No Help At All

Over the last week, we here at Clearly New Mexico have registered our disgust with the direction of the debate and the level of rhetoric over American energy policy (link)(link). Billions of dollars in public subsidies for oil and gas companies continue, while productive incentives for renewable energy languish. And, the inane idea of drilling for oil in coastal areas on the outer continental shelf is being billed as a legitimate response to the problem of $4.00 per gallon.

The Albuquerque Journal (subscription required) saw fit to ignore reality and jump on the “black gold” bandwagon in its Sunday editorial. Like Congress and the president, the Journal is no help at all for the people of New Mexico.

Because the president and his apologists in the press are beating the domestic drilling drum, I though it might be interesting to find out just what kind of a marginal effect, if any, increased American oil exploration would have. So, I did what any armchair research novice would do; I jumped on Google.

My grandiose plans of finding a slick econometric analysis quickly ended when I came across a story on NPR, one that put the nonsense about offshore drilling into simple perspective.

Henry Lee of the Kennedy School of Government talks about the 8-14 year time line for getting outer continental shelf drilling on-line and fully operational. High-end estimates put daily production at about 1 million barrels per day, or less than 1% of the world’s daily oil consumption. This is hardly the kind of volume that would make a discernible dent. Plus, with growing needs from China, India and other Asian countries, oil from the outer continental shelf would have virtually zero impact on world demand. (NPR story)

There you have it. When it comes to finding a sensible solution to the related crises of skyrocketing fossil fuel costs and global climate change, leaders in Washington are ignoring plain facts. Instead of serving the public interest, leaders in Washington, and our own Albuquerque Journal, are no help at all.

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