Time for a Revolution in Our Attitudes Toward Oil
I'm mad as hell and can't take it anymore. Our president and government are irresponsible, inefficient and just plain dumb. They seem to thrive on their inability to solve problems.
With gasoline prices threatening to reach $4 a gallon, Congress and Obama sit comfortably in their Washington fortress looking the other way.
We have enough oil reserves within the USA to:
Be independent of Mideast resources and OPEC's whimsical pricing, allowing us to significantly minimize our political interest in countries where we don't belong.
Eradicate 40 percent of our trade deficit.
Create jobs almost overnight.
Renew our economic health.
Let our senators, representatives and president know that we're tired of their inaction when the answers to weighty questions are readily obvious. It's time to eliminate the power of money, lobbyists, egos and complacency. And take us out of this economic and political quagmire.
The United States' oil imports make up nearly 40 percent of its trade deficit. Under current oil prices, the U.S. spends more than $350 billion on foreign oil, money that could have stayed inside the country, creating urgently needed jobs and investment opportunities.
In 2008, when oil prices reached nearly $150 a barrel, America's oil bill surpassed its defense budget.
The U.S. imports more than 63 percent of its oil. The time is now for our federal government to re-examine its current policy, which severely hampers domestic oil exploration and development.
In the 1970s, the OPEC embargo led to long lines at gas stations, with families waiting for hours to buy gas for their cars. One of the most significant outcomes of that embargo was the Trans Alaska Pipeline System.
Americans knew we needed to develop domestic energy to -balance the power of cartel oil. For 40 years, oil from Alaska has allowed our nation to stand with some degree of energy independence. Building that pipeline on American soil was prescient.
Millions of American jobs are directly tied to our energy sector. And yet Alaska and the Gulf states have been blocked from developing America's oil by -politically driven federal policy, much of it aided by misinformation. If Americans wonder what our economic Achilles' heel is, they need look no further than the federal regulatory system that delays permits for domestic exploration and production.
In Alaska, an oil company can buy federal leases, spend more than $3 billion in permitting and capital costs, apply for an air -permit from the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), and then wait for five years and still have no permit.
In one case, the EPA's refusal to grant a permit for Royal Dutch Shell to drill in the Beaufort Sea delayed the creation of 54,700 jobs annually and $145 billion in payroll.
Meanwhile, the EPA received a $3 billion increase in its budget last year. It produced 42 significant regulation packages in the first 18 months of the current administration, each costing our economy tens of millions of dollars.
As we watch fuel prices rise, inflation take hold, and government debt reach record levels, Alaskans and those in other oil-producing states are frustrated. We wonder why the Obama administration is openly hostile to a sector of our economy that has created hundreds of thousands of jobs, kept the country on an even keel even during the recession, and produces a global commodity we depend on every day.
Why should we spend billions overseas for foreign oil when we could spend those dollars here at home?
I crave for better leadership in this matter. If you do too, let's bombard our government with a protest! Get mad!
Andy Thomas lives in Pinehurst. Contact him at -firstname.lastname@example.org.
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