A couple of letter writers responded with the off-repeated right wing mantra of drill more and drill now. The most recent writer by the name of Shawn Allen of Harrisonburg kind of sounded like Chicken Little. He called for drilling in ANWAR and off-shore using the opportunity to endorse Janice Lee Allen (is Shawn family?) for Congress writing that she'd bring "vision and creativity." Since when does more of the same constitute "vision and creativity?" Thinking in the past rather than the future is not the way to solve problems.
The U.S. is kind of like a junkie with an oil needle deep in a vein. More drilling just keeps up the drip, drip, drip of addiction. Like the old Fram commercial, "you can pay me now, or pay me later." If you've been a reader of CCC you've seen several posts about wind power, especially as it relates to potential wind farms in Highland County and Shenandoah County. While wind turbines present some challenges in some locations, it represents a great opportunity for clean and renewable energy.
You may have seen recent TV ads by well-known oil man and corporate raider T. Boone Pickens promoting ideas to wean us off petroleum. Mr. Pickens says:
"this is one emergency we can't drill our way out of. But if we create a new renewable energy network, we can break our addiction to foreign oil."
Pickins' believes the estimates of off-shore oil are wildly overestimated. That belief is supported by others and illustrated by the slow pace of the oil industry to explore for oil/gas in 8.3 million acres off the Florida coast that was opened up in 2006. Guess the Allens missed that one. Cluck!
Pickens' plan calls a dramatic increase in wind and solar to generate electricity. That would free up natural gas that is currently used for electric generation to be converted to compressed natural gas (CNG) to power vehicles. He believes we might replace up to 1/3 of our fleet with CNG powered cars. The technology exists with costs comparable to current gasoline vehicles.
The Pickens' plan has attracted the attention of Carl Pope of the Sierra Club. Now Mr. Pickens and Mr. Pope aren't exactly birds of a feather, but the plan's vision and creativity has them on common ground. Pope notes a government mandate to require distribution of CNG would be necessary to assure nationwide availability (the oil industry would likely resist). Manufacturers would have to make the cars (which having fuel stations available will encourage) and consumers will have to buy the CNG cars or purchase low-cost conversion kits. Perhaps it would be sound policy for some government rebates to help ease the conversion. If we can do it for digital TV we can certainly do it for our nation's energy security.
Perhaps the Pickens' plan has some flaws and I'm sure he's looking to make a profit on his huge wind farm in Texas. There is nothing incompatible about going green and earning profits. But, it represents the kind of original thinking and consensus building necessary to move the United States into a new era of energy independence. As Carl Pope said,
"To put it plainly, T. Boone Pickens is out to save America."POLITICAL LEADERSHIP NEEDED: more vision and creativity and less "the sky is falling."
Just added this 11 minute YouTube clip: T. Boone Pickens explains the problem and his plan.