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Gingrich Solves The Energy Crisis

hobson's picture

I got this link through the Personal Democracy Forum. It's a site set up by Newt Gringrich. It's title is "Drill Here. Drill Now. Pay Less.
A Real Change Campaign to Lower Your Gas Prices"

http://www.americansolutions.com/

According to the site, they have over a million signatures on their petition

The Republicans think this is one issue they can get traction on against the Democrats. It has been the topic of endlessly repeated propaganda on right wing radio for weeks. Larry Kudlow has pushed it over and over.

And, as I'm writing, Kay Bailey Hutchinson is on This Week also pushing the same mimi, that the Dems have stopped all expansion of our oil supplies for the last 25 years as well as nuclear. And that is why we are having $4.00/gallon gas. She is also saying that bi-partisanship could end in some legislation to alleviate the problems.

On Fox, Tom Ridge and Daschle are facing off on the same issue. Fox's Chris Wallace is asking Daschle where we would be if we had opened drilling in ANWR 30 years ago.

Stephanopolous is playing Devil's Advocate by asking why not drill offshore and in Alaska even if it is distastful?

I have to say the Dem side of the argument sounds weak in the face of the repeated line that the Dems have been blocking development of domestic supplies as well as nuclear for the last 25 years. Along with this goes the idea that if we do it now, oil will be freely flowing in no time. If you do some research, you see how questionable the arguments for drilling are. But who does that?

The Republicans are also able to use this "energy crisis" to blur the issue of global warming. I have not seen one of these debates where anyone asks supporters of drilling what the result would be if we were actually able to expand domestic production of oil. And the Dems don't seem to want to talk too much about nuclear.

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peter's picture
Submitted by peter on

Congress passed this in 1995, President Clinton vetoed it saying we wouldn't see anything for ten years anyway...

2006 has come and gone...wouldn't that domestic oil be nice to have online right now? Less foreign oil needed.

The Democratic response this year has been the very same "ten years to see anything". We need something, now would be a nice time to begin with. And 'no' is the most common response for new oil/gas/coal/nuke development. Sure alternate energy sources are needed. Are they here ready for mass production? Can the lower middle class person enjoy the savings? The poor? They need cheap gas to make it to work.

The "Drill here(buy American/produced by Americans with American labor), Drill now, Pay less(sometime in the future) makes sense.

Has there been any nuke power licensed lately? Wind power has been proposed for the waters of Hyannisport for years. Seems non greenhouse gas power isn't more important than NIMBY to a certain Democrat there. Another amusing fact on wind power...Texas leads the nation with this industry! Texas will have a major offshore wind development before any other state.

Refineries...new one or ones would be nice too. Seems NIMBY rules here too, as well regulatory and licensing issues. Not since the 70's have we had a new one built. We had 310 in 1979 and now we have 149. Since 1979, cars have multiplied many fold as we have seen one refinery after another close. More people, more cars equals less refineries...make sense doesn't it? Alternate fuels have been on the horizon for years. And they're still years off. Please let's do something now...anything. Prices are going up all over the place. We're approaching one of those "Calgon" moments as in "take me away".

dr sardonicus's picture
Submitted by dr sardonicus on

It plays well with all those people that think the world would be a simple place if pointy-headed pinko liberal intellectuals would just stop complicating things...

...for the rest of us

cenobite's picture
Submitted by cenobite on

The lack of refineries being built in the US has nothing to do with hippies or hacky-sacks, I'm afraid.

Two big reasons:

1. They aren't needed. Refinery utilization in the US is dropping, not rising. The existing ones were expanded to fill rising demand for gasoline.

2. Nobody builds a refinery without a guaranteed upstream of raw material for it. For US refineries, this can't be found.

The Oil Drum is your source for reality-based energy commentary.

peter's picture
Submitted by peter on

A few years ago we were importing refined gas because our refineries were at 100%. Our consumption hit 110% then. Maybe, for the high price, they may be less than 100% right now, that doesn't mean new refineries aren't needed. An additional five refineries can greatly impact the American gas supply and price. More capacity, more drilling, more employment, lower prices. $3 trillion in oil reserves in coastal America, another $1.3 trillion in ANWR. that's a lot of value to be left on the table.

Remember, just one mishap or some bad weather can cripple gas production with our margins so narrow. It's time to Drill here, Drill now, and Pay less.

amberglow's picture
Submitted by amberglow on

commodity, and even with ANWR and Gulf drilling, the world's supply is not growing--demand is outstripping it, and will continue to until it's all gone.

Putting money into solar and wind and hydro is far far far more cost-efficient and profitable for the future.

Sarah's picture
Submitted by Sarah on

Oil companies culled domestic production 20 years ago because they couldn't make the kind of profits they wanted (they still can't make the kind of profits they want, btw). They shut down refinery development and started mothballing and selling off production plants. Now, they're blaming "environmentalists" for the lack of ready supplies of gas, but there's no evidence to back up their claims.
What there is evidence of, however, is the completely effed-up result of having two oilmen running the country for eight years. $450 billion a quarter and Exxon-Mobil isn't making enough money to suit them. Got that?
We don't need to drill in ANWR.
We don't need to drill offshore.
We don't need to spend 100 years in the Middle East fighting and dying for BP, Shell and Exxon-Mobil's profits.
We need, here and now, to find a better way to run our nation. Cleaner fuel. Renewable power.
Solar energy.
Wind energy.
White lightning, if that's all you got.
You can run a Cummins Turbo Diesel on waste vegetable oil for around $1 a gallon, today. That's up 60% over prices two years ago, but it's still a hell of a lot cheaper than the $4.89 diesel at the gas station down the block.
You can run that motor on that fuel in a Dodge; a Ford Turbodiesel and a GM Dieselmaxx engine will both burn the same fuel, happily. A VW? I dunno. But it's worth a try.
And the more people making WVO diesel in the backyard, the fewer cops will mistake those barrel/filter and pump rigs for meth labs, and the less trouble the rest of us will have.
It's a little dirty. It's a lot hands-on. It's the kind of thing a co-op ought to be doing -- hell, you could sell veggie diesel to the city for its buses and trucks and make money.
You got to think, people.
Outside the ordinary helps.

We can admit that we're killers ... but we're not going to kill today. That's all it takes! Knowing that we're not going to kill today! ~ Captain James T. Kirk, Stardate 3193.0

bringiton's picture
Submitted by bringiton on

The world consumes 80 million barrels of oil every day (M bpd) and the U.S. (with 5% of the world's population) consumes 25% or 20 M bpd. ANWR is expected to yield a total of 7 billion barrels (range 3.5 – 11), enough to add 1 million barrels per day for 19 years. It will take 8 – 10 years for ANWR to come on line.

Cars and light trucks account for about 61% of transportation energy use and about 41% of total consumption of petroleum products in the United States. Our vehicles consume about 8 M bpd.

Doubling fuel efficiency from the current 25 mpg to 50 mpg, perfectly doable over ten years, would represent a reduction in demand of 4 M bpd at current consumption rates. In reality, with more vehicles on the road, it will be even higher.

That reduction in demand would be the equivalent of four times the production of ANWR; but instead of the 19 year life of ANWR, the savings would last forever.

Drill, drill, drill, drill. At least this time the VRWC bots will be easy to spot.

cenobite's picture
Submitted by cenobite on

We were importing gasoline because hurricane Katrina took a bunch of capacity offline temporarily. You don't invest billions of dollars in a long term capital investment for a short term problem.

Like I said, you don't build refineries when you can't sell the gasoline they make, and when you can't buy the oil to put into them. It's a ridiculous proposition and the energy companies aren't stupid enough to throw their money away this way.

The amount of oil available in ANWR and the deep continental shelves isn't enough to make a serious difference in gasoline prices and won't be on stream for many years.

Oh, and drill now? Wanna tell me where you're gonna find some drilling rigs now? Guess what, they're all being used. I suppose now will have to wait.

As it turns out, that suits the oil companies anyway. They don't want to drill these leases -- but they want them. You see, it's real good for their books (and stock price) to be able to show that they maybe have oil leases for the future. But they won't be doing any drilling for a long time.

So no more drilling here, no more drilling now, and pay more.

Sarah's picture
Submitted by Sarah on

It died of a blown head gasket in '97, but my '86 turbo LeBaron GTS got 28 mpg in town (4 cyl 4 spd) and 36 on the hiway.
My 318, if I'm careful and keep it under 1800 rpm, will get 20 and 22 (18 and 21 EPA rating). I have gotten as much as 25 out of it at 55 mph with a tailwind ... but traveling across Texas that gets damn old, so I run 60 and settle for 23 mpg on the highway.

In town I try really hard not to 'bust' the limits -- I'll run along in the right lane and keep it loping at 1100-1200 rpm as much as I can, try to time lights and yes, I do the dreaded "coast" thing (Dodge trucks will coast for days -- or at least the 1972-2001 trucks will; I dunno about the newer ones). It annoys the cops because I'm fast enough not to be 'obstructing' traffic and slow enough not to risk a citation for speeding. I like what it does for my wallet on several counts.

That's the same mileage not-12-year-old "economy" trucks from Nissan, Ford and Chevy brag about now.
What the hell, over? The slant-six automatic Plymouth Dusters I drove (the hell out of) as a teen and 20-something got 21 and 25, on regular gas. So what happened? Twenty years ago, mid and late 1980s vehicles got better gas mileage than mid and late 1970s vehicles; but now we've reversed the trend. Even Toyota's mammoth new pickup, built in San Antonio, isn't selling as well as expected; they've laid off temporary workers and are planning on running the truck factory fewer days a week.

src="http://www.hobbieautocenter.com/_images/...">

Who'd've ever thought TOYOTA would have trouble selling a vehicle because of the price of gasoline??

We can admit that we're killers ... but we're not going to kill today. That's all it takes! Knowing that we're not going to kill today! ~ Captain James T. Kirk, Stardate 3193.0

leah's picture
Submitted by leah on

Remember Global Warming, well, the refineries that will be brought on line with not be clean, although technology exists to sequester carbon gases.

Peter talks about "wouldn't it be nice if," Clinton had done so and so about drilling in Anwar. Well Peter, wouldn't it have been nice if the entire Republican Party and key Democrats like Senators Boren and Nunn hadn't undercut the oil and gas tax, which was essentially a carbon tax that was part of the Clinton/Gore economic package they presented to congress in 1993, the proceeds of which were meant to be used for underwrite research into alternative energy sources. 1993! At least the Clinton administration did good work on millage standards, not enough mind you, but all that has been lost during the last eight years. Nothing has been done.

The major reason that the Republicans are taking up the cry for more drilling is 1. that they seem to have a profound hatred for any piece of the earth that is held not to be available for human exploitation, especially when one of their friendly corporations is involved, likely to make money, some part of which will be handed back to the Republican Party to help them retain power, and 2. by far the most important reason, this argument shifts the blame for $5 a gallon gas onto the shoulders of Democrats.

We really need to get on this one; it's clear that the SCLM couldn't be happier to side with Rebulicans on this - environmentalists being on their favorite list of groups which need to be marginalized - the others being feminists, and of course various and asundry minorities who have complete responsibility for "identity" politics, in ways that Nixon and his Southern strategy, and Reagan and his Christian base strategy don't have.

Then again, Reagan thought trees were pollutants.

peter's picture
Submitted by peter on

"Then again, Reagan thought trees were pollutants."

So do man made global warming alarmist in New Zealand and Australia. They even look down at the farmer raising food. Why is the rain forest disappearing to make room for crops to supply alternate fuels again? Seem to remember a nice Democratic majority in 1993. Democrats held both houses of Congress and all. Where was their vote?

With your answers, there's no 'hope' for even the middle class to be involved. Gas prices will continue to rise and the majority of people's incomes will go into higher transit and food cost. Incomes can't keep up with these price increases. That hard won Minimum Wage increase last year for continued war funding has been absorbed and then more by the price of gas. This years reset has already been absorbed and next years is rapidly going away. Add to that higher food prices, higher goods prices, higher service prices, more unemployment. Where are people to work?

We don't have enough of the alternate fuel products available for mass production. And what we have is priced for only the upper middle class and up to use. Who can afford a Prius these days? And those are a waste of $10,000. at purchase, Toyota's Yaris is a much better fit with about the same effect, sure yearly operating cost are about $450 more than a Prius, just without the $10k more in purchase price. Wonder where the nickel will go when these batteries lose their effectiveness too?

I love my Civic, I've been able to get 33 to 37 MPG within Dallas County and could get more with a less EPA mandated additives in the gas. They cost me about 10% of my mileage here. I purchased it used, new are just too expensive. Your thrust maybe good. The lower cost availability just isn't there and won't be for an awful long time. We lower income groups will just have to suffer for quite a while. Fall further behind the 'haves'. The 'hope' of more American oil to lower our gas cost in this area will be taken away by the Democrats of today. Life will continue to be hard and harder for us.

I wonder if that's what they want? The people's more dependent on government. We lose our freedom of movement and become more dependent on Democrats to help us? They being "for" the poor and all. How soon before the new "Grapes of Wrath" is written?

leah's picture
Submitted by leah on

Why is it always those who understand that the environment is where we all live who are the extremists?

What is wrong with asking questions about whether or not proposed solutions actually solve anything? It's the ability of the global warming deniers and their friends and economic backers among the global corporations to divide the rest of us that has given them the power to create the mess we are in.

Not only that, but the Bush administration and the Republican congress spent six years allowing Big Oil and Big Gas to not fully pay to the US the agreed upon price for their leases to drill - money that should have gone for alternative energy research.

$5 a gallon oil is the direct result of this country having been run by Bush & Co for the last eight years; it is not due to the work of environmentalists, who have been ignored through-out this administration, top to bottom.

The carbon tax proposed by Clinton/Gore was shot down by some key Democrats from oil/gas producing states; it shouldn't be news by now that the Democratic Party is an imperfect instrument for progressive politics. Their impulses happen to the right ones in this case, though, as Hobson points out, they are sometimes their own worst enemies in terms of the arguments they present.

And Lambert, no, iIdon't think that is on purpose; the fact is, Democrats have held out again and again against drilling in the Arctic reserve, and off-shore, so they take the political hit anyway.

What is disturbing is to hear someone like Mark Shield's, the token liberal on the NewsHour, say the politics cut toward the Republicans here, and then endorse the idea that all Democrats are offering is negativity. No, No, No. They are offering the truth - that drilling in vulnerable areas solves nothing - and will lower the price at the pump by a mere couple of cents, if that.

Peter, we need to use this crises to talk about long-term solutions; for the time being, gas is going to be higher, and it is going to undercut the standard of living of the poor, the working poor, the working class, and the middle class, and even those at the top of the middle class. Government is going to have to offer specific help, in the matter of heating fuel next Winter, for instance.

Global warming isn't going to wait; all indications are that it is happening faster than expected.

We need to stand together and demand genuine answers now. Read Bringiton's comment again; his is an entirely practical read of how one alternative leads to us all throwing ourselves over a cliff, and the other one leads to solutions.

I loved my own Honda civic, bought brand new in 1982, so completely that I drove it for 23 years.

As to additives, here in California, we found out about the small print in NAFTA when the state mandated an additive to gas which, it turned out, leaked into ground water and started showing up in people's kitchens - it polluted the drinking water of whole towns, and gas stations had to retool - it was a horrifying mess. Turned out that the Canadian Global Corp which sold the stuff to California had indications of the problem of seepage...but get this; instead of California being able to sue them, the state had to answer a suit by the Canadian Corporation which sought damages from the state of California because of the ban placed on the additive, thus depriving said corporation of expected profits, all of which is allowed by NAFTA, which was the reason it wasn't just thrown out of court.

cenobite's picture
Submitted by cenobite on

Increased demand, production limitations and speculation have given us a new oil pricing regime. I think we're stuck with it for the immediate future. So what can government do about this?

It can cushion the blow. Especially for those who are feeling the most pain.

1. Rationing and progressive pricing.

In California, for electricity, I don't pay the same amount for the first kwh I use and the last one I use each month. There's no reason why gasoline can't work the same way.

How?

Nearly every gasoline station in the US takes credit cards. The government can issue swipe-cards that keep track of the amount of gas you purchase each month, and subsidize your fuel purchase based on how much you've already bought that month.

This helps people make it through the near term price shock while still giving them an incentive to conserve.

This pricing structure can be adjusted for people based on need: more where there are poor or no transit systems, more for lower-income people, more for folks on unemployment insurance looking for a new job, etc.

2. Windfall profits tax.

We pay for all this stuff by taxing the obscene profits of the oil companies have made from the increased price of crude oil.

We've done it before, they aren't deserving of this bounty, and it's pretty easy to show to the voters.

3. Eliminate (or decrease) the government subsidies for oil companies.

These subsidies have outgrown their usefulness and now are just add insult to injury for the american people. Stop them.

4. "Stranded wind" wind-to-ammonia systems for rural america.

There's lots of wind to be had in farm country, but no power grid to get it any place useful. Those farms do have a distribution system for liquid ammonia fertilizer, though. That ammonia right now is made from price-soaring natural gas and is a big driver of food cost.

But all you need to make ammonia is electric power, air and water. That's where the windmills come in.

Also, a slightly modified internal combustion engine can already burn ammonia as fuel.

So, run our farms on wind. Save money. Slow the cost increase of food. Make more fossil fuel available for suburban folks.

This is already being worked on. It's ready to go. It just needs a good hard push from government money.

peter's picture
Submitted by peter on

Did anyone notice what Lambert posted on the front page???

"transitions from warming to cooling and back again—in the absence of changes in greenhouse gas could presage abrupt, catastrophic climate change in our future."

"On June 23, 1988, I testified to a hearing chaired by Senator Tim Wirth of Colorado that the Earth had entered a long-term warming trend, and that human-made greenhouse gases almost surely were responsible." NASA's Hansen

"Based on current models, we predict: under [BAU] increase of global mean temperature during the [21st] century of about 0.3 oC per decade (with an uncertainty range of 0.2 to 0.5 oC per decade); this is greater than that seen over the past 10,000 years; under other … scenarios which assume progressively increasing levels of controls, rates of increase in global mean temperature of about 0.2 oC [to] about 0.1 oC per decade." IPCC from 1990

Back in 1988, according to NASA and NOAA, the average global temperature was about same as it is today. Hansen said we were going to destroy our planet if we did not control CO2 output. We did not control CO2 output and the temperature did not change as the promised. And they did promise this, with error bars for the estimation. But Hansen and the IPCC was proven wrong. If we look at the hard data, as Hansen says we should, the facts are his results were wrong, his methodology was wrong, his predictions were wrong. How many ways can Hansen screw up? Well, he’s out repeating all his wrongs as if he was right the entire time. Is that mean he is now wrong exponentially?

Whatever, the man cries fire and nothing happens. That is all we need to know.

We need something done sooner than later or things may get out of hand. Drill here(buy and employ American), Drill now, Pay less!

cenobite's picture
Submitted by cenobite on

Peter writes:

Back in 1988, according to NASA and NOAA, the average global temperature was about same as it is today. Hansen said we were going to destroy our planet if we did not control CO2 output. We did not control CO2 output and the temperature did not change as the promised. And they did promise this, with error bars for the estimation. But Hansen and the IPCC was proven wrong.

You've presented no data to back this up, and in fact a quick trip to the NASA GISTEMP website shows:

This shows a rise (since 1988) in the 5 year mean temp of 0.21°C per decade which is quite close enough thank you very much.