Thursday, December 22, 2005

Short-Sighted Senators Sabotage U.S. Energy Security... Again

People, did you enjoy that $3-plus gasoline after hurricanes Katrina and Rita? Well, look for more to come, thanks to 40 Democrats, three Republicans and one Independent in the U.S. Senate who blocked drilling in the Alaska National Wildlife Refuge (ANWR).

Three Republicans—DeWine of Ohio; Chafee of Rhode Island; and Frist of Tennessee (yes, THAT Frist)—sided with 40 Democrats and one Independent, Jumpin’ Jim Jeffords of Vermont to strip ANWR drilling from the defense bill on December 21.

The four Democrats who voted in favor of ANWR drilling were Akaka and Inouye of Hawaii, Landrieu of Louisiana and Nelson of Nebraska.

Once again, shortsightedness and knee-jerk environmentalism killed a provision that would have greatly enhanced American energy security. This, despite the post-hurricane economics lesson that tight supplies and high demand inevitably equal sharply higher prices. This, despite the fact that we are fighting a War on Terror in a region of the world that provides much of our energy needs.

There are probably 10 billion barrels of oil waiting to be tapped in Alaska’s North Slope, possibly more. The land is desolate tundra, virtually unvisited by man, but inhabited by caribou and other wildlife that have been found to thrive amid oil drilling in other parts of the state. Alaskans want the area explored, a majority in the U.S. House wants it explored, but a bunch of idiots in the Senate figure the American people are stupid enough to forget the way they voted and blame the oil companies the next time prices spike. And the sad part is, Americans probably are that stupid, or there would have been a greater public outcry.

Besides ANWR, the East Coast, the West Coast and the Florida Coast are all closed to exploration and drilling. Oil companies operate in an environmentally responsible manner around the globe in many areas far more sensitive than any of those mentioned above. Yet, 44 members of the Senate would rather take their chances on future hurricanes in the Gulf of Mexico, tanker oil spills and terrorist attacks on Mideast oil fields than develop America’s own petroleum supplies.

Note also that many of these same Senators who routinely oppose drilling are often the first to charge American security policy in the Middle East is a tradeoff of blood for oil.

They make me sick. And they ought to make you sick. Remember them when the price of gasoline, home heating oil, natural gas and other petroleum products goes through the roof next time. And that time is surely coming.

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