Currently the oil debate is framed into two sides. One side says oil is $4/gallon and rising, so that means we need to tap into domestic sources including ANWR and offshore drilling. This side also tries to go to large oil producing nations and asks them to please lower their prices. This side also states that China and Cuba are allowed to drill in our offshore waters, but that, due to environmentalists, we’re not allowed to. Today the ban on offshore drilling was lifted by the President, even as his own White House spokesman admitted to reporters that it would have no impact on either drilling or gas prices (But the President strongly suggested that it would lower gas prices, and that only Congress stands in the way of lower gas prices now. In the same press conference, Bush acknowledges that we need to move away from oil but falsely states that this new direction doesn’t help anything short term so we need a short term fix – offshore drilling – even while he knows that will not impact prices or supply. This type of game-playing with factual information, regardless of what party does it, damages the human race).
The other side says oil is $4/gallon and rising, and we need to explore alternative sources of energy. There is not a lot of substance on this side of the argument either, but it has this general flavor to it of some sort of new direction.
One thing that’s interesting is that, no matter which side you’re on, you can see there is not much in favor of oil. At one time, it was a great energy source, back when it was cheap and plentiful and safe to acquire. Now, it’s expensive and getting more so, it threatens U.S. national security on multiple levels, it’s damaging our environment, and on top of that the supply is running out. Also, an oil economy keeps new jobs stagnated, except any created for new offshore oil rigs.
But it seems to me that the debate, like so many debates in this country, is about the wrong aspect of the problem. The question to me seems to be “Do we want more oil?” and based on what I can see, we really don’t. What’s the point? Since supply is limited, we’ll be here again X years from now. And it’s obvious that we’re throwing money away when it comes to oil security spending, and in fact are spending billions to chip away at our nations’ security over the course of decades, and of course speeding up with the latest Iraq war.
The debate should really be about effective transportation that provides more benefit than loss. It should be about increasing national security instead of eroding it. It should be about creating new jobs, new technologies, and a new international competitive edge for the U.S., instead of continuing to retard that growth.
I’ll post more on this topic as far as solutions.