Flimsy Sanity: McCain and Energy

Flimsy Sanity

In individuals, insanity is rare; but in groups, parties, nations and epochs, it is the rule. - Friedrich Nietzsche

Thursday, July 10, 2008

McCain and Energy

On June 17, the same day his campaign premiered a TV ad on which he boasted to have stood up to the White House's global warming policy, Sen. McCain changed course by announcing his plan, which was supported by President Bush, to open up the rest of the country's coasts to oil drilling. This, he said, "would be very helpful in the short term in resolving our energy crisis."

But two weeks earlier, on May 29, the same Sen. McCain reiterated his opposition to opening up the country's coasts to oil exploration by saying that the necessary infrastructure would take "years to develop" and that "it would only postpone or temporarily relieve our dependency on fossil fuels."

Which McCain is right, the June 17 one or the May 29 one? Are you and the rest of consumers going to benefit from drilling our shores and our dearest and most pristine places? Let's put all this crude rhetoric through the truth refinery.

For starters, Sen. McCain's plan will not benefit the consumer until 2030 and only marginally. For instance, the big prize of the new oil drilling boondoggle would be the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge in Alaska. If drilling this, one of the last complete ecosystems left in the Western Hemisphere, would start right now, consumers would not see the first drop of fuel until 2018, it would take another decade to reach peak production and even then it would lower gasoline prices by just three cents, according to federal estimates.

Implicitly, the Senator McCain and President Bush plan blame the environmental movement for hand-cuffing the country's energy alternatives by opposing opening more coastal areas to oil drilling. What neither Senator McCain nor President Bush would tell you is that Big Oil already has access to 6,000 offshore leases that they are not using.

The federal Minerals Management Service reports that out of the almost 9 billion barrels of oil that are thought to exist offshore, 80 percent of them are already open to the industry, mostly in the Gulf of Mexico and Alaska.

Even so, Senator McCain insists this would be a great idea, since "exploiting those reserves would have a psychological impact that I think is beneficial."

As the New York Times opined, "The only real beneficiaries will be the oil companies that are trying to lock up every last acre of public land before their friends in power -- Mr. Bush and Vice President Dick Cheney -- exit the political stage."
McCain's Energy Plan Will Drill Us Into a Deeper Crisis By Javier Sierra


  • At 6:47 AM, Anonymous R J Adams said…

    I agree with this writer, except for his/her final point, viz:

    "By reducing our energy consumption by only 2 percent a year from now to 2050, we would avoid the worst consequences of global warming."

    2% will not be sufficient. It would have been, perhaps, had such action been taken ten years ago. Now, it will take far more drastic cuts, and even they may not be enough. Politicians everywhere are searching for increases in oil production. That's exactly the opposite of what they should be doing. So much for their 'commitments' to tackling climate change.


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