If I didn't know better I would think President Bush has been reading transcripts from the hundreds of radio and television interviews I have done since Aug. 29, 2005, when Hurricane Katrina revealed weaknesses in our national energy policy, or lack thereof.
Since Katrina, we have seen a steady ascent in oil prices until they hit $120 per barrel for oil and more than $4.00 a gallon for diesel; just under for gasoline. These prices are ripping massive holes in the pocketbooks of millions of Americans, and it seems there is no end in sight.
My "Black Gold Stranglehold" co-author, Jerome Corsi, and I have been begging our leaders to open up the Arctic National Wildlife Reserve, or ANWR, which could be producing an additional million barrels of oil per day which, when refined, equals 27 million gallons of gasoline or diesel. Think of the impact that would have on current market conditions. And while it should have been done years ago, it is not too late.
Nothing would send a stronger signal to the energy markets that America is serious about exploration of future reserves than if we initiated a "Manhattan project"-style effort in obtaining domestic sources of oil. For far too long our country has been held in the grip of radical environmentalists who have been unable to grasp the idea that modern technological advances allow us to safely harvest oil in the most extreme locations.
To provide scale, the proposed drilling footprint in the ANWR would be the same as a postage stamp on a regulation-size football field. The techniques employed would address the concerns so many voice about impact on the environment. The Alaskan pipeline was originally thought to be very detrimental to certain species of caribou yet many studies show no significant signs of any drop in population or health of any indigenous species in its path.
At the same time, we need to build new strategically positioned refineries throughout the U.S., again, utilizing the most modern technology. This will offer us the ability to bring refined product to market via new pipelines which will lower prices and supply thousands of new, American jobs. Drilling in the Great Basin, the Outer Continental Shelf, or OCS, and the deep waters of the gulf may yield billions of additional barrels and provide billions of cubic feet of natural gas.
The oil companies stand ready to make the financial commitment and take the necessary risks to procure oil from our own resources right here in America, and it is time we allow it.
These new sources of oil will not come to the market overnight. But it will send a signal to the rest of the world that the U.S. is prepared to lead, not follow, in the exploration and harvesting of oil. That signal will make foreign producers treat us as customers, not easy marks. It is about time we be thanked, not thrashed, as we send billions of dollars daily to ungrateful oil-producing countries.
I was delighted to hear from the president what many of us have been saying for a long time. If Congress is truly serious about bringing the price of fuel down, then they must turn to the free market principles of supply and demand and increase supply to satisfy demand. Then prices will drop.
Congress, especially a Democratically controlled Congress, tends to believe every solution is found in higher taxes. Those in Democratic leadership, including Hillary Clinton, are renewing their call for a "windfall profits tax" on big oil. Nothing will do more harm than higher taxes or government regulation on the current market conditions. If government wants to help than they should fast track legislation to open up our domestic sources of oil ... now!
This will allow the breathing room necessary to pursue all other alternatives such as wind, solar, nuclear, bio-mass, ethanol, etc. And as technology increases and economies of scale kick in, prices will become competitive and in time supplement oil, coal and natural gas. We believe the future for reducing usage of traditional hydrocarbon sources of energy is very promising. But for now, let's use what we have in abundance to meet the needs of millions of Americans.
It can and must be done. But do we have the will? If we don't then we cannot bellyache every time we fill up our cars. The answer is there, and if the rascals in D.C. don't want to do it, maybe it is time we look for a new set of leaders: Leaders willing to take risks who will go against the voices of radical environmentalists who have more regard for redwood trees and snail darters than they do for their fellow Americans. Congress will do it if you require them to. They did what 87 percent of America wanted on the amnesty bill â€¦ didn't they?
President Bush has called upon Congress to make the changes necessary to repair a very fixable problem. I, for one, stand with him. I hope you join me to that end.
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