Drilling here, drilling there

July 1, 2008 | By | 5 Replies More

In America, many Republican politicians, including presidential candidate John McCain, are using the recent spike in oil prices to call for increased domestic production, including opening wildlife refuges to oil drilling. In response, opponents are arguing that increased production will merely perpetuate America’s addiction to oil, worsening environmental damage and global warming. Unfortunately, both sides are missing the most important issue in this debate: the faster America drills itself dry, the sooner it will become 100% dependent on foreign sources for oil.

Wake up, America! If you think oil prices are high now, imagine what they will be when America has run out of oil and foreign suppliers have a monopoly on the supply.

The solution: curb domestic production and continue buying foreign oil. Yes, it might cost more in the short term, but this is cheap insurance for ensuring the existence of untapped domestic reserves. America already has the Strategic National Petroleum Reserve; leaving oil in the ground is simply another means of achieving the same thing: an emergency reserve. It’s the same reason why America has farm subsidies to help keep its farmers in business: to guarantee a domestic source of food, so America cannot be held hostage to feed its population. It should view its domestic oil reserves the same way.


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About the Author ()

Grumpypilgrim is a writer and management consultant living in Madison, WI. He has several scientific degrees, including a recent master’s degree from MIT. He has also held several professional career positions, none of which has been in a field in which he ever took a university course. Grumps is an avid cyclist and, for many years now, has traveled more annual miles by bicycle than by car…and he wishes more people (for the health of both themselves and our planet) would do the same. Grumps is an enthusiastic advocate of life-long learning, healthy living and political awareness. He is single, and provides a loving home for abused and abandoned bicycles. Grumpy’s email: grumpypilgrim(AT)@gmail(DOT).com [Erich’s note: Grumpy asked that his email be encrypted this way to deter spam. If you want to write to him, drop out the parentheticals in the above address].

Comments (5)

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  1. Erich Vieth says:

    A third alternative: we use entirely too much oil. Let's cut our oil use in half. I'm not exaggerating. Car pool, public transit, drop unnecessary trips, cycle to work, make homes/office much more energy efficient, etc etc. We're digging our own grave.

  2. grumpypilgrim says:

    As Erich mentions, conservation is, of course, important, but that issue is tangential to the issue of domestic versus non-domestic drilling, which is the point I'm trying to focus on in this post. Recent polls suggest that high oil prices are causing a large swing in American public opinion away from environmental protection and energy conservation, and toward greater domestic production, on the grounds that "increased domestic production will reduce America's dependence on foreign oil." My point is that increased domestic production will only *temporarily* reduce America's dependence on foreign oil; in the long run it will accelerate America's dependency. Future generations will have to pay for America's short-term thinking.

  3. Americans and their obsession with self-reliance and autarky, because beware – enemies are everywhere and developing conspiracy theories seems to be one favorite pastime. Sometimes I wonder if this paranoia is indeed justified or not a self-fulfilling prophecy.

    In Germany the farmers get subsidies in order to preserve the landscape, fields, or so I have been told, not because we are afraid to be economically dependent on our neighbors.

  4. Hey, I just remembered that grumpy defends the right to bear arms. That might come from a similar point of view.

  5. grumpypilgrim says:

    Yes, projektleiterin, although it is off-topic, I do defend the right to bear arms. That's because, in America, in the vast majority of cases, access to firearms is not the problem. Usually, the problem is poverty…more specifically: poverty amid riches. Other problems include chronic racial injustice, substance abuse (and the inadequate treatment for it), byzantine attitudes about mental health care, etc. America is also unusual among today's developed countries in that it officially sanctioned slavery (and practiced it on a massive scale) up until just a few generations ago. Also unlike most developed countries, the American entertainment industry (television, movies, video games, etc.) glamorizes extreme gun violence. Likewise the "news" media makes violent criminals into media celebrities. In my travels outside America, I've never witnessed anywhere the glorification of violence that occurs here. Bottom line: guns aren't the problem; guns are tools that expose the problem.

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