Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Say! Let's Use American Oil!

Gas is over $4 a gallon. It is a marvel that the 100% increase over the last year or so has not shocked the economy into a stupor. Yes, the dollar is weak, but as large portions of the world's population, for example China and India, begin to discover the natural means of prosperity, and thus begin consuming the way we we do, demand is bound to increase. And if the supply of oil does not increase to meet that demand, the natural measn of price regulation will give us ever higher oil prices and thus higher prices for just about everything else. Expect gas to cost $5 or $6 a gallon, maybe more, if we don't do something soon.

But it seems that the United States is potentially swimming in oil. But much of of those oil reserves are under federal lands and national parks or under coastal waters, and so environmental laws make extraction impossible...at least politically. This information comes primarily from Pete Winn of CNS News, "U.S. Policies Put Most U.S. Oil Off-Limits to Drilling" and Lawrence Kudlow's column, "More Oil, Jobs, Better Wages."

Here's what should jolt us into seriously reconsidering our priorities, however (Winn):
"there are 117 billion barrels of oil on lands owned or managed by the U.S. government"

"Adding in what's available on privately held land, the figure rises to 139 billion barrels of oil, according to the government - more than the known oil reserves of Iran, Iraq, Russia, Nigeria or Venezuela, respectively."

"The biggest untapped land-based oil deposit in the United States lies within ANWR, the Artic National Wildlife Refuge (7.7 billion barrels)."

"Much of the oil is off-limits because of the National Environmental Policy Act(NEPA), the Clean Water Act, the Endangered Species Act and the National Historic Preservation Act."

Kudlow tells us (tipping his hat to Mark Perry at Carpe Diem):
"The Bakken fields beneath North Dakota, Montana, and Canada hold an estimated 400 billion barrels of oil. In comparison, Saudi Arabia's biggest field, Gahawar, has an estimated 55 billion barrels, while ANWR has an estimated 10.4 billion barrels."
And American voters are connecting the dots. Lawrence Kudlow tells us that, according to Gallup, over the last year "support for more drilling in U.S. coastal and wilderness areas has increased to 57% from 41%."

This is a national security issue and it is a love of neighbor issue. We make opportunity cost decisions on the environment all the time. It is not an absolute value. We pave over "the environment" for roads and housing. We sacrifice it to mineral extraction and recreation. People have to live. It is time to start using Amrican oil sources instead of paying some of the most evil and dangerous people in the world astronomical prices for theirs.


"The Moral Imperative for Drilling" by Victor Davis Hanson (New York Post). He tries to address liberals on their own terms. "Instead of objecting to the view of a derrick from the California hills above the Santa Barbara coast, shouldn't a liberal estate owner instead console himself that the offshore pumping will help a nearby farm worker or carpenter get to work without going broke?...At best, the transfer of wealth to most oil producers means a Chinese worker working longer for less money while artificial island resorts pop up in the Persian Gulf. At worst, that strapped Chinese is also working harder for another Iranian centrifuge, al Qaeda landmine or Saudi-funded madrassa."

"Drill! Drill! Drill!" by Daniel Henninger (Wall Street Journal). "While other nations use their oil reserves to attain world status, we give ours up. Why shouldn't they conclude that, long term, these people can be taken? Nikita Khrushchev said, "We will bury you." Forget that. We'll do it ourselves."

No comments: