This is a continuing series on the Primary Issues of the Presidential Election 2008. | Read Round One: McCain Versus Obama on the issue of Health care. | Round Two: Their take on the Iraq War. | Round Three: Obama Versus McCain on Free Trade. | Part One of Round Four on Natural Resources and Fossil Fuels, here. | In Part Two, we think the Democrats, Republicans And We All Are Misguided. | Part Three: McCain’s Position. Hypocrites Need Not Apply!! | Part Four: Obama Will Save The World, But the US will Go Broke in the Process | Round five: Is the US the Melting Pot or the Stagnation Pot? The candidate’s position on Immigration | Round Six: On the Issue of Abortion | Round Seven: McCain Versus Obama on Social Security: Obama Needs a Fundraiser, McCain Missing in Action | Part one of Round Eight: McCain Versus Obama on National Security, Obama’s Position | Part two of Round Eight: McCain Versus Obama on National Security, McCain’s Position
This article is divided into parts. This first part includes our opinions regarding our use of fossil fuels and the direction we are taking to provide for our needs as well as to reduce our dependencies on those fossil fuels. It also makes suggestions that may seem somewhat radical for resolving these problems. In subsequent parts, we will look to expand on what we can do as a nation and look at the candidates, lining up their positions to see which best aligns with our opinion of how to approach the problem.
We are a “prima donna” nation. We (not the writers of this publication, but all of us) believe that it is all about us. We seem to believe that the world revolves around the United States, and if we protect our part of the world, it is just dandy if the rest of it falls into oblivion.
In some nations, it is all about a power grab to see who can get the most out of those resources, not how to preserve their environment or even preserve lives as they murder or enslave their countrymen for financial gain. Those that have gotten rich off of the US, like the Arab Nations, are more concerned with how to spend all the money than they are with how they destroy our environment. Despite all the billions that Saudi Arabia has made from oil, when have you ever heard they were investing in a plan to help reduce the world’s dependency on fossil fuels or offered a plan to reduce so-called greenhouse gases?
We have had many disasters throughout the world with respect to natural resources. We in America care about those disasters. A five billion dollar punitive damages award was the largest set of punitive fines ever handed out to a company for their irresponsibility, and it was leveled against Exxon for the Exxon Valdez spill in Alaska.
Unfortunately, money talks. Recently, Exxon lawyers and the company’s financial influence led to the ratcheting back of that award to a paltry 500 Million dollars by our Supreme Court. This was a pathetic slap on the wrist and a very small portion of Exxon profits as they have taken advantage of our resources and consumption to make billions.
Irrespective of this irresponsible action by our Supreme Court, we as a nation, do care about our environment, but our reaction to such disasters has been to become overly cautious at home. We have new technologies to tap oil shale, but we are so worried about damaging the environment we have tied up the progress for years. We have massive oil reserves in Alaska and in the Gulf of Mexico, but we are reluctant as a nation to tap them because we are concerned about the damage to our environment. Despite the fact that we have never had a nuclear plant disaster in the United States (although we came close years ago at Three Mile Island), and despite huge advances in our technology, we have essentially halted the advancement of the use of Nuclear Energy within the US.
What does that show? We care. We think our fight will help the world to survive. We all seem to want the environment to be clean, to preserve every species, to maintain our national wilderness. We, as a nation, above all others throughout the world, will fight to defend and propagate our world. Problem is, we are too self-centered and approaching it all wrong.
We continue, like Al Gore, to preach to the choir. We are a very small part of the problem, although, because of our consumption of fossil fuels, we may be a huge part of the source. We have to address our consumption while removing the guilt imposed by people like Al Gore that use huge amounts of energy while telling the rest of us we are at fault. And we do not believe addressing our consumption necessarily, in the short run, means reducing it.
In our supposedly noble fight to maintain our environment, we have clearly favored the US environment over that of the rest of the world, despite the fact we consume such huge quantities of the world’s resources. We consistently demonstrate a not in my back yard (NIMBY) “prima donna” mentality. It is fine for us to build new refineries, just not where we need to build them, in America. It is great that we are drilling less and using fewer of our natural resources, so long as we can import them from elsewhere. Let other nations destroy their environments and we will gladly use their resources while we babble on about alternative energy to make ourselves feel better. As long as we don’t see it, that is fine with us.
Our NIMBY attitude is so extreme, we preach about alternative energy, but actually block projects that would reduce our dependency on oil and help clean our environment. This was exemplified when a battle arose over a plan for a wind farm for Cape Cod, Massachusetts that would generate nearly half the electrical supply for Cape Cod and the islands of Martha’s Vineyard and Nantucket. It was hoped that this wind farm would be in place by 2005. It didn’t happen. Why? NIMBY!! Wayne Kurker, president of Hyannis Marina, formed the “Alliance to Protect Nantucket Sound”, specifically to fight the wind farm proposal.
This quote from Wayne demonstrates how everyone in America seems to feel. ”A good portion of us who migrated to Cape Cod came to enjoy Nantucket Sound, and if Nantucket Sound becomes an industrial, electrical generation area, then it’s no longer the national treasure that people currently feel it is. We look at this as our wilderness, our national park.”
Great point Wayne, made despite research demonstrating how good the project would be for the Cape and how we could have set an example for the rest of the nation to turn to alternative energy sources. It is fine to pollute the rest of the world, burn coal and oil to generate our electricity, just don’t ask us to do anything about it in our back yard.
We, as a nation, must discard this NIMBY attitude. We have to tap our own natural resources now and also execute new revolutionary plans for alternate energy. We have to reduce our dependency on foreign oil to reduce our trade deficit and strengthen our dollar and to put us in control of our own destiny. Or should we instead bomb Iran?
Then, after we have solidified our financial position and become essentially independent of foreign oil in any way we can, we can better focus on alternate energy sources to reduce our use of fossil fuels. We are saying to pursue all solutions, now, whether they are ideal or not so we control our own destiny.
We are suggesting immediate action to drill in Alaska and in the Gulf of Mexico as well as tap other resources in the United States. We have the largest reserve of coal of any nation in the world. We can build refineries that convert this coal into petroleum that is cleaner burning than the petroleum we use now. The refineries may pollute more, but we have technologies to assist us. And we have enough coal to make enough petroleum to last the United States 200 years! We should tap our Oil Shale reserves and build new safer Nuclear Power Plants and we should do it now!
And when we are done, and as the world realizes we are willing to supply our own needs, our dollar will strengthen, our trade deficit will drop sharply! We may even start exporting natural resources to the rest of the world as we steadily reduce our need to import them. We can further develop alternate energy technologies with the money we didn’t give to other nations to meet our needs.
Let’s leave Part 1 with a question we will answer when we return. What nation does the United States import the most oil and petroleum from? The answer will surprise you.
FIND THE ANSWER to the above question on the next article: Democrats, Republicans and We All are Misguided