Wednesday, August 06, 2008

What a Waste of Energy - America's Energy Policy

Its Time for "North America for Americans"

Hey guys, take a minute to catch your breath and look around. Well, that might be a lot to expect as I've been in campaigns before and I know how hard it is for a candidate to find advisors who actually listen to the public rather than try to tell the public what to think. This campaign seems to have more than its fair share of experts who continue to miss the point and miss the opportunity to show us how their candidate is prepared to lead.

If the candidates want to be responsible then act responsible. If the candidates want to be taken seriously on energy, then act like you know what you are talking about. And if the candidates want to save America then be gentlemen and work together to save us. Otherwise, get out of the way and shut up!

Our first and only concern should be energy independence from foreign control and manipulation. There must be an American strategy that includes our neighbors to the north and south, Canada and Mexico. Between the three (USA, Canada and Mexico) we have more than enough reserves of oil, natural gas and alternative energy capacity to meet our needs forever.

Between the three we have the technical skills, exploration capacity, financial resources and the spirit of freedom needed to create our own cartel to meet our future needs, to control inflation which is now driven by oil prices, to offset problems in one area (hurricanes) with increased production in another area (Canadian shale reserves), and to finally gain independence from foreign manipulation.

There should be no more Dubai's financed with the blood money from American consumers. In the future the horrendous transfer of wealth from the Americas to Arab nations and hostile energy producing nations for oil should stay at home. Instead of $15,000 hotel rooms in the desert, we can give away health care to our citizens. Instead of pro golf courses in camel country how about a good education for everyone here.

If the United States, Mexico and Canada decided our shared interests were far more important than our differences, that our heritages are bound together through generations, that our borders touch and that if the citizens of all three countries had good homes, good health and good jobs, there would be no need for illegal immigration, then we could all live in peace and harmony.

Well the money we wasted buying inflated oil could have accomplished just that and isn't it about time we used that money to do some good for the Americas? Stop pointing fingers and building walls and work together. Mexico and Canada have incredible oil reserves. We all have a need and desire to help each other grow. And we sure don't need the rest of the world to interfere.

Years ago when we passed NAFTA our biggest mistake was not that it went too far, it didn't go far enough. Oh we moved jobs to Mexico and US manufacturers saved money, but at what cost? We didn't protect the workers down there like we protect them here. We didn't make sure the people of Mexico got a better standard of living, decent homes, food and housing and a better education for their children.

Maybe it is time we stepped back and did it right. Maybe we need an agreement based on a shared interest in creating energy independence for all three nations. One that assures that excess profits are invested in the people, in their standard of living and quality of life. Maybe we should stop glamorizing the excesses like the development of Dubai and start focusing on the real world which is the people living in our three countries in substandard conditions with inferior education and jobs in the wrong place.

Take the current popular energy issue. Every day McCain and Obama cram more and more ideas into their energy programs, sometimes changing from the day before and sometimes saying things that are just plain crazy. The only thing worse than the candidates butchering of the energy issue is the press failing to challenge the candidates on their smorgasbord of mishmash to solve our energy problems.

Did anyone tell the candidates that the price of oil has dropped $28.00 a barrel? Did anyone tell them the price of gas has gone down for 18 straight weeks? How about the fact the American public knows what to do and have reduced the use of gas every week for the last 19 weeks, the greatest decline in gas usage in history? Do our politicians know while they spit out ideas like machine gun bullets and fail to take any action on anything, the people have said enough is enough and stopped driving so much, turned up the thermostats, got rid of the gas guzzlers, and reduced the amount of travel.

While the candidates run attack ads and tell us how stupid their opponent is the people have driven oil prices down. While congress goes on vacation to tell us why the Democrats or Republicans are blocking energy reform, the price of oil is dropping without their reforms. Now it is a start and there is a long ways to go but the nonsense being offered by congress and the two candidates to help us out of the mess only compounds the problems.

If the price is coming down for no reason just like the price went up for no reason then something is wrong with the system. All the nuclear reactors in the world and all the alternative energy boosts in the world will not overcome corruption in the marketplace, unfair business actions, malicious price manipulation of the futures market, and the evil intentions of oil speculators.

We need an investigation of the price manipulation and prosecution of the perpetrators of the crimes, meaningful prosecution of the bad guys, if we want to stop the same corruption from corrupting the energy alternatives. Hiring a lot more investigators and prosecutors will have an immediate effect on prices. Candidate proposals may have an effect by 2012 or later. I don't know about you but I am not content to wait until the Mayan Indians say it is the end of time (December 21, 2012) before we achieve anything.

Nuclear reactors, contrary to the vast experience of McCain, are still dangerous. Three Mile Island and Chernobyl were not jokes nor movies, they were real. I was at TMI for the multi-billion dollar clean up of that "harmless" accident. If $5-7 billion is harmless what is the world coming to? And Chernobyl, I met the kids that were victims of radiation poisoning, the kids that must remain in the hot zone for life because they can contaminate other people. Of course life for them is about 10-12 years.

There is an accident in the Ukraine and sheep die a thousand miles away in Scotland. Land from nuclear testing over the years is a dead zone for hundreds of years. Nuclear waste at our nuclear plants sit stored at the plants, vulnerable to terrorist attack, because congress cannot get a nuclear disposal facility built in the desert. When a nuclear plant wears out, and they do just like everything else, the plant must be decommissioned and that cost is now more than the cost of building the plant in the first place. Nuclear has a role but must be used with great caution.

On the other hand, there are known reserves of oil sufficient to meet the world needs for 300 more years. We are not running out of oil tomorrow. The price manipulation of oil has nothing to do with the supply and demand, the normal supply and demand. Off shore drilling, even the very limited Alaskan drilling, can only help us be more independent. But we need refinery capacity to make the various types of gas and oil we need if we get the crude locally.

Together the three nations should develop and implement a long term energy independence plan that makes all known and unknown reserves available to the producers including the Gulf, Atlantic and Pacific deep water reserves, the limited areas in Alaska that should be developed, and the many other known reserves in the countries.

As new territory is made available for drilling refining capacity must be expanded in the Americas to produce the products we need. There must be substantial incentives for alternative energy and energy conservation programs. For example, energy savings of 50% or more can be made in our older housing stock. Multiply that by a few hundred thousand homes and a real dent in energy demand can be realized.

I say withhold foreign aid to oil producing nations until the foreign governments lean on their local producers to stop speculation. If they want to play games against us then cut off our foreign aid to the crooks.

A meaningful partnership is needed between the three bordering nations, the energy companies in those nations, the conservation and alternative fuel companies in those nations, and the building code enforcement authorities in those nations. Such a partnership will protect and create jobs, stop foreign trade deficits, stop the transfer of wealth to Arab nations, and stop the out of control oil and gas prices. Together we have a chance to change history.

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