Friday, October 16, 2009


Sarah Palin has an excellent article at National Review about energy and our dependence on foreign oil.

Given that we’re spending billions of stimulus dollars to rebuild our highways, it makes sense to think about what we’ll be driving on them. For years to come, most of what we drive will be powered, at least in part, by diesel fuel or gasoline. To fuel that driving, we need access to oil. The less use we make of our own reserves, the more we will have to import, which leads to a number of harmful consequences. That means we need to drill here and drill now.

We rely on petroleum for much more than just powering our vehicles: It is essential in everything from jet fuel to petrochemicals, plastics to fertilizers, pesticides to pharmaceuticals. Ac­cord­ing to the Energy Information Ad­min­is­tra­tion, our total domestic petroleum consumption last year was 19.5 million barrels per day (bpd). Motor gasoline and diesel fuel accounted for less than 13 million bpd of that. Meanwhile, we produced only 4.95 million bpd of domestic crude. In other words, even if we ran all our vehicles on something else (which won’t happen anytime soon), we would still have to depend on imported oil. And we’ll continue that dependence until we develop our own oil resources to their fullest extent.

This is what I have never understood about environmentalist here. No matter how many energy alternatives we seek (and we should), we still have to depend on oil and gas now and in the forseeable future for our needs. Why is it somehow more environmental to buy oil and gas from other countries than from here? We are still using a resource that comes from the earth, just not our part of the earth. It really makes no sense. Especially considering that drilling here makes certain that we can over see the process. As Palin points out:

My home state of Alaska shows how it’s possible to be both pro-environment and pro-resource-development. Alaskans would never support anything that endangered our pristine air, clean water, and abundant wildlife (which, among other things, provides many of us with our livelihood). The state’s government has made safeguarding resources a priority; when I was governor, for instance, we created a petroleum-systems-integrity office to monitor our oil and gas infrastructure for any potential environmental risks.

It's also possible for different communities to have different answers:

Alaska also shows how oil drilling is thoroughly compatible with energy conservation and renewable-energy development. Over 20 percent of Alas­ka’s electricity currently comes from renewable sources, and as governor I put forward a long-term plan to increase that figure to 50 percent by 2025. Alaska’s comprehensive plan identifies renewable options across the state that can help rural villages transition away from expensive diesel-generated electricity — allowing each community to choose the solution that best fits its needs. That’s important in any energy plan: Tempting as they may be to central planners, top-down, one-size-fits-all solutions are recipes for failure.

For the same reason, the federal government shouldn’t push a single, uni­versal approach to alternative-powered vehicles. Electric cars might work in Los Angeles, but they don’t work in Alaska, where you can drive hundreds of miles without seeing many people, let alone many electrical sockets. And while electric and hybrid cars have their advantages, producing the electricity to power them still requires an energy source. For the sake of the environment, that energy should be generated from the cleanest source available.

Read the whole thing.