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Sunday, July 13, 2008

Energy Independence Day

One of our Senators, John Cornyn, is hosting an Energy Independence forum. The goal is to get feedback from bloggers about their thoughts on the U.S.'s reliance on foreign energy and people's feelings on some of the solutions that have been offered. Here is my "two cents worth"~~

Energy Independence

The United States has been a world leader in many areas - technology, science, farming, production, aid in times of trouble or disaster, but there is one area we should not be proud of leading. That is the amount of fuel consumed that is purchased from governments or countries that profess to be allies but in truth are the opposite. Reliance on another for fuel makes us a slave to that entity. Consumers find they are very vulnerable to price changes that are basically at the fancy of the controlling entity.

As a nation, the U.S. should be researching and finding ways to lower dependence on foreign oil and become more self-sufficient. There are areas with oil deposits that are available, but are "off limits" because of a "Preservationist" attitude in the environmental world. A different school of thought should be one of Conservation. Conservation says that the land use should be maintained for all. Conservationism is the thought or teaching that sustainable use of the resources available is done while maintaining the natural beauty, habitat for wildlife and plants, and integrity of the area. Think controlled harvesting of trees vs. clear cutting. Controlled harvesting is done by cutting a certain number and specific age of trees to maintain the natural forest. This allows the impact to be minimized on the land, animals, climate, etc. of the area, while offering an economic incentive to make the best use of the resources.

One of these areas is the Alaska National Wildlife Refuge - ANWR for short. There are those who would say that this area is the last wilderness and should be kept absolutely pristine for future generations. Construction and maintainence of the Alaska pipeline is an example used to support their position. Unfortunately, it does not support that position at all. An article published by the University of Michigan entitled "The Environmental Effects of the Alaska Pipeline" discuss the impace the pipeline has had overall on the state of Alaska and the area surrounding it. The pipeline has had a huge economic impact on those living in the state, but much less of of an impact on the flora and fauna of the area. The area around the pipeline has not had a detrimental effect on the caribou migration or population as was widely touted at the time. Nor has the pipline had a huge negative effect on the other wildlife in the area. 1

Exploration and drilling in ANWR could promote similar benefits but there are some additional factors to consider. In a news article published at ANWR.org, an overview is given of a bill introduced by Minority Natural Resources Committee Chairman, Don Young. "Minority Natural Resources Committee Chairman Don Young introduced HR 6107, The American Energy Independence and Price Reduction Act. The bill was co-sponsored by Rep. Roscoe Bartlett (R-MD). The bill calls for the opening of the 10-02 Area of ANWR to responsible oil and gas development and uses the funds generated from oil production taxes to set up an Alternative Energy Trust Fund to promote the development and production of alternative energies."2 The last statement bears repeating - The funds received from taxes on the oil production would be used to set up a Trust to promote the development of alternative energy sources to lessen dependence on oil as a fuel source. This program would receive funds from oil development to find ways to lessen the need for oil development and would not cost the American taxpayer one dime!

But economic use is not the only purpose or use of the area. Our world is driven by economy but it is not the only force. People want and need places to go that feed their inner souls as well as help their economic outlook. ANWR is one of those places but to maintain it for the beauty and the grandeur, a habitat for wildlife, and native plant life is not exclusive of an economic benefit. Why can't both sides benefit? It does not have to be a "win" for the oil development to the detriment of the natural beauty. Nor does it have to be a "lose" for oil development to keep and maintain the majestic vista and wildlife habitat. It can be "win-win" for both sides, if minds are open to explore the possibilities!

1http://sitemaker.umich.edu/section003_group001/home

2 http://www.anwr.org/Headlines/Chariman-Don-Young-Introduces-ANWR-Bill-Sparks-Many-Converts.php

7 comments:

Chris McClure aka Panhandle Poet said...

Very good.

Incognito said...

Hey Strawb,
Problem is that the government listens to the people, the environmentalists to be exact, and in a democracy that holds a lot of sway.. as soon as the people get sick and tired of paying so much at the pump, i think the government will start to change.

jimmyk01 said...

John Cornyn and Kay Bailey Hutchison both voted FOR the bailout last night.

Today I dropped my support of Sen Cornyn and his re-election to the post of Senator, and I sent the Cornyn campaign and Sen Cornyn himself an email letting them know, it can be read in the thread linked above.

In a very short time I was contaced by Vincent Harris, wanting my phone number, their campaign manager wanted to talk to me, and I told him NO, I could not, and would not support ANY candidate that voted to bailout $700B, a figure that is still low, actual figures are reported closer to $820B, and that I was pulling their logo from TexasFred's, The American Conservative and The Texas Connection, and I did.

Jimmy Kerr of But That's Just My Opinion posted a message in my comments saying he had done the same thing. Jimmy and I are trying to contact and encourage as many Texas bloggers as possible to contact Vincent and let him know that YOU are doing the same thing as well, lets send Cornyn a HUGE, Texas sized message!

Please, if you believe that this is a very important issue, PLEASE contact Vincent and tell him that you're dropping the logo too, and ask to be removed from their blog roll, no LINK is that important, request that your blog be taken OFF of their roll...

Contact Vincent here:
vincent@johncornyn.com
http://www.johncornyn.com


http://TexasFred.net/

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Online said...

Energy independence will only come when the cost of petroleum is so high everyone feels the pain.

miriam@israel said...

usa is really rich with oil, but the policy of the state is to safe envoiroment-so this oil is not in use...its kinda normal choise-or to pay more or to care about the resourses

Strawberry said...

Miriam - actually you don't have to choose between the two. Making use of the oil resources we have does not necessarily preclude a concern about the environment. You can have both - but the radical preservationists have convinced our government and a large portion of the population that use of oil/natural gas will destroy the natural resources on the surface - forests, wildlife, etc. In fact, that does not have to be the case and the oil/natural gas can be extracted in a manner that is economically feasible. Too bad the message gets lost on career politicians in Washington!