"JUST SAY NO" TO OIL & NATURAL GAS REVENUES?
By Paul K. Driessen
California is grappling with a $42-billion budget deficit. That’s more than the GDP of 112 countries. Maryland, Virginia, New York, and other states likewise face billion-dollar budget shortfalls.
Congress and the White House want a $1-trillion “stimulus” for the banking, auto and steel industries, roads, bridges and ports, and “worthy” projects like water parks, parking garages, and fitness centers.
They also support expanded renewable energy programs that will require tens of billions in subsidies and tax breaks – but provide intermittent electricity and deliver only 5-15% of their “rated capacity” during peak Summer demand periods.
Many states have oil, natural gas, coal, uranium and other energy and mineral resources, within their borders or off their coasts. Development would produce critically needed energy, reduce oil and natural gas imports, create millions of jobs, buttress our national security, and generate trillions of dollars in lease bonus, rent, royalty and tax revenues, to help pay these bills.
California could nearly double its offshore oil production within 12 - 18 months, without installing a single new platform, by using directional drilling technology to bore more wells from existing platforms.
But environmentalists vigorously oppose development. Many states increasingly restrict exploration and production. The U.S. Senate is considering bills that would place more energy prospects off limits. Many legislators want a permanent lock on billions of barrels of oil beneath Alaska’s North Slope and America’s Outer Continental Shelf – despite support for drilling by two-thirds of voters.
Onshore, the usual justification is speculative or exaggerated impacts on wildlife, habitats, and groundwater from drilling and production. Offshore, the most common rationale is the infamous oil blowout that occurred forty years ago this month, off Santa Barbara.
That spill is the only one in over 45,000 U.S. offshore wells, where significant amounts of oil reached our coasts. And it never would have happened, if it weren’t for the incompetence of a few federal regulators and oil company officials.
The guilty well was being drilled into brittle, highly fractured rock formations which sit atop a more stable zone that holds billions of gallons of gooey crude oil, mixed with natural gas under high pressure. It’s the same oil that’s been seeping out of the shallow formations and washing up on California beaches since long before Spanish explorers used it to waterproof their galleons.
But having drilled several wells without incident, company officials requested a waiver from normal regulations. Unbelievably, it was granted. The drill crew was allowed to install minimal well casing – steel pipes that go into well bores to prevent blowouts.
When oil and gas began to erupt out of the deep drill hole, the crew’s quick response stopped it only temporarily. Because the casing didn’t go deep enough, the pressurized goo surged into the brittle rocks, creating huge gashes that sent gushers of oil out around the platform. For six days, favorable winds kept the oil slick offshore. Then the wind shifted.
Oil inundated Santa Barbara’s gorgeous beaches. Thousands of sea birds died, along with seals and countless other marine animals. The anti-oil environmentalist movement was born.
Thankfully, dire predictions of permanent damage were wrong. Bird, crab, lobster, seal, and other populations soon rebounded. Under the platform, the magnificent artificial reef ecosystem returned.
Enormous mussels, scallops, and barnacles again cover the huge scaffold that holds the production platform above the waves. Gorging on shellfish, and having to move mere inches for their next meal, starfish grow to three feet across. Oriental carpets of white, pink, and lavender sponges and sea anemones create firework displays of color, while crabs scamper about and thousands of mackerel, sardines, and other fish cruise by.
I know this, because I’ve been there, up close and in person, in scuba gear, beneath that very platform and a dozen others in the Santa Barbara Channel and Gulf of Mexico. I joined biologists, wrote professional papers, and produced a documentary film about these towering steel reefs.
Even more important, the technologies, regulations, and enforcement programs have changed. Today, instruments monitor temperature and pressure in wells 24/7. Blowout preventers, pipeline shutoff valves, and other devices on or beneath the sea floor control the flow of oil and natural gas. Offshore operators conduct regular accident training and safety exercises. The efforts have paid off.
In 2005, Hurricanes Katrina and Rita pounded the Gulf of Mexico’s 3,000 drilling rigs and production platforms. Over 200 were damaged or destroyed. But virtually no oil or natural gas escaped.
In fact, according to the U.S. Minerals Management Service (where I used to work), oil companies produced nearly 12 billion barrels of oil from OCS leases between 1980 and 2007. Only 102,000 barrels were spilled: 3,780 barrels a year, on average. That’s a 99.999% safety record.
By contrast, natural seeps, like the ones off California, leak 620,000 barrels of oil per year into U.S. waters. America’s oil industry has a pollution record 164 times better than Mother Nature’s!
And producing more U.S. offshore oil has an added bonus. It means there is less seepage, and thus less oil in our oceans and on our beaches.
Our energy policies should recognize these facts.
America has been held hostage far too long by anti-oil ideologues and foreign “oiligarchs.”
Keeping our vast resources off limits won’t convince consumers to slash petroleum use. We will just import more, and be ever more indebted to foreign powers. (At $50 per barrel, imported oil costs the United States $235 billion per year; at $140 per barrel, we send $650 billion annually overseas.)
Oil prices are low at the moment, because world demand is down, due to the global recession. We could keep them down, by prolonging the recession – an unpalatable option. Or we can help keep prices at tolerable levels, by developing the domestic oil and natural gas that we have in abundance, but politicians, courts and Greens, for too long, have told us we can’t touch.
We need the energy, jobs, and revenues that offshore (and onshore) oil and natural gas development can provide. We can no longer afford to “just say no” to domestic petroleum, during the long transition to future energy technologies that we cannot begin to envision – any more than even Jules Verne could have foreseen the wondrous energy and other technologies that creative minds have made a reality today.
That’s the kind of change we can believe in. The kind America needs.
Political Environmentalism Versus Human Progress & Prosperity:
Policy Issues Relating to Energy, Environment,
& Natural Resources
Paul K. Driessen is Senior Policy Advisor for the Congress of Racial Equality and Committee For A Constructive
Tomorrow, and author of Eco-Imperialism: Green Power · Black Death.
Africa: Black Africa *
Africa: North Africa *
American Government 1
LINKS TO PARTICULAR ISSUES & SUBJECT MATTER CATEGORIES
TREATED IN THE PROGRESSIVE CONSERVATIVE, U.S.A.:
American Government 2 * American Government 3 * American Government 4
American Government 5 * American Politics * Anglosphere * Arabs
Arms Control & WMD * Aztlan Separatists * Big Government
Black Africa * Bureaucracy * Canada * China * Civil Liberties * Communism
Congress, U.S. * Conservative Groups * Conservative vs. Liberal
Constitutional Law * Counterterrorism * Criminal Justice * Disloyalty * Economy
Education * Elections, U.S. * Eminent Domain * Energy & Environment
English-Speaking World * Ethnicity & Race * Europe * Europe: Jews
Family Values * Far East * Fiscal Policy, U.S. * Foreign Aid, U.S. * Foreign Policy, U.S.
France * Hispanic Separatism * Hispanic Treason * Human Health * Immigration
Infrastructure, U.S. * Intelligence, U.S. * Iran * Iraq * Islamic North Africa
Islamic Threat * Islamism * Israeli vs. Arabs * Jews & Anti-Semitism
Jihad & Jihadism * Jihad Manifesto I * Jihad Manifesto II * Judges, U.S. Federal
Judicial Appointments * Judiciary, American * Latin America * Latino Separatism
Latino Treason * Lebanon * Leftists/Liberals * Legal Issues
Local Government, U.S. * Marriage & Family * Media Political Bias
Middle East: Arabs * Middle East: Iran * Middle East: Iraq * Middle East: Israel
Middle East: Lebanon * Middle East: Syria * Middle East: Tunisia
Middle East: Turkey * Militant Islam * Military Defense * Military Justice
Military Weaponry * Modern Welfare State * Morality & Decency
National Identity * National Security * Natural Resources * News Media Bias
North Africa * Patriot Act, USA * Patriotism * Political Culture * Political Ideologies
Political Parties * Political Philosophy * Politics, American * Presidency, U.S.
Private Property * Property Rights * Public Assistance * Radical Islam
Religion & America * Rogue States & WMD * Russia * Science & Ethics
Sedition & Treason * Senate, U.S. * Social Welfare Policy * South Africa
State Government, U.S. * Subsaharan Africa * Subversion * Syria * Terrorism 1
Terrorism 2 * Treason & Sedition * Tunisia * Turkey * Ukraine
UnAmerican Activity * UN & Its Agencies * USA Patriot Act * U.S. Foreign Aid
U.S. Infrastructure * U.S. Intelligence * U.S. Senate * War & Peace
Welfare Policy * WMD & Arms Control
Africa: Black Africa *
Africa: North Africa *
American Government 1
POLITICAL EDUCATION, CONSERVATIVE ANALYSIS
POLITICS, SOCIETY, & THE SOVEREIGN STATE
Website of Dr. Almon Leroy Way, Jr.
A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z
An Online Journal of Political Commentary & Analysis
Dr. Almon Leroy Way, Jr., Editor