Gasoline prices are soaring and there is no end in sight. It’s a case of supply and demand. Since the green extreme has crippled our ability to increase our supply of fuel, there is no relief for the foreseeable future. The price of everything we use that is transported — which is virtually everything — will continue to rise as our standard of living falls.
I can see the greens reveling in all this as they crawl out from their yurts in their Birkenstocks, but their euphoria will be short-lived. Even these extremists have to go beyond bicycle range now and then.
While it is desirable to work toward a future where the bulk of our energy needs are met by renewables, that day is a long way off and likely will not be achieved in our lifetime.
There is no solution to the immediate pain, but we can extend the pain to the point that we cripple the country and bankrupt the citizenry or we can take responsible steps toward meeting both our short-term and long-long term energy needs.
While the left is fond of saying, “We can’t drill our way out of this problem,” any responsible short-term solution involves drilling. Forget the Middle East! The U.S. sits on enough oil and gas to meet our immediate energy needs. That buys us time to transition into cleaner, more efficient sources of energy. There is little incentive for our oil companies to do more exploration when we won’t allow them to tap into the resources that already have been discovered. While it will be five to ten years before any of this oil makes it to market, the price of oil is influenced by the future’s market, so a policy change is important. If the Clinton Administration had opened up the Arctic Wildlife Refuge and encouraged — not discouraged — the building of refineries, we would not be over the OPEC barrel today.
In today’s environment, an offshore oil rig is a beautiful thing! Not only are these rigs environmentally friendly, they are so far away you can’t see them from the shoreline.
Presently, we use oil-driven turbines to meet much of our peak power needs. We need more nuclear power plants! It’s the cleanest, most efficient, most economical source of energy available and should be part of our solution.
Thanks to the Jimmy Carter, who as a president made a good peanut farmer, we are not allowed to recycle nuclear waste. This marketable commodity that is piling up and is both a problem and a solution. America’s 56,000 tons of spent fuel contains roughly enough energy to power every U.S. household for 12 years.
In addition to reprocessing nuclear fuel, we need to open our Yucca Mountain storage repository as soon as possible and get over the baseless fear that this is going to harm the residents of Nevada. Presently, this waste is being held at over 100 sites in 39 states and no one who lives near one of those sites is glowing from the radiation, nor has anyone been harmed who lives near one of America’s 104 commercial reactors. If it is safe for the residents of New York City, San Jose, Phoenix, Los Angeles, Green Bay, Chicago, Atlanta, New Orleans and Miami, certainly it is safe for the residents of Nevada. Yucca Mountain is located in a remote desert about a 100 miles from Las Vegas, the nearest population center.
The uranium needed to fuel our nuclear reactors is plentiful in this country. Furthermore, using the best technology available, the amount of nuclear waste that would be produced from a lifetime of use by each person will fit into the palm of your hand.
There may be a day when the bulk of our energy needs can be met with renewables. That is a worthwhile goal, but there is no need to cripple our country in the process when there are other alternatives available. This is tantamount to a parent who, in his desire to feed his child the perfect food, lets the child starve because this food presently is unavailable in quantities that can sustain life.
The last thing we must do is fill — fill Congress only with responsible representatives and senators who will support a balanced approach to meeting our short-term and long-term energy needs. There should be no room for extremists who, up to this point, have dominated our energy policy.