On A Rig And A Prayer
October 3, 2012 by John Myers
Let us hope Mitt Romney is uncorking non-alcoholic champagne in 34 days. If Romney is victorious, the caps being blown won’t only be on bottles from Romney’s stock. Across the land, there will be celebrations as hundreds of rigs get set to drill and capture oil inside the United States and along the Nation’s coastlines. Included in the festivities are new jobs created by Keystone Pipeline.
The GOP Presidential candidate has gone so far as to promise North American energy independence in the next eight years. If this sounds like déjà vu, you are right. American Presidents have been raising their glasses to the promise of American energy independence since President Richard Nixon proposed it four decades ago.
Brian Beutler demonstrated this in the graph above published by TPM.com on Sept. 11. The numbers, taken from the Energy Information Administration, show petroleum imports as a percent of U.S. petroleum consumption. Headlined are the years that three Presidents promised American energy independence.
President Barack Obama also has plans to reduce America’s oil imports, but his solution is mostly meant to please his liberal constituency and is centered on greater investment in unproven, unreliable and uneconomical green energy.
Romney is more realistic than past Presidents because he is calling for North American energy independence, which would allow Canada — yes, with its gummy oil sands — to move American transport, heat America’s homes and malls, and power its factories. The moose and ducks in northern Alberta may not like the off-world landscape that the oil sands leave behind, but I have a feeling that North Americans will find it a lifesaver.
What has led to U.S. oil dependence on OPEC has been half a century of restrictive drilling inside the United States, plus a growing mountain of green legislation that threatens to block pipeline imports from Canada. America has become more involved in one crisis after another in the Islamic world — home to two-thirds of the world’s conventional oil reserves.
Romney stands head and shoulders over Obama when it comes to energy. Last week, Romney pushed for energy independence at a rally in Jefferson County, Colo.
Romney said: “We have kind of an ace in the hole that came along to us because someone learned how to drill into the earth, not just vertically but horizontally. I will double licenses and permits, and I’ll make sure we’ll drill in the outer continental shelf and drill in Alaska and bring in that pipeline from Canada.”
On Sept. 25, on the campaign trail in Ohio, an outspoken Romney condemned Obama’s plan to invest in green companies: “He spent $90 billion and sent them to companies in many cases that were owned by campaign contributors of his.”
Romney’s emphasis on the drill bit over the windmill is certainly right-minded, but that has not stopped a storm of criticism by wind-power advocates who oppose Romney because he wants to do away with the Federal tax credit extension for wind power.
While Romney is accused of saying what is needed to win, Obama is worse. The President has gone so far as to obstruct petroleum exploration.
“There is an entire new world of geology out there that’s awaiting us,” said Harold Hamm, CEO of Continental Resources Inc., at a House Energy and Commerce Committee subcommittee hearing last month.
According to Hamm, Federal regulations hinder development by delaying the permits needed. As a result, his Oklahoma City-based company avoids drilling on Federal lands. Hamm added that he wasn’t representing the campaign in his testimony.
Bloomberg recently reported that oil production climbed to almost 6.2 million barrels a day this year (from less than 5 million barrels in 2008), helping reduce imports to 42 percent of total consumption from more than 60 percent in 2005.
Through fracking, a process that injects a mixture of water, sand and chemicals thousands of feet below the surface, companies like Continental can access fossil fuels trapped in shale rock formations, whereas conventional techniques require the oil to flow to the well, according to Hamm.
Representative Henry Waxman (D-Calif.) rebutted that the Republicans’ energy plans are too reliant on fossil fuels which release gases that scientists have linked to climate change.
That should read “some scientists.” The key point is that even if there is global warming (and no one is certain that there is), it is manmade.
One person who wonders about all the outrage over global warming is Anthony Watts. A former meteorologist, Watts attended Purdue University. While he doesn’t claim to be a scientist, he certainly questions the science of global warming.
Watts was recently interviewed by PBS Newshour (not a conservative program). The first question: “What’s the thing that bothers you the most about people who say there’s lots of global warming?”
Watts’ answer: “They want to change policy. They want to apply taxes and these kinds of things may not be the actual solution for making a change to our society… There’s a term that was used to describe this. It’s called noble cause corruption. And actually I was a victim of that at one time, where you’re so fervent in your belief that you have to do something. You’re saving the planet, you’re making a difference, you’re making things better that you’re so focused on this goal of fixing it or changing it that you kind of forget to look along the path to make sure that you haven’t missed some things.”
What Of China And India?
Watts points out that global warming has become a business in its own right. If so, it is a business that obstructs U.S. energy advantages but has no impact on America’s new competitors: China and India.
In 2006, China became the largest national emitter of carbon dioxide. It was reported this past summer that the average Chinese person’s carbon footprint is now almost equal to the average European’s.
The Guardian reported: “Chinese CO2 emissions are now around 80% higher than those of America. This widening gap reflects a 9% increase in total emissions in China in 2011, driven mainly by rising coal use, compared with a 2% decline in the US.”
What Obama and the Democrats don’t understand is that cleaning up America’s carbon emissions will give nations like China and India an economic advantage at a time when the United States cannot afford it. This is something Romney and the people in charge of his energy policy understand, and it is something Obama and his loyalists are either willfully ignorant of or else understand all too well and simply don’t care.
Romney’s understanding about energy makes him a much better candidate to be the next President of the United States. He will put rigs back to work, and that is enough reason for me to pray for his victory.
Yours in good times and bad,
Editor, Myers’ Energy & Gold Report