Although my own rightward ideological shift came at roughly the same time as he settled into the Oval Office, I am by no means an ardent supporter of or blanket apologist for President George W. Bush. In these pages, you will find several examples where I have voiced concern or outright disdain for his views on several major issues, including but not limited to spending and to immigration.
That being said, in his speech yesterday in the White House rose garden, President Bush was 100 percent correct, and he delivered not only a political blow against the opportunist, socialist and globalist left, but also a message which, properly carried out, could have a positive, long-term effect on the safety, security and prosperity of the United States of America.
Counting all of our oil resources, including the oil-shale deposits in the western United States, we sit on more oil than in all Middle East nations … combined. Recovered, those deposits equal more than 100 years of all projected oil imports. Furthermore, with the technology in place currently, as well as good ole’ American ingenuity, we are capable of extracting this oil with little or no environmental impact compared with assessments of even five or ten years ago.
The President laid out a simple, four-prong plan which, for the sake of the country, must be carried out: (1) Increase access to the outer continental shelf, or “OCS,” which would effectively double current U.S. oil production for ten years; (2) Recover the shale oil, which could amount to the equivalent of 100 years of imported oil; (3) Drill ANWR, which contains roughly the equivalent of 20 years worth of imported Saudi oil; and (4), increase refining capacity by building new refineries and expanding current ones.
At the very least, the United States MUST snap up the available leases in the OCS areas off of our coastlines — 100-year drilling rights to certain areas have already been secured by China, by Venezuela, by Brazil and by others. At the very most, we need to be actively drilling. These superstructures would be too far from the coast for beach-goers to see, and platforms actually seem to be loved by fish and aqualife. Furthermore, building new platforms and operating them will create American jobs and, even well before the effect of increased U.S. oil supply is seen in the economy, the benefits from the job growth will show.
The same goes for ANWR. Experts say that production in the Alaska National Wildlife Refuge would create anywhere from 235,000 to 735,000 new jobs. Add that to the 75 percent of Alaskans–including local eskimos–who welcome exploration, and not to mention the economic and national security benefits of increasing supply, and it is truly a no-brainer.
Finally, he’s right about the refining capacity. We haven’t built a refinery in this country since 1976, two years before I was born. And let’s not stop there, either. Let’s add nuclear power into the mix. There is no reason why the United States, developed nation among developed nations, should not be powered more from nuclear plants than we are now. If we can take the far-fetched idea of a hydrogen fuel cell and put it into commuter buses and Hondas just the same, we can certainly match up with France, which gets roughly 85 percent of its electrical power from nuclear plants. Perhaps the next President can actually pronounce it correctly, too.
Above all else, the average American needs to know and remember, every time they pump flame into their SUVs, trucks and econoboxes alike, that the high gas prices are a result of Congressional malfeasance and nonfeasance, and that same inaction has resulted in higher food prices, higher transportation costs (which leads to higher prices on clothing and other goods), increased air travel costs, and more. Every time John and Jane Q. Public pays their electric bill or fills their tank or buys a loaf of bread or has a pizza delivered, they need to comprehend why each costs more, they need to understand just who is to blame.
We are the only developed nation in the world that bars access to our own resources, choosing instead to increase economically- and environmentally-unsound regulations, choosing instead to enact further retroactive legislation. Even now, the democrats in charge are saying that the crisis-driven sea change in the message coming from GOP leadership is all too reactionary, that any effect from increased drilling wouldn’t be seen for five or ten years.
SO WHAT?!? Do the democrats somehow think that this gas price fiasco will be solved in the next ten years? Do they somehow truly believe that ethanol, wind power and fairy dust will really replace oil by the end of the next decade?
Of course they don’t think such things. Such a perspective runs contrary to common sense. What they do, though, is typical of the Democratic party. They play political games with the safety and security of America. They use our economy as a political bargaining chip, hanging homeowners and mothers and fathers and business owners like you and me out to dry in the process.
Americans should be angry. They should be making phone calls, storming Congressional offices, writing letter after letter to newspapers and to anyone and everyone who will listen. Every time they look at the rapidly climbing numbers on the gas pump, every time they look at the bottom line at the supermarket, the men and women of the United States of America should be furious, looking for any way to exercise their power as the voting public.
Americans WILL be angry. Sooner or later, even the most superficial among us will realize that five dollars for a gallon of regular gasoline is just too much, especially when that same gallon costs 45 cents in Riyadh, and we’re sitting on more oil than they are.