Monday, September 15, 2008

JMO - Drill Baby Drill

Interesting campaign rhetoric, allow drilling for oil and natural gas in the off-shore lands off the eastern, western and Gulf coast, and in Alaska, specifically the Artic National Wildlife Refure (ANWR). What this phrase doesn't say is the issue and not really about drilling for oil and natural gas. And while there is a good argument that it is about the government's use of public lands, it misses the one point the Democrats haven't exploited and the Republicans don't want you to know.

And that is? Right now, and mean just that, right now, the oil exploration companies have oil and natural gas leases on over 85 million acres and have not yet drilled on those lands, not for years or even decades. They got these leases to sit on them and hold them when the prices of gas and natual gas reaches the point they want. That's the point, we, or really they, can drill baby drill right now and haven't and won't.

Why? Because they want to control the lands, our lands, in the name of private profit which we will pay for in the cost of gas and natural gas. Our land and our money would go for their profit, which are the most profitable companies in the US and in our history. They're rich beyond our imagination. And they're still not drilling on the land they have under lease.

So now they want to own leases for more land, our land, and especially now the off-shore lands of California and the Gulf coast. We know that it would be 3-5 years before they could begin drilling with the process to get the lease and setup all the legal work to begin exploration, and it would be another 3-5 years before any oil gets to the refineries to process into products, gas at the pump. And that's if the refineries have the capacity for the new oil.

We also know there is more natural gas in the existing leased lands in the lower 48 states under lease to the oil companies to relieve the price of natural gas for years upon years. We have a wealth of natural gas. And we also know that there is more oil in some of lands to provides this country in gas for decades to come, but it has a price, both economically to extract, energy to process, and environmentally to turn over much of it to industrial development.

In short, we don't need to drill off-shore and we don't especially need to drill in ANWR. It's time to move the argument from drilling to the real issue of what the oil companies are doing to our public lands. They're trying to control them and own the mineral rights for decades to come. They've had the chance to drill but they decided to import oil instead. And that's the issue which needs to be discussed.

It's not about the use of public lands, it's about oil companies. We can develop natural gas powered cars - it's being done in many countries and by some public agencies here and be energy independent too. That's the issue if we want to be energy independent. We have the ability to be a long way to energy independence and make it affordable for every Americans.

That should be our goal, not drilling, but asking the real questions in search of the best answers. So, will the Presidential candidates do that? Or will they decide it's about confusing the voters with rhetoric and soundbites?

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