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« The Master Investor | Main | Soundtrack for the Boomers' Coming-of-Age »
Wednesday
Jul022008

Letter to My Senators

All of us are fully aware of the impact rising energy bills are having on our country and the rest of the world.  The policies of or own government have contributed to this increase in oil prices.  By putting a number of promising areas off-limits to drillers and others who would develop our own energy resources, our own representatives have contributed substantially to the recent spike in energy prices.  Thus, I am going to send the letter below to my senators and representatives to encourage them to support developing more of the United States' energy resources.

 

Dear Senator and Congressman,

 

Recently Petrobas, the Brazilian National Oil Company, announced the discovery of a major new oil field off the coast of Brazil.  This field is to be developed over the next several years and will provide an energy-hungry world  with a substantial new source of crude oil.  There was celebration in the country of Brazil.  Since that discovery was announced, our president went to the rulers of Saudi Arabia, the source of much of the oil we use  in the US, and, hat-in-hand, begged the Saudis to increase their production of crude oil.  I certainly understand the President's request, but undoubtedly the Saudis found his plea a bit hollow since we could be celebrating like the Brazilians and doing much more to help ourselves.  How can they take seriously a country who chooses to keep vast quantities of enery within its own borders untapped?

 

Consider the proven reserves in Alaska National Wildlife Refuge (ANWR.)  By drilling in a miniscule portion of this huge area, on the coastal plain, we could tap billions of barrels of new oil.  This area is far from the pristine wildlife areas that we often see pictured of Denali Park.  It is actually just a flat tundra, largely devoid of wildlife.  A tiny percentage of our people are familiar with this isolated area; an even smaller number will ever visit it ; yet the zealots have held sway, and our elected representatives have chosen to put this area off limits to new drilling.  The many are paying the price, literally, for the folly of the few.  The Saudis and Hugo Chavez have got to be scratching their heads.

We have untold quantities of oil offshore, in the continental shelf; but this too is off limits.  Conservative estimates of put these reserves at over 20 billion barrels; this is even more than the ANWR reserves.  The timing and ultimate impact on prices of these reserves can be debated, but the fact that they will accomplish nothing if left in the ground is fact.  The Chinese, in cooperation with the Cubans, will shortly be drilling just south of our territorial waters, practically in sight of Key West, while our own oil companies are prohibited from heading north a few miles and getting some of that oil for our own consumption because, once again, the zealots have carried the day.  Hurricane Katrina tore up the gulf, destroying a number of oil rigs, but almost no oil was spilled during this catastrophe, yet the zealots use the threat of hurricanes and their destruction to lock up further exploration in the gulf.  Those on west coast still point to a spill from the 60's as poof that we cannot be trusted to develop our own resources safely, yet oil recovery technology has advanced greatly since then and is much more reliable.  But hey, why take a chance just because gasoline is nearing $5 per gallon in California?  What's the loss of a few million jobs and the economic dislocation that accompanies it compared to the miniscule threat of an oil spill?

 

Our economy is destined for the foreseeable future to be dependent on fossil fuel.  We all hope and pray for the technological break through that will set us free from this fact, but it is not on the horizon.  I am a member of the airline profession and the cost of fuel is decimating my industry.  My industry stands to lose thousands of jobs over the next few years given the current price of fuel.  As our industry shrinks, so will our economy as it is dependent to a certain degree on a healthy airline industry.  I think I can speak for many in my industry when I tell you that we are more concerned with our families here in the real world than we are with a few caribou in ANWR.  It is hard to get too concerned about wildlife 10,000 miles away when one cannot make the mortgage payment.  I want to encourage you to please take steps to unlock our own energy resources for our country.

Most of us are concerned about protecting our environment.  I share many of the concerns of the Sierra Club and other such groups.  But as is so often the case, the zealots have taken charge of many of these groups, and zealots rarely respond to the reason of common sense.  It seems that they not only want to protect the environment, they also want our society to pay some form of penance for the affluence we have come to enjoy in the West.  They may not be satisfied until they have reduced our living standards to those of the early 20th century.  Make no mistake, shutting up much of our energy resources may accomplish this.  As energy prices soar and stoke inflation, the lower income groups and the retired pay the highest price.  For retirees inflation is one of the most crippling taxes.  Who among you will take the lead to help these folks; to help our country?

Our elected representatives are supposedly some of the best informed and most educated amongst us.  Thus, is it any wonder, in light of our current energy situation,  that you, as a group, form one of the least respected groups in our society.  As a group, you are edged out by used car salesmen.  Our government has known that this day in our energy lives has been coming for decades, yet has dawdled and "played politics" with it.  For many, their first thought on any subject has been "How can I spin this politically?" rather than "what is best for our country?"  Nancy Pelosi and Harry Reid are unabashed masters at this.  Thankfully you do not seem to have fallen into that group.  As our voices in government you should be calling for conservation at every turn and increasing the supply of energy in every way possible.  One way to increase the supply would be to aggressively pursue nuclear power, an approach largely abandoned due to the  anti-nuclear  frenzy of the few.

 

We are seeing one of the largest net transfers of wealth in the history of the world.  Oil importing countries are sending vast amounts of their national wealth to oil exporting countries.  Need I remind you that very few oil exporters are our friends.  Some of them are our avoid enemies.  It can hardly be deemed patriotic on this Forth of July to keep our own energy resources locked up.  We have resources; let's develop them while we wait on the new technology that will eventually bring us energy independence. 

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