You Can’t Make Lunacy Up   3 comments

The United States may well have the largest oil reserves in the world. Alaska alone, were we a stand-alone country, would rank as the 13th largest government-owned oil reserve in the world, making us OPEC material. Yet because of intense lobbying by environmental organizations, the United States government has locked up 67% of domestic oil reserves and 40% of domestic natural gas reserves on federal land, making us dependent on foreign oil imports. Our problems run much deeper than that, however.

The NIMBYs (Not In My Back Yard) and the BANANAs (Building Absolutely Nothing Anywhere Near Anything) oppose building so much that the United States hasn’t built a new oil refinery since 1976. All remaining American refineries are running at full capacity, so that when one needs to be shut down for routine maintenance, it causes a temporary shortage in the supply and a spike in prices. Rules and regulations at the state and federal levels block the petroleum refinement industry from building new refineries. Old worn-out refineries are closing. California closed 10 between 1985 and 1995, representing 20% of the state’s refining capacity. California’s energy policy is literally wedded to radical environmental groups, so it is unlike any new refineries will be built there in my lifetime.

Building a refinery would cost at least $2 billion and take about 10 years. If – IF – permits could be obtained, there’s no guarantee the refinery would ever be built. Why? Well, where would you build it where it would be welcomed? And, if you could find such a community, the radical environmentalists would organize and energize the NIMBYs and BANANAs with concerns about air pollution or the dangers of large trucks and railcars carrying hazardous materials or the potential for leakage into the environment. Scientific facts to the contrary, the ostrich party acts like refinery environmental standards haven’t improved at all in 40 years.

The Department of Energy predicts domestic oil consumption will increase 43% by 2025, but production will grow only 23%. Meanwhile, Congress has poured more than $23 billion of our money into alternative energy sources like windmills, solar panels and ethanol, all in the name of conservation. In reality, no combination of conservation, technology or alternative fuels can come close to replacing the fossil fuels system we already have. Maybe, after years of research, testing, permitting and construction, distribution system for alternatives will begin to take a larger share in the marketplace, but in the meantime, we NEED domestic oil and gas NOW!

The United States imports more than 60% of its oil from unstable nations in the Middle East where the entire region is on verge of revolution. Our policies have left us at the mercy of Libya and Saudi Arabia. We’re a coup or an assassination away from radical factions putting our economy into a tail spin that will pulverize the US economy.

It is WAY past the time to institute bold long-term plans to keep the nation’s lights on and disentangle our transportation system and industry from world conflict. Such plans would include reopening the off-shore fields and opening access to energy rich areas currently off limits to exploration, like the mere 2000 acres in ANWR. More importantly, we need to build refineries to process the raw materials into usable gasoline, diesel, etc.

For this to happen, the American people need to get real-world woke up RIGHT NOW. Our economy does not run on magic fairy dust. It runs on energy and, more importantly, it runs on reliable energy. Wind and solar do not, at this time and probably not for decades to come, qualify as RELIABLE energy. Solar is a low-efficiency energy source that costs more in fossil fuel to produce than it saves in the lifetime of a solar panel. Wind has high-efficiency, but is reliant upon the changeable weather. Both raise the ire of some NIMBYs because they tend to spoil the view. Do you see the irony of that? A green solution is not desirable because it causes visual pollution?

No, you really cannot make this lunacy up!

3 responses to “You Can’t Make Lunacy Up

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  1. I’m still holding out hope that it is a plan by the government to hold on to what is believed to be a severely finite resource, while using up all of what could be called the enemies. I’m not sure if that makes me optimistic or delusional.

    On a side note, is there some reason besides red tape I mean that it takes a decade to build a refinery?

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    • Construction-wise, it might take a year or two. I’m not an engineer, but I do work with engineers and my impression is that after the decade of permitting is done, engineering and building wouldn’t take more than two years here in Alaska where the summer construction season is short. Maybe a year in the Lower 48.

      For reference, the entire 800-mile Trans-Alaska Pipeline was built in less than three years. A refinery is no less of an engineering feat, but it’s also a much smaller footprint.

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    • I don’t buy the the finite resource so let’s use up everybody else’s argument any more. I used to. Then I started reading about how old “played out” fields are starting to produce again. Why? Well, fracking for one, but the geologists are starting to suspect that the oil is actually new — coming from somewhere else — sort of how a water well can be sucked dry when the whole family showers in the morning, but by the next morning, it’s full again. The Royal Institute of Technology (KTH) in Stockholm has some strong proof for this theory of “abiotic oil”. And, it makes sense. Why the heck would Alaska — cold Alaska — have so much oil if oil is a product of long dead animals? At best it makes me skeptical.

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