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Japanese Disaster Will Short-Circuit US Energy Policy

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Thursday, 17 Mar 2011 08:04 AM Current | Bio | Archive

Gasoline prices are soaring as a result of unrest in the Middle East. Our initiative to reduce dependence on foreign oil with a robust offshore drilling program is in limbo after the BP disaster. And when nuclear energy is finally being considered as an alternative, the catastrophic failure of two large Japanese nuclear reactors is already driving calls from the Senate floor for a temporary halt in building new nuclear facilities.

If I didn’t know better, I would think that a curse has been placed on our energy program. For every step forward, we take two steps back.

At the core of the problem is the U.S. has no long-term energy policy.

The government turns squeamish at the hint of any setback and the solution is a stop-gap measure that never fixes the problem.

The Japanese nuclear accident is a perfect example. Before the extent of the problem is even known, we are ready to stop a nuclear energy program that has been in hibernation for more than 20 years. Many argue that nuclear energy is essential to halting our reliance on foreign oil, especially since so much of it comes from nations that are unfriendly to the U.S. and its policies.

And if you pay attention, who are the Japanese calling for advice? The Japanese are calling the U.S. nuclear industry because we have the safest nuclear facilities in the world and we design them with redundancies to prevent the failures seen in Japan.

Now when oil prices start spiking, we’re ready to release our oil reserves. Another knee-jerk response that fails to fix the underlying cause: speculators that are making millions of dollars by manipulating the price of oil. Start by reining in these greedy opportunists and we will see oil prices start coming down.

Just what is America’s energy policy? It’s hard to figure it out. While the Obama administration rhapsodizes about the future of green energy, we need solutions today. Solar, wind and biomass energy show promise, but right now we need to prevent energy prices from halting any chance of an economic recovery.

The most expedient solution is to ramp up offshore drilling. Use American oil to solve America’s energy problem. All it takes is a stroke of a pen by the White House. Public opinion has turned on this issue. As Americans see oil prices spiraling out of control, they are ready to give offshore drilling another chance.

Yes, our emphasis should be on job creation, but that shouldn’t conflict with a forward-thinking energy program. Reacting to much stricter rules and permit costs for deep-water drilling, the Department of the Interior (DOI) admits that new rules will add to the time to drill deep-water wells and reduce investment in domestic oil and gas resources, causing more job losses and even some small oil and gas companies going under. Job losses could result at over 130 companies that own active leases in federal waters and over a dozen drilling contractors.

A recent study conducted by Joseph R. Mason of Louisiana State University calculates the job losses of a six-month moratorium at 12,046; lost wages at $707 million; lost federal tax revenues at $219 million; and lost output at almost $2.8 billion.

The solution is evident. Planning and executing a sound energy policy also translates into a sound job-creation policy.

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NealAsbury
Gasoline prices are soaring as a result of unrest in the Middle East.Our initiative to reduce dependence on foreign oil with a robust offshore drilling program is in limbo after the BP disaster. And when nuclear energy is finally being considered as an alternative, the...
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2011-04-17
Thursday, 17 Mar 2011 08:04 AM
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