Crude Awakening: Dems make the case for drilling
By: Daniel Clark
If crocodile tears were combustible, the Democrats could solve our energy problem tomorrow. While campaigning in New Hampshire recently, John Edwards bemoaned that “people are worried and concerned and, in some cases, having to choose between paying their rent, paying for food, or paying to keep their place warm.”
He made this statement while announcing his plan to reduce energy costs, one facet of which is to release some of our government’s strategic petroleum reserves. This idea has also been floated by his rival, Sen. Hillary Clinton, and many others in their party.
The striking thing about the suggestion is that it is a recognition that an increase in the available supply of oil would mitigate the increase in the cost. To most people, this is taken as axiomatic, being one of the laws of supply and demand. To Democrats, however, it’s something of a novel concept. Before they fully embrace the idea, they might want to appoint a blue ribbon commission to study it, and issue an interim report sometime in 2011.
Where they’ve gone astray is in that the economic effect of what they’re advocating would be negligible. The most recent drawdown of our government’s strategic petroleum reserves, in response to Hurricane Katrina, was in the amount of 20.8 million barrels. By comparison, the Department of the Interior estimates that the Alaskan National Wildlife Reserve would produce 1.4 million barrels per day, or 511 million annually.
Regardless of all the alternative fuel pipe dreams that have been proposed, increased domestic oil production is the surest way to produce large quantities of energy that can’t be shut off by hostile foreign governments. Compared to that, the effect of releasing the strategic reserves would be like spitting in the ocean.
Yet the Democrats, along with a handful of liberal Republicans, have repeatedly obstructed President Bush’s efforts to allow new oil exploration in ANWR, offshore on both coasts, and in the Gulf of Mexico. Instead, they demand that he release a comparatively miniscule amount of oil that has been put aside in case of emergency, and if he doesn’t, they’ll blame him for the high energy costs they’ve helped to create.
Since Edwards recognizes the benefit to the American people of increasing the oil supply, and won’t agree to increase the supply by any perceptible amount in the long term, then whatever concern he has for struggling homeowners must not rank as highly among his priorities as he pretends.
The most obvious reason why Edwards and his fellow Democrats will not ease the burden on energy consumers is that they don’t want to cross the environmental lobby. What makes it hard to accept their environmental concerns at face value is that, despite their characterization of oil as a global threat, their demands and protests stop at America’s borders.
Upon announcing a major oil strike off the coast of Brazil, that country’s socialist president, Luiz Ignacio Lula da Silva, cited the news as proof that “God is Brazilian.” Imagine the uproar, both internationally and from the Democratic Party, if Bush ever declared God to be American, because he had blessed our country with an abundance of oil. Edwards and friends would throw the word “hubris” around so much that they’d wear the handle off the “h”.
Likewise, Mexico isn’t accused of “destroying the planet” for drilling in its part of the Gulf, or Canada for drilling in its barren Arctic wasteland. This selective nature of the environmentalists’ outrage does not give the Democrats pause, however, to reconsider the validity of their condemnations of the United States. Instead, they accept as an article of faith that only the drilling that takes place within the U.S. and its waters is a potential cause of global destruction.
The Democrats are helping to drive up the costs of gasoline and home heating oil not because they’re concerned about the environment, but because they’re concerned about being concerned about it. They’ve chosen sides between Edwards’ “two Americas,” and they’ve taken the side of the limousine liberals over that of the “little guy” to whom he pays so much lip service. Sure, they could alleviate the pressure that energy prices put on American familes’ budgets, but what would Leonardo DiCaprio think of them?
Whatever else the Democrats propose, until they agree to use the laws of oil supply and demand to our advantage, they resign their constituents to unnecessarily high energy prices. As long as that’s the case, the least they can do is to cap their bottomless supply of phony compassion.
Daniel Clark is a Staff Writer for the New Media Alliance. The New Media Alliance is a non-profit (501c3) national coalition of writers, journalists and grass-roots media outlets.
Daniel Clark is a writer from Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. He is the author and editor of a web publication called The Shinbone: The Frontier of the Free Press, where he also publishes a seasonal sports digest as The College Football Czar.