just common sense. When you are getting a primary energy resource from an area of the world that, for the most part, is controlled by your enemies, you take the necessary steps to protect the sovereignty of your nation. Embarking on this commonsense course would make our nation energy independent in less than a decade. All we need are men and women of integrity and courage who are willing to act in the best interest of their constituents, rather than to radical special interest groups to whom they are beholding. Will it happen? Don’t hold your breath.

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