Friday, February 6, 2009

Obama's Energy Policy in Action

Sen. Ken Salazar (D-Colo.) is Obama’s choice to head the Department of the Interior, the agency that handles energy leasing on federal lands and most offshore areas. As a senator, Salazar has opposed much of this leasing, based on overblown environmental fears. It looks like “drill, baby, drill” isn’t going to survive to adulthood.

In addition to opposing domestic drilling for conventional oil, Salazar was also responsible for legislation blocking the development of oil shale. America has vast amounts of this oil-containing rock, mostly beneath federal lands in Colorado, Utah and Wyoming. The process of efficiently extracting this oil is still being improved; oil shale is a long-term project with uncertain prospects at this time. But if successful, it could provide literally hundreds of billions of barrels, exceeding the reserves in Saudi Arabia and providing enough oil to supply the United States for many decades.

As secretary of the interior, Salazar will have even more chances to stop cold any progress on oil shale, and with it our best hope for a dramatic increase in domestic oil production. So much for energy independence.


vwatt said...

The U.S. only has 3% of the world's oil reserves. We can "drill, baby, drill," forever and all we will accomplish is ruining some of our most scenic western lands and beaches.
But, hey, that might help keep gas at $2 a gallon for five years instead of just for one or two. Sorry about those national parks in Utah and Wyoming for your grandkids. It's this kind of short range thinking that put us in the mess we are in now(profits and bonuses now-the hell with the ethics). Plus, drilling in the west would piss off Jeremiah Johnson(aka Robert Redford).

Brodad Unkabuddy said...

Short range thinking?

Dr. Daniel Fine of MIT recently reported that 750 billion barrels worth of oil shale have been discovered so far in Colorado alone. That's enough to power the U.S. economy through 2030. In fact, he says, if we begin high tech full-scale production that has little if any environmental effect within five years, we could completely end our dependence on OPEC by 2020. Of course, if we get executive salaries under control and Maxine runs the oil companies then everybody including Jeremiah Johnson himself will be happy.

Brodad Unkabuddy said...

And speaking of beaches, recent DOI estimates are that the off-limits offshore areas contain 19.1 billion barrels of oil, the equivalent of 30 years of current imports from Saudi Arabia. It should also be noted that these initial energy estimates often prove to be low. For example, in the central and western Gulf of Mexico—the only offshore area not severely restricted—production has already exceeded original expectations by several billion barrels, and it is ongoing. Is 30 years considered short range?

Mike West said...

Coal is very plentiful and it can be burned much more cleanly these days. But it's not politically correct so never mind.