Below is text from President Bush’s speech the other evening. I’ve divided the speech into two sections. The first text dealing with the energy problem and the second, dealing with the Social Security issue. I haven’t changed the text, but I have changed the format to emphasis what I think are key or important items. The President’s words are in Italics, mine will be in plain text.
Millions of American families and small businesses are hurting because of higher gasoline prices. My administration is doing everything we can to make gasoline more affordable. In the near-term, we will continue to encourage oil producing nations to maximize their production. Here at home, we'll protect consumers. There will be no price gouging at gas pumps in America. We must address the root causes that are driving up gas prices.
Over the past decade, America's energy consumption has been growing about 40 times faster than our energy production. That means we're relying more on energy produced abroad. To reduce our dependence on foreign sources of energy, we must take four key steps.
· First, we must better use technology to become better conservers of energy.
· Secondly, we must find innovative and environmentally sensitive ways to make the most of our existing energy resources, including oil, natural gas, coal and safe, clean nuclear power.
· Third, we must develop promising new sources of energy, such as hydrogen, ethanol or biodiesel.
· Fourth, we must help growing energy consumers overseas, like China and India, apply new technologies to use energy more efficiently, and reduce global demand of fossil fuels.
I applaud the House for passing a good energy bill. Now the Senate needs to act on this urgent priority. American consumers have waited long enough. To help reduce our dependence on foreign sources of energy, Congress needs to get an energy bill to my desk by this summer so I can sign it into law.
I notice that President Bush did not mention, at least directly, domestic drilling. Yes, I’m going to bring up ANWR. Did you know that ANWR was originally set aside in 1980 with provisiion for oil exploration? Did you know that there are 19 million acres in ANWR? And did you know that the area set aside for oil exploration is only 2000 acres? We’re talking about 2000 acres in an area the size of South Carolina (see map below). Do you also know that exploration is scheduled to be done during the winter months when the ground is frozen over and trucking will not effect the environment? Native animals move south during the winter months to areas where there is food and, even considering we’re talking about Alaska, warmer climes. During the spring, summer, and fall months, when the ground is soft, and native animal populations would abound, no drilling would be done.
Did you know that what is being said now about caribou and other native animals being pushed away from their breeding areas in ANWR because of drilling was said about the Alaskan pipeline? Did you know that because of the warmth generated by the pipeline animal populations actually increased? They like being near warmth so they congregate near the pipeline and propregate. We have the ability to explore for oil, get it out of the ground and not destroy the environement at the same time.
Here’s something else you might not know: there have been no new oil refineries built since something like 1980. If we built more refineries the supply of gas would increase. Prices usually go down when the supply increases, and prices go up with the supply goes down. Suppliers can get higher prices when the supply is down. It's a simple matter of supply and demand. When the supply does not meet the demand, the price goes up. The Saudis recently released more oil, and the prices came down. Not much, but a litte.
Doesn’t it make sense to build more refineries? In fact, I’ve heard talk of building refineries on closed military bases. Makes sense to me. Instead of leaving the bases to fall apart, make use of what has already been built. Sure, improvements would have to be made, but wouldn’t it be better to use land that is already being used, or at least was being used instead of building refineries on undeveloped land?
We have to understand that life has changed. We simply cannot rely on other countries to supply our energy resources. It makes us depended on them. And being dependent means that we have to accept the amount of oil they decide we can have and at what price. I’m much too independent for that. I don’t mind getting some oil from other countries, but we are entirely too dependent on foreign oil supplies for my tastes.
Note: Thanks to Neal Boortz for the map