American Elephants


Another Obama Announcement That’s Not What it Seems, and Less Than Claimed. by The Elephant's Child

President Obama announced today that he would open up portions of the Outer Continental Shelf to offshore drilling.  Well that sounds exciting, at least that’s what the media thought as they gushed over the announcement and hurried off to get comments from environmentalists (which of course were negative).

The Institute for Energy Research urged a little caution:

Today, while President Obama may have stated his support for increased energy development in the Eastern Gulf (which requires congressional action) and the Southern Atlantic (which he’ll study over the next year), he also announced that he would delay the development of the energy resources off Virginia’s coast and lock up vast resources off the Alaskan coast.Additionally, those who cheer the President’s newfound support for domestic energy resources should remember that the very same President’s FY 2011 budget proposal includes upwards of $36 billion in new oil and natural gas taxes, which will discourage domestic production, especially in areas like the Southern Atlantic that have little to no existing infrastructure. While today’s rhetoric made for a good news cycle, the policy is not a step forward, but a huge leap backward.

Thomas J. Pyle, President of the market oriented Institute for Energy Research issued the following statement:

America’s offshore energy resources belong to the American people. Not a company, not a special interest, and not a single administration. And a clear majority of the American people supports the commonsense strategy of producing more oil and gas here in America. Unfortunately, today, and to our economic detriment, the President once again ignored the will of the American people.Just as he did in his State of the Union Address, President Obama cited the imperative of offshore energy exploration. But words alone will do nothing to move this country’s energy policy forward in a meaningful way. It’s similar to his announcement on nuclear loan guarantees—the President talked a good game, then eliminated funding for the only nuclear waste repository in the nation.

In 2008, when Congress and then-President Bush retired the decades-old moratorium on the safe and environmentally sound practice of producing energy miles off the Atlantic and Pacific coasts, the American people, and our economy, scored a huge victory. Unfortunately, what President Obama outlined today puts part of that moratorium back in place. Kicking the energy can further down the road is not a change in policy.

Canada drills for oil in the North Atlantic. Cuba, Brazil, and Venezuela produce energy in the water to our South. The Russians do the same to our West. Yet, America, the most technologically advanced nation in the world, with the most stringent environmental policies on the books, remains the only nation that imposes burdensome regulations and endless streams of red tape on domestic production. Americans want to stop embargoing our own oil. The president’s plan expands that existing embargo, and Americans will pay the price.

This smoke-and-mirrors offering comes with a big price. The president wants to force Americans to swallow a massive new energy tax before any state reaps the benefits of this offshore drilling.  The Waxman-Markey energy tax that Obama urged Congress to pass last summer would eviscerate the economy, killing more than one million jobs per year while raising the cost of energy for every American.



Do You Recognize the World of the Democrats? by The Elephant's Child

Democrats live in an alternate universe.  The world that exists in Democrat convention speeches is an unfamiliar place to me.  Bleak.  Everyone is a victim.  America is a terrible place, the economy is deep in a recession, no one has health care so people are obviously dying in the streets,  the war is a failure, the surge did not work, prisoners at Guantanamo are tortured, oil companies don’t pay taxes and gouge Americans, the earth will die soon unless rescued by Democrats with wind power, and whatever it is, it is all Bush’s fault. I’m sure I missed some horrors.

I went to the gas station today, and gas is expensive, even for my thrifty Toyota. I can imagine the feelings of those filling up SUVs or pickups. I also went to the grocery store, which is also painful. Prices are up. I made more careful choices.  Most of the inflation in gas prices and food prices comes from Democrat intransigence in allowing us to drill for oil, build refineries, build nuclear plants and pipelines. Prices are not up because of a shortage of windmills and solar panels.

Democrats refuse to drill because they owe the environmental organizations that support them, and the environmental organizations do not want us to use oil.  They think oil is bad, dirty, and evil, and they mistakenly believe that it can be replaced almost immediately by “renewable” “clean” energy.

I hate to keep harping on this, but it is confusing and people keep lying about it, or bloviating when they know not whereof they speak.  Lets go right to the source, the U.S. Energy Information Administration. They have some dandy graphs that explain better than words can.  Renewable energy contributes 6 percent of U.S. energy consumption as of 2004, the most recent figures, and it hasn’t changed much.  91 percent of that 6 percent is contributed by hydropower and biomass waste.  Solar energy contributes 1 percent and wind energy contributes 2.3 percent — not of our energy needs, but of the 6 percent renewables.  Geothermal contributes 5.6 percent of the 6 percent.  See how confusing it gets when you start talking percentages?

Here is another colorful diagram that shows where our energy comes from and where it goes, which will help a lot in deciphering all the bloviating.  I will take up the rest of the problems of the world soon.



The Energy Gap, and what to do about it… by The Elephant's Child

Nancy Pelosi called plans to drill for more oil “a hoax.” She called for President Bush to release oil from the Strategic Reserve. She claimed that drilling wouldn’t help since it would take too long. She blamed high prices on speculators. She blamed oil companies. She said that the oil companies had 68 million acres that they weren’t drilling on. She demanded to sue OPEC. I’m sure I’ve missed several of her little stories. She now says she’ll allow a vote on drilling for more crude to come to the floor of the House. And I really believe her, don’t you?

To understand Nancy Pelosi and Harry “oil is dirty” Reid’s stubborn resistance to oil drilling, building new refineries, building nuclear energy plants, and their enthusiasm for ethanol, solar and wind, you have to understand from whence comes “progressive” money.

One thing that “Progressives” do especially well is to organize into groups. They have meetings and write grant proposals, organize more, do financial studies, negotiate, do focus groups, poll testing, and write more grant proposals. And they get huge amounts of money from liberal foundations.

“Progressives” come in many varieties, there are Environmental Progressives, Labor Progressives, Social Justice Progressives, Anti-Globalization Progressives, Anti-Corporate Progressives, Anti-Capitalist Progressives, Post-National Progressives, and Anti-War Progressives, and I’m sure there are other groupings.

Very high on the list for Environmental Progressives is ending our reliance on (they say addiction to ) fossil fuels. They believe that most of the pollution in the world comes from “dirty” oil and gas. They believe that “dirty” oil and gas is causing runaway global warming which may end life on earth. They want to stop all development, curb consumerism. reject modernism, and end industrialism and capitalism to start with. Does this sound loony? The more extreme want to reduce human population, and return to a “simpler” time.

The Natural Resources Defense Council Action Fund took out full-page ads in the Washington Post and other newspapers to blast Offshore drilling for oil as “George W. Bush’s Gasoline Price Elixir” that is “100% Snake Oil”. It urges visitors to their website to send a letter to their members of Congress that says “I am not buying the lie…that sacrificing the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge and America’s coastal waters to oil dilling would make a real difference in gas prices — either today or twenty years from today!” It adds “With just three percent of the world’s oil reserves, our nation doesn’t have enough oil to impact the global market or drill our way to lower prices at the pump.” Here you have the ideas that are reproduced in Harry and Nancy’s playbook.

The Natural Resources Defense Council has a long history of exaggeration, misrepresentation and lies. Remember the Alar scare, when all apples were removed from grocery stores? The scare made a bundle for NRDC, and cost the apple growers over $250 million for no reason at all as Alar proved to be perfectly safe. Then there was their swordfish scare.

This was too much for even the Washington Post. The United States has only 3% of the world’s oil reserves only when one is speaking of Known oil reserves, which were last measured before Congress imposed a moratorium on drilling in 1981. Technology and techniques have changed, and estimates have ballooned, but they have to be able to measure to compute today’s known reserves.

Only when pumping finally begins, is a lease classified as “producing”, which with a little twisting turns into the statement that “Oil companies aren’t using the leases they already have”. Environmental impact statements, sensitive resource development plans, oil spill recovery plans, reports filed, exploration begun, environmental lawsuits argued, infrastructure built simply don’t count.

Drilling is environmentally dangerous, they said. Between 1993 and 2007 there were 651 spills of all sizes at OCS sites, the equivalent of 1 barrel of oil spilled per 156,900 barrels produced. More oil is released from the ocean floor naturally.

The environmental progressives believe that they can just shut off the oil and gas, and the high prices will force the government to invest billions in “renewable” energy, for that fits their vision of “clean” energy. They want us to have another Apollo Project. If we can go to the moon, we can certainly shift to renewable energy.

Currently, renewable energy contributes just 6% of U.S. energy consumption. Hydropower contributes 44% of the minuscule renewable energy sector, and biomass/waste contributes 46.5%. This latter contribution is from factories that generate their own power from burning the waste from their processes. Both are not really approved by the environmental crowd. Wind contributes 2.3% (of the 6% renewable category), solar contributes 1%, and geothermal contributes 5.6%. This teeny-weeny bit is what they believe will power the American economy if we just fork over enough money.

Problem is, the Apollo Project was a straight engineering feat. Wind only blows part of the time and at the right speed, even in the windiest locations, and must be backed by electric power whenever it doesn’t blow. A solar array requires vast acreage. Biofuels produce less energy than must be used to produce them. And biofuels have already caused severe disruption in the world food supply by putting farmers’ crops in our gas tanks. We must stop trying to grow our fuel. The world population is expected to double by 2050, and we are not producing enough food now to feed them without cutting down forests and putting more land into farming. The most promising technology seems to be fuels produced from algae, which requires far less land, and re-grows quickly.

So what we have here is an Energy Gap. It’s the gap between reality and dreams, between fact and fiction, between the hard lessons of the marketplace and Utopian hope. Progressives are good at “hope”, but not too successful at math, economics and science.

What has been forgotten in most of the debate is that oil is a matter of national security, as the War in Georgia should remind us. Nations all over the world are drilling for oil and natural gas, building nuclear reactors and new refineries, acknowledging the realities of supply and demand. We are stuck with so-called “progressives” who put their political party ahead of their country.

Barack Obama’s “Oil SENSE Act,” introduced in January 2007, is kind of a “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” policy that forbids exploration with modern seismic methods that are about as intrusive as photography on land. Deroy Murdock describes this as engineering a Space Shuttle mission with slide rules. The maps of 20-40 years ago led to 17 percent of offshore wells striking oil. With contemporary surveying, 70% of wells hit oil.

Not much sense here, in spite of clever names. But there’s always hope.



McCain, today in Iowa… by The Elephant's Child

“My friends, I’m all in favor of inflating our tires, don’t get me wrong, But that’s a public service announcement, not an energy policy.”

The humorless one does not appreciate this kind of comment.




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