This found its way to my inbox yesterday from the office of our Congressman:
(Yesterday,) as a member of the Natural Resources Committee Rep. Andy Harris participated in a hearing focused on America’s rising energy prices. Oil prices have recently passed $100 per barrel for the first time since 2008. Gasoline prices have increased 77 cents since this time last year. According to an analyst from Cameron Hanover, there is an additional cost to consumers of $4 million dollars per day for every penny increase in fuel costs. Last week, Rep. Andy Harris sent a letter to Secretary of Energy Steven Chu requesting immediate action on rising fuel costs.
“Too many times during past energy crises we have failed to act definitively,” said Rep. Andy Harris. “I support an ‘all-of-the-above’ energy approach that emphasizes American-produced oil, natural gas, clean coal, and nuclear, and renewable sources such as solar, wind, hydropower and geothermal. This approach will lower prices, create new American jobs, reduce our dependence on foreign oil, strengthen our national security and raise revenue to help tackle the $14 trillion debt.”
A recent Congressional Research report indicated that our combined recoverable coal, oil and natural gas reserves total 1.3 trillion barrels of oil equivalent – the largest in the world. In addition to these resources, the U.S. Geological Survey estimates oil shale reserves could be greater than 1.5 trillion barrels of oil. These numbers indicate that we have the resources to produce our own energy and the latest technology to do it safely. We should strengthen our national security by ending our dependence on foreign energy and create American jobs while doing it.
So that’s what he said; here’s what I have to say.
Unfortunately, Andy, you can send a truckload of these letters to Steven Chu’s office and all you’ll get is a forest’s worth of dead trees. He’s truly gulped a large pitcher of the global warming Kool-Aid. For all his talk about embracing nuclear power despite the Japan crisis, for example, we haven’t seen much action toward building new plants in the last two years – or the last fifteen, for that matter (the last new U.S. nuclear power plant came online in 1996.) Instead, the Obama administration is hot and heavy into forcing our nation to adopt solar and wind as renewable energy sources. They only prefer ‘some of the above,’ ignoring the fact that we have a mature market in fossil fuels and supplies, as you point out, are still plentiful. (They’re the government’s own estimates, for gosh sakes!)
Would it be possible to be completely energy independent? Perhaps, but I think the more realistic goal would be to depend only on one or two outside sources. Just cutting out the need to ship oil across the ocean would be a boost, and that may be doable since Canada and Mexico export a large percentage of the oil we use across their borders with us.
But it’s interesting to note that much of the advancement and infrastructure in the oil and natural gas industry is funded by the industry itself as opposed to the government, while the inverse seems to be true for wind and solar power. After all, what market would the offshore wind farms proposed off Ocean City have if it weren’t for government putting a fat finger on the scale?
So Harris is relatively correct in his assessment, although I’d love to have some followup on what he sees as government’s proper role. Certainly he has solid facts and figures, but Andy needs to share what specific solutions he would advocate in each area in order to address this crisis. The more it depends on the private-sector market, the better I’ll probably like it.