Nothing should infuriate the average American more than how our politicians, on BOTH sides of the aisle have screwed-up one of the keystones that a Republic needs in order to operate in its own best self interest. I am speaking of our nation's total and complete lack of a coherent energy policy which makes us subservient to the vagaries of countries possess the oil our country needs to operate in the 21st Century.
To ANYONE who remembers the gas lines of the 1970's, it seems absolutely ridiculous that almost 40 years later, the United States is not energy independent. Indeed, quite the opposite has happened, we are now more dependent on hydrocarbon energy sources from abroad than in any time during our nation's history.
The current administration is pinning its hopes on left wing loony "Green" energy sources and has actively turned its back on Nuclear Energy (How else do you explain the closing of Yucca Mountain?) Let me make this is clear as possible: Solar, Wind and bio-fuels cannot support a first tier power in the 21st century, period. The engineering is not there, nor will it ever get there anytime soon. One has a better chance of powering his home energy needs (HVAC/HDTV/Computers) with Gerbils on tread wheels than the above "Green" methods meeting the energy needs of a dense urban city like New York City. It just won't happen. Spain went down this route and now finds their country on the brink of insolvency. "Green" energy is extraordinarily expensive and reduces a nations economic competitiveness in the international market place. One can make all the Electric cars you want and as long as the bulk of the electricity comes from coal or oil to charge that car, than that "electric" car is as green as Santa Claus's suit.
Want to know why we are embroiled in the Middle East? It is not because of Israel. It is because of Jimmy Carter. His designation of the oil flow from the Middle east as an area of "vital interests of the United States of America", along with complete "knee-jerk" abandonment of Nuclear Power after the Three Mile Island (along with the Jane Fonda Film "The China Syndrome") did more economic and political damage to our country than Vietnam. And just to make it fair, George W. Bush had the perfect opportunity to set this country on the road to true energy independence on September 12, 2001 and he failed miserably. When historians write of his presidency 100 years from now, that will be pointed to as his greatest mistake.
Now, with the "Deepwater Horizon Incident" the cabal of discredited Eco-warriors (who told us we were going into an ice age in the seventies and then when that didn't pan out, switched to "global warming" and when became scientifically unsupportable switched to the catch-all phrase "Climate Change" which has been occurring since the earth was born) have been granted a new lease on life and have now successfully stopped offshore drilling in the US in the short term, and, mark my words, will try to make it permanent (just like California did...and look how well that worked out for them).
Couple the above with Obama's attempt to unilaterally try to shut down Yucca Mountain , his cynical view on coal and his desire to further cripple the economy with "Cap and Trade" and we have a recipe to continue to rely on foreign, corrupt despots for our energy needs for decades. We import between 60-70% of our foreign oil. It mostly goes for cars. Here is a Pie chart of how we generate Electric energy in the U.S. Oil is less than 2%. In terms of US electrical production, coal is king, so next time someone tells you an electric or hybrid is better for the economy, tell him that it is powered by coal and then let him in on the dirty secret of batteries: They create a massive toxic waste problem with their disposal.
So what should we do for more energy independence and keep from exporting our hard earned dollars from going overseas?
1) More Nukes: France is 80% Nuke in its electrical power generation, why shouldn't we? Nuclear power is American Power. We invented it!
a. Initiating and maintaining an American Nuclear Renaissance with a smart grid will make real jobs for Americans and ensure our money stays home.
b. It will lessen the cost of electricity and that means more people will use an electric car for commuter driving (50-100 miles a day)
c. Put retired Navy Nuclear trained Admirals and officers in charge. Their knowledge and expertise are an invaluable national resource. Use them.
2) The Armed Forces of the United States , no matter how you look at it, will be dependent on fossil fuels to power its energy needs for the foreseeable future . There will be no solar powered ships, jets or tanks. There will be no 100% battery driven jets, tanks or ships. There is no substitution for the combination of energy and convenience that one gallon of JP4/JP5/diesel or gas packs per ounce . While US Warships ships could conceivably go all nuke, the chance of that are slim. Look more towards a Gas Turbine/Battery hybrid. For jets/tanks and trucks - Petrol, period for the remainder of the 21st Century.
a. We should endorse the idea that all our Hydrocarbon needs for our defense industry be mandated to come from the "cracking" of coal into the needed variants and amounts for our armed forces. This is not a radical idea. The Germans did it in WWII. It may be more expensive initially, especially with startup costs, but once implemented, it will GUARANTEE that our Armed forces WILL NEVER LACK for fuel in times of National Emergency. Additionally, as we improve the science and technology, we will naturally bring down the cost per gallon and I don't have any doubt that within 20 years of the starting of this program, it will not only be meeting the needs of our Armed forces, but it will also major contributor to the petrol needs of our nation. We are the Saudi Arabia of Coal...Let's start acting like it.
3) Drill here, drill now. With the recent Gulf oil spill, we should not make the equivalent mistake of stopping the development of our own oil resources just as Carter and the Eco-Warriors stopped Nuclear power. We cannot allow this setback keep us from exploiting our own hydrocarbon resources on land and off shore. We learn from our mistakes, we incorporate the lessons learned and then we press forward. That is The American Way. To do otherwise is to continue to link the economic wellbeing of our country and our sons and daughters lives to protecting the indefensible; Middle Eastern and South American oil despots. We still need oil for the next 50-100 years. Let's keep the cash in America.
In summary, Republicans, Conservatives and Independents need to make this an issue in 2010 and 2012. Do NOT vote for a politician that does not support a concrete, well thought out energy plan for America.
Comments (and more importantly, ideas) welcome.