Upper Left Coast

Thoughts on politics, faith, sports and other random topics from a red state sympathizer in indigo-blue Portland, Oregon.

Saturday, June 28, 2008

Stuck in our ruts

Congress is in full-blown blame mode as it tries to look like it's working to help Americans who are paying through the nose at the gas pump.

Today's Oregonian notes that Republicans are all over Democrats for refusing to drill for oil and natural gas within our borders, and Democrats are castigating the GOP for bowing low to the oil companies and refusing to acknowledge the need for alternative energy sources.

But the key from that story came from U.S. Rep. Earl Blumenauer who, while promoting his usual topics -- mass transit, alternative fuels and new energy sources -- admits that there is no quick fix:

I never pretend we're going to change this stuff overnight. We've taken decades to paint ourselves into this corner. . . . We have to change fundamentally our politics to stop being hostage to the energy vision of the 1950s. Drill where it's appropriate. Stop the speculation. Give people more choices and have alternatives. This is what we're going to be slugging on for the next 30 months.

The next 30 months. That takes us to January 1, 2011.

In 30 months, who knows what the price of gas might be? But if we're going to be working on this for the next two-plus years, why do our parties feel the need to barricade themselves into their traditional constituencies? Why can't we simultaneously pursue existing and future energy sources?

Why can't we explore -- vigorously -- other sources of energy? Every idea that doesn't involve fossil fuels is an idea that won't require sending our money to foreign whack-jobs, and will (hopefully) be more friendly to the environment.

Why can't we drill for the oil in our country (including the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge and off-shore)? Every barrel of oil that comes from the United States is one fewer barrel that we have to buy from Hugh Chavez or the House of Saud. Even if it's only 10 years of oil, that's 10 years of fewer imports from foreign whack-jobs. And by the way, Blumenauer should listen to his own message to "stop being hostage to the energy vision of the 1950s." Fifty years ago -- even 20 years ago! -- our technology did not allow for drilling in sensitive areas such as ANWR or off-shore, but that has changed.

If it's going to take more than two years before Congress even gets off its hind-end to do something, it seems to me that it's necessary to stop playing petty little games and explore every idea that might help.



  • At 6/28/2008 12:03 PM, Blogger MAX Redline said…

    Everybody knows that drilling today isn't going to lower gas prices by next week, so obviously there's no point to drilling at all.

    For this same reason, obtaining an education is just silly. You won't have a six-figure income by next week, so what's the point?

    In the absence of any immediate benefit, why do anything at all?

    One thing I find especially amusing is that wind power systems are being temporarily taken offline because there's so much water coming through the hydropower systems. BPA's trying to achieve some semblance of balance between generation and spillage - difficult to do because the power grids are full, but excess spillage suffocates fish.

    I read yesterday that some PUDs are considering paying folks to use power until the demands can be balanced.

  • At 7/13/2008 5:53 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    drilling will bring us oil in, what - 5-7 years? We should start now, but this doesn't address the immediate financial needs of most Americans. If you want to talk about the cost of oil - you need to talk about why the price has gone up so much. Why aren't we discussing the fact that most of our oil is imported. That means that the cost is dependent upon the value of our currency - the dollar. Why is the dollar establishing new lows?

    Also, as to the price of oil - a big part of pricing has to do with the speculators (read: financial institutions trying to make up for mortgage losses) driving up prices and profiting on the futures or commodity market. Seriously, turn off the tv and/or put down the paper and take a closer look.


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