The Spinning - It's Making Me Dizzy

Monday, July 14, 2008
Turns out the Bush administration is about to make their "grand announcement" about removing the moratorium on off-shore drilling. They're supposedly doing this in response to "skyrocketing" gas prices at the pump.

The spin, of course, is that the generous Bush administration will do a WWF smack-down on those narrow-minded tree-huggers so that average joes can afford to fill up their gas tanks. 'Cause you can always count on the Bush administration to take care of the average joe.

And yet, there's the fine print:

"A report last year by the Energy Department's Energy Information Administration said that 'access to the Pacific, Atlantic, and eastern Gulf regions would not have a significant impact on domestic crude oil and natural gas production or prices before 2030. Leasing would begin no sooner than 2012, and production would not be expected to start before 2017.'"

I haven't done the research to determine if I'm in favor or opposed to off-shore drilling - there appears to be valid arguments for both sides. But what I do know is that opening up these areas for drilling will not provide any kind of immediate relief in terms of gas prices. To suggest otherwise is just such a blatant manipulation that it turns my stomach (and makes me dizzy).

Does the general public really believe this maneuver will save their bacon and their wallet in the short term? Really? Is the public so used to eating the pablum given them by the government asshats that they'll just believe any-fucking-thing?

How come the headlines aren't talking about a long-term sustainable energy policy? Or is that just crazy talk, to be filed alongside Big Foot sightings and the proposed Denver UFO Commission?

12 comments:

Shawn Powers said...

I'm not big on conspiracy theories, and I'm quite certain there isn't enough oil under us anywhere to support our consumption for the long term. I don't buy that there is enough oil in Alaska to sustain us for 1000 years or whatever...

I'm actually oddly happy with the current gas prices, as we are FINALLY seeing research into alternate fuel sources. There won't be any rapid, awesome fixes on that front either, but at least we're beginning to see some progress.

Yes, it helps that I work 2 miles from my home, and my second job is telecommuting... But even at that, I think the cost of gas might make telecommuting more and more popular too. That will help small communities like mine by bringing the possibility of gainful employment to our currently tourist driven economy.

Sorry for going off topic there, as far as off-shore drilling goes, I too have no idea where I stand on the issue. I just don't know enough about it.

John the Scientist said...

I'd also like to see some smackdown on the individual states requiring different blends, putting refinery capacity at risk. If there was ever a reason to get all Federalist with the interstate commerce clasue, this is it.

Oh yes, and an end to the ethanol subsidies - it takes mroe fiossil fuel to make ethanol that ethanol blends save in consumption - it's a net loss for the environment.

A few new refineries would not hurt, either. Hell, I'd even throw a bone in Jim's direction and ask for one in Alaska.

But the biggest boost any administration could do would be to tell the Enviro-luddite wing of the environmentalist movement to make a choice - new nuclear plants, or continued dependence of fossil fuels. The the government should then announce that the courts will not entertain any lawsuits trying to prevent nuclear plants from being built after the developers have been through DoE and EPA reviews.

As it stands, the risk and expense of negotiating the courts for approval prevent pretty much any new plant form being built, nuclear, coal, anything.

This particular gesture is stupid even by the standards of this administration.

Janiece Murphy said...

Shawn, I'm a huge fan of telecommuting (as you know). Love, love, love.

And John, I'm cautiously pro-nuclear, too. Although I wouldn't describe myself as a tree-hugger, I do have some environmental concerns about it, like the disposal of waste.

My biggest bitch, though, is a lack of a comprehensive energy program in this country.

I feel like I'm stuck in "Back to the Futre."

"McFly!" *knock, knock, knock* "McFly! Where's my energy policy?"

Chris said...

I doubt we'll see a fix for the gas price issue in the near future. It's actually made me think about buying a hybrid.

I like the Denver Commission story:

"Peckman, 54, who is single and lives with his parents..."

Wow, what a big surprise!

Janiece Murphy said...

Hee! Chris, I noticed that, too.

Boy, he's a catch. I wonder why some lucky, lucky woman hasn't snatched him up?

Random Michelle K said...

John, did you ever find out if the ethanol subsidies are behind the lower prices in the midwest?

And I've thought for years that gas prices in the US are too low.

Unfortunately, the higher gas prices are hitting the poor in WV disproportionately hard. Many of the poorest parts of the state don't have public transportation, and many of the cars owned by those on the edge are not fuel efficient (it's a Catch 22. When you're living on the edge you may be putting more into repairs than you'd be spending on a new car loan, however, when you're spending all that money on car repairs just to get to your job, you can't set anything aside for a newer car.)

However, something has to be done to force people to recognize the need for more fuel efficient and alternative energy source vehicle.

Eric said...

Boy, he's a catch. I wonder why some lucky, lucky woman hasn't snatched him up?

You mean there should be some kind of a Ms. Peckman who should help him chase weird bug-eyed monsters? Hmmm... why does that sound strangely familiar? Oh well, nevermind.

Put me down in the cautiously pro-nuke camp as well. There are some relatively new reactor designs that make the common fears--meltdown or Chernobyl-like steam explosion--all but impossible. The problem is disposal, and part of that problem is frankly political: aside from coming up with a low-risk methodology, you're going to have to convince people it's okay if it's in their backyards. Considering how difficult it is to convince Americans that thimerosol doesn't cause autism or (hey, let's get really basic) that we evolved from a shared ancestor from other primates, I'm not optimistic of success. Nor do I think the NIMBY issue is partisan: if you want to unite Republicans and Democrats on an issue, tell them we're going to bury radioactive ceramic pellets ten miles up the road from their subdivision.

Nathan said...

Mostly pro-nuke, here.

I'm not certain how I feel about off-shore drilling (mildly in favor), but I don't think the length of time it'll take before they make a difference should be part of the discussion. That's been part of the argument all along and wouldn't it have been nice if they'd started drilling in the 80's?

You've gotta start sometime and wait for results.

Janiece Murphy said...

Nathan, as I said, I don't yet have an opinion on off-shore drilling. It may (or may not) be a great idea for mid-term relief.

My issue is with the asshats who advertise it as short term relief.

Because it's not.

Eric said...

In my mind, the off-shore drilling has the same inherent ugliness as the strip-mining I'd see in the Appalachians back in the '80s. I doubt we'll get much oil, and I suspect we'll end up leaving some scarring we'll regret later.

And ultimately, the solution isn't hydrocarbons anyway. We ought to be weaning ourselves from them in general. The thirty-year plan should involve alternative sources including nuclear, wind, solar, geothermal and hydroelectric, along with efforts to decrease demand by improving energy efficiency and public transportation. (Speaking of hydro: if we're going to build structures offshore, I'd rather see wave harnessing devices than oil rigs; c.f. the list of experimental options and prototypes here. Not all of the options are pretty, but they are cleaner.)

Random Michelle K said...

Eric, not only is strip mining still going on, but they've made it worse with Mountaintop Removal.

Tania said...

To weigh in as an Alaskan here since before the pipeline...

The oil is going to go away sometime. Even developing new technologies to exploit previously marginal fields, it's still stupid to put all your eggs in one basket.

Small scale hydropower. Nuclear. Wind. Solar. Geothermal.

Ever since the price of oil bottomed out in the early 80s there has been no real motivation to explore our options.

Offshore drilling has a lot of drawbacks. Developing oilfields takes a long time. Why shouldn't we develop better technologies instead of supporting the status quo?