May 6, 2008

No Priority for Energy

Justin Katz

Michael Zey's op-ed, yesterday, enunciates the factors indicating that the United States of America is just not that interested in developing energy independence — much less developing energy as an export industry.

As the Platts report plainly states, without a growing energy supply, countries face "declining growth rates, diminished standards of living, and growing transfer of wealth from importing to exporting countries." In other words the U.S. either enlarges its energy pool or just waits for accelerating gasoline and electricity prices to erode its global economic competitiveness over the next several decades. ...

Last year saw the first applications for new nuclear-power plant construction in the United States since the 1970s, with 31 new plant-license applications soon to come. ...

Several U.S. governors, purportedly concerned about "greenhouse-gas emissions," have vetoed construction of coal-burning power plants in their states — at least 45 coal plants were abandoned in 2007. ...

The High Arctic region's resources are also critical to U.S. energy independence. But if the government accedes to demands to classify that region's polar bear as an endangered species, we cannot tap the estimated 10 billion barrels of oil in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge (ANWR), equal to the next 10-15 years of oil imports from Saudi Arabia. A planned privately funded natural-gas pipeline to transport to the U.S. mainland some of the 35 trillion cubic feet of natural gas from Alaska’s North Slope would also be scrapped.

The list of such wasted opportunities is painfully long.

It's a positive thing that we're circumspect about our methods of creating energy, but by thus burdening our homegrown industry, we wind up funding anti-humanitarian regimes and doing the environment no good in the process.