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Fritz Feds

Friday, May 19, 2006

I don't have the energy for this.

You know what I love about American politics? The way we can treat something as a massive national crisis, score all of the right points, and still refuse to do anything about it.  
Look, I don't particularly like paying almost three dollars for a gallon of gas, but I'm not so sure it's the end of the world either.  But let's assume for now that it is a real problem.  Pols from both parties have been tossing around ideas to "do something" about it, but most of the ideas have been shortsighted, misguided, or just plain stupid.  Bill Frist wanted to give ME one hundred of YOUR dollars.  I'm not sure what that was supposed to accomplish, but I probably would have blown it on booze and cigarettes.

Finally, Rep. John Peterson (R-PA) introduces a measure to lift a moratorium on offshore (everywhere except energy exploration and drilling that has been in effect since 1981.  I bet you can guess what happened.  

"Drilling for natural gas means drilling for oil," argued Rep. Lois Capps, D-Calif., citing industry pronouncements that where there is gas, often oil is found and probably would be developed. "Drilling three miles off our coast will not lower gas prices today or anytime in the near future."

So we shouldn't look past next week, Lois?  

"People don't go to visit the coasts of Florida or the coast of California to watch oil wells," Rep. Sam Farr, D-Calif., said.

Well Sam, a lot of people, when visiting your beaches, don't look much past the beach.  And if gas prices (and thus transportation costs) keep getting higher, they might just decide to go somewhere else.  Of course, later on in the article the truth comes out:

"Lifting the moratorium wouldn't mean drilling right away, he said. The presidential moratorium would not be affected by the congressional action, he said. And President Bush has said he has no intention of tinkering with the moratorium, which also had been the policy of his two predecessors."


"Rep. Frank Pallone, D-N.J., was more blunt. 'Our coasts are simply too valuable to risk this. I can't depend on the president. The president is an oil man.'"

If only that were true.  Here I see two possibilities.
1.) W is not actually an oil man.
2.) W is so afraid of the oil man accusation (that gets hurled anyway) that he is afraid to do much of anything in that area, even when he knows it would be the right move.

Of course, the measure was voted down.  For all of the complaining about the current high prices and all of the talk of "energy independence" our track record is horrible.  

-We refuse to allow exploration on our continental shelves.
-We refuse to allow for exploration in ANWR.  
-We have not opened a new oil refinery in the U.S. in almost 30 years.
-We have not built a new nuclear power plant since the 1970's.  The Watts Bar plant in
  Tennessee opened in 1996 (well, half of it); construction began in 1973.  
-We make ethanol from corn, and subsidize the hell out of it. Politically smart,
  energetically stupid.  
-We continue to place a substantial tariff on foreign ethanol, which is often made from
  sugar cane. Guess we don't want to upset big corn and big sugar.  

Now, there's probably something funny about a conservative complaining about a lack of innovation and the country being stuck in the past.  Too bad.  


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