Here is the column you didn't see in the newspaper this morning.
The broadcast of the XXIXth Games of the Olympiad has been rudely interrupted by political commercials stating that offshore drilling will “get us off foreign oil.” The ads were placed by a
That organization - the Club for Growth - features an article titled “Drill, Drill, Drill is Working” on its website. Here’s a quote: “As Sen. John McCain and the GOP leadership nationalize the drill, drill, drill message, the Republican party might conceivably be riding a summer political rally. The question of offshore drilling, along with expanded domestic energy production, has suddenly become the biggest political and economic wedge issue of this election.”
Great! In ten years when offshore drilling still hasn’t dented our foreign oil dependence, barely replacing the domestic oil we are already using up, what are they going to do? Explain it all away and blame the Democrats? There couldn’t be a clearer indication that the drill, drill, drill message is about politics, not about solving
Here’s what I have to say to the Club for Growth:
“Offshore drilling won’t ‘get us off foreign oil.’ It won’t even produce much oil, at least compared to our demand. A huge investment in offshore oil would produce 5% of our projected demand - way less than the 60-65% we import today.
“Offshore drilling isn’t just a massively incomplete solution, it’s also a temporary solution. Maybe it buys us a few more years of energy insecurity and high prices and economic uncertainty. But
“Offshore drilling won’t reduce gasoline prices. It will take ten or fifteen years to get offshore oil into the marketplace. Offshore oil will be expensive oil. The platforms cost billions and billions of dollars, the drilling is more and more expensive. This is no solution to high energy prices.
“Offshore drilling is a ridiculous answer to a serious question: What are we going to do about our nation’s overdependence on oil? We need to diversify our energy supply and transportation technology, not concentrate more on oil.”
Now I will quit addressing the faceless moneybags in
Your eyes deceive you. Gasoline isn’t really $3.75 per gallon right now. It’s much more expensive than that. A true accounting would include the taxpayer-paid costs of defending world oil fields and transportation routes, as well as the costs of multiple military interventions in the oil-rich Middle East, and the human and economic costs of enriching oil despots from
I don’t oppose offshore drilling as a matter of ideology. What I oppose is political gamesmanship obviously oriented at preventing needed energy dialogue and investment in energy alternatives. We need to undo our addiction. Congress and presidential candidates should discuss the alternatives that could “produce” oil equivalents much faster, from energy efficiency to electric cars to renewable energy.
I also don’t hate “Big Oil.” What I hate is that the
The folks who are dragging energy policy into a ditch - offshore oil as the solution to our energy problems - are doing this nation a major disservice. National interest, and national security, clearly demand that the United States immediately and purposefully enact policies to cut back on our oil addiction, which is so costly to people and businesses around the country. Competition and choice in energy markets and technology, such as the electric car, are going to “produce” vastly more oil than all the offshore drilling the Club for Growth could ever dream up.
The nation is 97% dependent on petroleum to run an inefficient transportation system. That must change. It won’t as long as the energy dialogue is focused on offshore drilling.