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Energy policy or energy folly?

August 2, 2008

I would like to congratulate the Speaker of the House on a job well done. Unfortunately, she has done nothing to earn accolades from me — or anyone else. Avoiding debate on energy policy by turning off the lights in the House chamber may be funny to some, but it displays arrogance and exposes the disdain some of our elected “representatives” have for those of us who find it increasingly difficult to cope with the reality of life-style changes brought about by higher fuel prices. It would be nice to see at least a facade of concern by those who supposedly represent us.

Opting for words rather than action, Speaker Pelosi suggested that the President offer up a portion of the nation’s strategic reserve as a solution to high gasoline prices. The intended use of all oil stored within the strategic reserve is for continuity of operations in the event of an interruption of oil supply. While we pay more for a gallon of gas than at any time in history, Speaker Pelosi blames the President and claims to be trying to save the planet. I do not subscribe to her belief that it will be 10 years before we see any benefit from an increase in domestic oil production.

Four words of advice, Madam Speaker: drill here, drill now!

By the way, Senator Obama’s suggestion that we can achieve the same benefits as increased domestic oil production by simply ensuring proper tire pressure and regular tune-ups is preposterous. I could not believe my ears when I heard that man utter those words to an adoring crowd. I also cannot believe that anyone found those words worthy of applause.

I know that increased domestic and offshore drilling will not solve our long-term energy problems. However, it is an integral part in ending our dependence on foreign oil, and ultimately our addiction to fossil fuels. T. Boone Pickens has spent a chunk of change on commercial advertisements to tell us “we can’t drill our way out of this.” I happen to agree with him on that point.

However, I think that the old oilman is looking to secure a lot more than just a place in history. There are currently a number of subsidies in place to reward energy innovators. Would these subsidies, or the government programs behind them, be necessary if use of alternative energy sources was economically feasible?

Our government’s mandate for the use of Ethanol has led to higher food prices here at home and directly contributed to famine and starvation in third world countries. The “success” of that program is leading some in the Senate to ponder an Ethanol exit strategy.

History shows, repeatedly, a direct link between business success and risk taking by individuals and businesses. Are we now to believe that innovation and success are only possible through the blessings of ever-larger government bureaucracies? Don’t tell that to companies like Bell Bio-Energy, Inc. They have developed a natural way to convert almost anything that grows into hydrocarbon fuels.

Another promising technology is already in use powering buses in China, electricity for deepsea oilrigs and providing electricity, heating and cooling for the Reagan Presidential Library as well as the energy needs of a Russian luxury resort. If you’re interested, you can read more here.

More government intrusion will not solve our current energy woes. In times like these, government must promote innovation and business risk.

Until next time,
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