( – promoted by DocHoc)
(Note: The column I refer to in this editorial appeared in The Capitol Hill Beacon on May 8th:)
Recently, Oklahoma Representative Tom Cole released a column decrying the skyrocketing prices of methamphetamines, which he blamed on excessive left wing government regulation. He called for the government to remove regulations from the meth industry so that the commodity would become more available to average Americans.
Well, that’s not exactly what he said. He was talking about oil, but his take on the problem of high energy costs and its solution made about as much sense as it would have if he were talking about meth.
First, Cole trots out some old, tired lies about the source of the problem. He claims that we would all enjoy low gas prices, like the ones we enjoyed before Bush took office ($1.46 a gallon), if only those environmentalists and the government just got out of the way. We would build all the refineries we need and drill for all the oil we would need. Baloney!
Never mind the fact that domestic refining capacity is presently increasing by an average of 177,000 barrels per day of production, the equivalent of building a new refinery every year. Never mind that the opposition to new refineries would primarily come from citizens who would face all the health and safety problems associated with this industry. Never mind the fact that if we got all the oil out of the north slope of Alaska, we would only have enough to keep America going for around 6 to 8 months. Never mind that burning all that oil would only accelerate the amount of CO2 we are throwing into the air choking our cities and flooding our coastlines, not to mention increasing ozone levels which would further degrade our air and increase respiratory illnesses in America.
The main problem with Rep. Cole’s “Band Aid on cancer” solution to our energy needs is that he wants to feed our addiction to old fossil fuel energy when what we need is a cure for that addiction. His is the thinking of the past. What we need is the energy of the future.
False prophets like Cole want us to believe that we need not make any real changes to obtain energy independence. He preaches his comforting snake oil gospel to itching ears when we need someone tell us the truth. We will not cure our oil addiction without real change.
To cure an addiction, the addict must practice new habits to replace old ones. Exploring, developing, and implementing future energy sources such as wind, solar, and biomass energies will, in the end, create new economies and ultimately better, more sustainable economies. We will be able to come clean of our old habits.
And guess what? Oklahoma is exceptionally well positioned to take advantage of future energy development, even more than we have been with old energy. Oklahoma oil production peaked around 1927. However, our winds, abundant sunshine, and fields can make us a world leader in future energy production.
We will not get there by listening to old energy toadies like Cole and other false prophets who try to distract us by blaming those who seek our healing as opposed to enabling our current habits. Cole’s old way of thinking is wrong for an Oklahoma facing a new century.