The U.S. Senate voted on Tuesday, May 13, to block oil exploration in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge (ANWR) and the offshore areas of the Pacific and Atlantic coasts.
It is indeed remarkable how quickly the U.S. Senate can organize a negative vote when the issue is of such magnitude and importance to the economy and welfare of the nation.
To reverse the damage this vote has done to America’s energy independence will take months of endless hearings, making certain that every dissident is heard.
The National Center for Policy Analysis also on Tuesday, identified the U.S. Congress as the responsible party for the high price of gasoline and summed it up in this manner: “Over the last 28 years, Democrats in Congress and a few Republicans have again and again opposed our drilling for oil in Alaska’s ANWR; during the past 31 years Congress has repeatedly prevented us from building any new oil refineries; most recently congressional Democrats defeated and discouraged any bill that would let us drill in the deep sea, 100 miles out.”
Equally damaging to energy independence is the envirocrat crowd who manage to capture the moral high ground of environmental issues and use it to advance their own political agenda.
The dominant media has a stable of such envirocrats ready at the call to make statements that for some reason or other seem to be accepted at face value by the Democrat majority and a few Republicans in Congress.
The Daily News-Miner of Fairbanks, Alaska, was quick to find such a person, and in an interview, reporter R.A. Dillon quoted Arctic Coordinator for the Northern Alaska Environmental Center Pam Miller as saying the vote against drilling in ANWR was a resounding show of support for protecting the refuge for future generations.
That’s it. That’s all it takes to intimidate the majority in Congress for the foreseeable future.
No recognition is given to how little of the ANWR reserve is brought into play for the entire development of the oil drilling site that would yield 1 million barrels of oil a day from its billions of barrels in reserve.
The footprint, so to speak, that is necessary for full development of a drilling operation to deliver the 1 million barrels is a mere 2,000 acres.
This tiny footprint represents one one-hundred thousandths (0.0001) of the total area of ANWR's 19 million acres. This is equivalent to one large farm in a state about the size of South Carolina.
Procedures used in modern day development of oil fields are environmentally safe and have been accepted as such.
Apparently all the presidential candidates have expressed their opposition to development of ANWR.
Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., announced on May 13 that he had missed the vote in the U.S. Senate, but had he been there, he would have voted against further exploration in ANWR.
It would appear as though the majority of present day politicians have no concept of the energy source of 90 percent of America's transport vehicles.
In recent years they seem content to joust with windmills and chase ethanol rainbows.
Their ethanol dream has contributed to the destabilization of grain markets around the world. Some nations that were exporters of grain, especially rice, have now stopped the practice.
Food riots, in some instances causing death, are shown daily in TV news broadcasts.
Subsidies supporting the continued expansion of ethanol production remain in play.
The mandate of Congress to produce more billions of gallons of ethanol by the year 2020 is still on the books.
Crude oil topped $127 per barrel this week.
In January 2001, President George W. Bush was sworn into the office. The price of oil at that time was about $30 per barrel.
Today, petroleum is more than four times that figure. Gasoline prices are over $4 per gallon in many parts of the country.
Those who talked about $4 gasoline some months ago are now elevating their sights to $5 per gallon and above.
Americans usually react only when they are being hurt to a point where they alone are feeling the pain.
The average citizen may be approaching that point today. Only then will that citizen demand in no uncertain terms that the U.S. Congress do its job to establish energy independence using our own abundant resources.
The struggle for energy independence led by the Congressional minority meets road block after road block from the Democrat leadership in Congress.
House Majority Leader Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., and Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., will offer their own energy package later this week.
Their energy packet makes no reference to the production of more oil and gas; instead, it is designed to punish the very companies that do provide our energy. The reason they give is simply this: these companies are making large profits.
Their energy plan will provide for the introduction of a windfall profits tax designed to confiscate the oil company profits. This new tax will no doubt be used by these far left zealots for their own political gain, no doubt for social programs to buy votes in the upcoming elections.
The oil companies must preserve these profits which are desperately needed at the present to build new refineries and to develop new oil fields when the next and hopefully more energy-wise Congress is elected.
E. Ralph Hostetter, a prominent businessman and agricultural publisher, also is a national and local award-winning columnist. He welcomes comments by e-mail sent to firstname.lastname@example.org.
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