Thursday, June 12, 2008

Maybe Americans Are Ready For Drilling in America

Anyone wondering why U.S. energy policy is so dysfunctional need only review Congress's recent antics. Members have debated ideas ranging from suing OPEC to the Senate's carbon tax-and-regulation monstrosity, to a windfall profits tax on oil companies, to new punishments for "price gouging" – everything except expanding domestic energy supplies.

Amid $135 oil, it ought to be an easy, bipartisan victory to lift the political restrictions on energy exploration and production. Record-high fuel costs are hitting consumers and business like a huge tax increase. Yet the U.S. remains one of the only countries in the world that chooses as a matter of policy to lock up its natural resources. The Chinese think we're insane and self-destructive, while the Saudis laugh all the way to the bank.

It looks like the public is increasingly ready for . . . change. In a May Gallup poll, 57% favored "allowing drilling in U.S. coastal and wilderness areas now off limits" (see chart above). Just 20% blamed the increase in gas prices on Big Oil.

Today's WSJ


At 6/12/2008 8:31 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

How wonderful. There is a chance that we might get common sense since we understand politicians are heavily influenced by polls.

Unfortunately, politics may trump common sense. Let us call it the economics of electioneering.

Presidential candidates have limited resources. Each requires an extensive organization on the ground coordinating thousands of volunteers.

Labour unions offer both coordination and supply of a large number of volunteers. As we have seen in the primaries, unions were decisive in providing on the ground campaign structures and heavily influencing the nature of the debate. It is no surprise that Senator Obama's background includes grass roots work for Acorn.

The question may not be whether Americans are ready for drilling in America but whether organized labour is ready for drilling in America.

At 6/12/2008 8:43 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

anon, I don't think the labor unions have anything against drilling. In fact, I remember the President of the Teamsters' union talking in support of drilling.

However, I think there is something that Mark and all of us are missing from this debate. The whole premise of our debate is how to lower gas prices, but I don't think that the Democrats care if gas prices go down. I think that the greenies in the Democratic party are secretly delighted by the high cost of gas. So, I think the real argument we should be having is it good to lower gas prices or is it bad? Because the Democratic party is secretly happy about high gas prices in America, no matter what they may say to the oil companies.

At 6/12/2008 8:57 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Drilling ain't ever going to happen folks. The reason is that while those against are less than 50 percent, many of these people feel very strongly about it. So, any candidate who supports drilling is going to lose those voters.

At 6/12/2008 9:50 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Nuclear energy folks along with plug in electric vehicles, plug in hybrids and hydrogen powered internal combustion or fuel cell vehicles.

Nuclear is the cheapest electrical source and isn't dependent on the wind or sunlight to operate. Did I mention it's a time proven technology too.

At 6/12/2008 10:51 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...


Good point. Maybe the Democrats really do favor high gas prices. At least, it forces us all to cut our consumption and promotes their agenda of alternative fuels and green living.

Apparently, telling us to repent for the end of the world is nigh has so-far failed to change us one jot from the energy hungry hogs we are. Unfortunately, none of them has the balls to pass a gas tax. Far easier to just blame OPEC or big oil than step up to the plate.

Got to agree with Anon. above, nuclear definitely has to be a big part of the solution. The nano technology is revolutionizing electrical batteries making electrical cars/buses a far more real possibility. What is needed is a stable source of base load power.

Greens will have to choose between 2 alternatives they currently despise: hydro-electrical generation or nuclear since solar and wind do not provide a reliable source of power for base load and coal/gas release greenhouse gas emissions. The reality is that Americans like their electric razer, 2nd beer frig, AC, big screen TV & endless consumer electronic toys. The days of the crystal radio are over.

At 6/12/2008 1:52 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Maybe the public favors it 57% to 41% but the MSM is probably 5% to 95%. Demagoging will beat rationality.

By the way, Exxon believes that no matter what we do in twenty years 'alternative' energy solutions will only account for 2% (yes, two percent) of worldwide energy needs.


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