July 2008 Archives

The Tools of Free Men

by A.W.R. Hawkins

Oil is the fuel of free nations, guns and speech the tools of free men. Thus the three have freedom in common. Ironically, oil, guns, and free speech have something else in common as well: all three are scorned by the Left. Democrats are opposed to further oil exploration, individual gun rights, and speech that is free from the constraints of political correctness.

We need oil now, and there is no doubt about the amounts of untapped oil off the shores of California, under the surface of the earth in Wyoming and Colorado, and up in that pristine rock quarry called ANWR. But the Democrats are so opposed to further oil exploration that they will not even hear of drilling for these deposits or exploring oil shale extraction with new technologies. As a result Democrats, who claim to represent the "common man," are pushing the price of a gallon of gas above that of what many a common man can afford.

The Democrats use ecological concerns as a cover for their inflexibility on this issue, yet their refusal to drill is actually contributing to ecological problems. Off many of our coasts, the amount of untapped oil is so great that the deposits themselves create a pressure that forces oil to seep through the ocean floor and into the ocean. As a matter of fact, on the beaches of Santa Barbara, it is not uncommon for beachcombers to step into a "glob of tar" while walking the beach. The only way to decrease both the occurrence and size of the globs of tar is to increase oil production, according to a 1999 press release by the University of California, Santa Barbara.

Read the rest of this piece at Human Events


The great danger of confronting peak oil and global warming isn't that we will sit on our collective asses and do nothing while civilization collapses, but that we will plunge after "solutions" that will make our problems even worse. Like believing we can replace gasoline with ethanol, the much-hyped biofuel that we make from corn.

Ethanol, of course, is nothing new. American refiners will produce nearly 6 billion gallons of corn ethanol this year, mostly for use as a gasoline additive to make engines burn cleaner. But in June, the Senate all but announced that America's future is going to be powered by biofuels, mandating the production of 36 billion gallons of ethanol by 2022. According to ethanol boosters, this is the beginning of a much larger revolution that could entirely replace our 21-million-barrel-a-day oil addiction. Midwest farmers will get rich, the air will be cleaner, the planet will be cooler, and, best of all, we can tell those greedy sheiks to fuck off. As the king of ethanol hype, Sen. Chuck Grassley of Iowa, put it recently, "Everything about ethanol is good, good, good."

This is not just hype -- it's dangerous, delusional bullshit. Ethanol doesn't burn cleaner than gasoline, nor is it cheaper. Our current ethanol production represents only 3.5 percent of our gasoline consumption -- yet it consumes twenty percent of the entire U.S. corn crop, causing the price of corn to double in the last two years and raising the threat of hunger in the Third World. And the increasing acreage devoted to corn for ethanol means less land for other staple crops, giving farmers in South America an incentive to carve fields out of tropical forests that help to cool the planet and stave off global warming.

So why bother? Because the whole point of corn ethanol is not to solve America's energy crisis, but to generate one of the great political boondoggles of our time. Corn is already the most subsidized crop in America, raking in a total of $51 billion in federal handouts between 1995 and 2005 -- twice as much as wheat subsidies and four times as much as soybeans. Ethanol itself is propped up by hefty subsidies, including a fifty-one-cent-per-gallon tax allowance for refiners. And a study by the International Institute for Sustainable Development found that ethanol subsidies amount to as much as $1.38 per gallon -- about half of ethanol's wholesale market price.

Read the rest of this piece at Rolling Stone

No Drilling, No Vote

By Washington Post Editorial

Speaker Pelosi won't let the House debate the merits of offshore drilling.

Friday, July 25, 2008; A20

WHY NOT have a vote on offshore drilling? There's a serious debate to be had over whether Congress should lift the ban on drilling in the Outer Continental Shelf that has been in place since 1981. Unfortunately, you won't be hearing it in the House of Representatives -- certainly, you won't find lawmakers voting on it -- anytime soon.

Instead of dealing with the issue on the merits, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.), a staunch opponent of offshore drilling, has simply decreed that she will not allow a drilling vote to take place on the House floor. Why not?

Read the rest of this piece at Washington Post

Drilling in ANWR will Cut Gas Costs

By Michelle Bachmann

America's gas prices are continuing to spiral out of control and Washington has done nothing to give our nation's motorists the relieve they deserve. Record high prices are having a major impact on American consumers and businesses, from the way people travel to the way they do business to the food they buy at the grocery store. Congress has the ability to decrease prices at the pump and get our nation back to $2 a gallon gas - and it means accessing our nation's available resources and opening up the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge (ANWR) today.

Last weekend, I traveled to northern Alaska to view firsthand the vast supply of natural resources America possesses.  As I expected, ANWR was nothing more than a barren land, an arctic tundra void of wildlife and trees.  During most of the year, it's completely blanketed with ice and snow.  Also, of the 19.6 million acres that makes up ANWR, the area which would be used for oil exploration is a small 2,000-acre lot. That is not even 1/10 of 1% of the total area of ANWR. The Energy Information Administration (EIA) estimates that 10.4 billion barrels of oil are recoverable in ANWR. If retrieved that would mean a possible 50% increase in total U.S. proven reserves and thousands of new domestic jobs.

It's critical that Congress make lowering our gas prices a priority and set its political games aside. Yet, Democrats in the majority continue to block commonsense legislation from coming to the floor. In fact, they're using parliamentary maneuvers to keep Republicans from even offering pro-energy amendments.

Since my earliest days in Congress, I have joined my Republican colleagues in supporting key legislation to curb our nation's gas costs. Recently, I introduced a bill which would help us return to $2 a gallon.  My bill, H.R. 6463, the Emergency Energy Cut-the-Red-Tape Now Act, would allow Americans to tap our national energy resources and provide relief from off-the-chart gas costs. It gives the Secretary of the Interior the ability to open the ANWR, oil shale reserves, and the Outer Continental Shelf, and streamline the refinery process.  And if the price of oil exceeds $100 a barrel, my bill would require the Secretary to waive leasing and permitting regulations to open up these energy stores without further delay.

Read the rest of this piece at Human Events

Buzzwatch: 50 Things Being Blamed on Rising Oil Prices

Posted by Tom Weber

Got a problem? Blame oil.

If you're searching for a defining theme to 2008 this holiday weekend-perhaps while filling up at the pump-look no further than the soaring price of oil. Every day, the impact of high oil prices pervades the news, and that news is usually bad. Oil, with no small measure of justification, is the all-purpose fall guy of the moment.

There are the familiar casualties, of course,

Read the rest of this piece at The Wall Street Journal Blog