On Bush and Oil Drilling

There’s a political webcomic I enjoy reading, A Town Called Dobson.

Today’s comic is about Bush’s call to Congress to lift the ban on off-shore oil drilling and to open the Alaskan National Wildlife Refuge.

Bush’s argument is that high gasoline prices mean that we need to increase our own production. That will bring down the price of oil. Indeed, just a few days ago I saw on Red State (the conservative version of DailyKos) an analysis that off-shore drilling and ANWR drilling will lower gasoline prices to about $2.40. The argument was that this is a Republican campaign issue; Democrats are being preservationists, and that’s making prices at the pump higher than they should be, but Republicans want to trample on nature and bring down the price of gasoline.

The thing is, and I don’t think anyone’s quite made it quite as succienctly, off-shore drilling and Alaskan drilling is not a quick fix.

To quote Dobson‘s closing analysis:

What Bush doesn’t tell you is it will take decades to explore the shelf, build the new drilling rigs and extract the fossil fuels. He also doesn’t even want to mention what will be required on-shore. Such massive off-shore operations requires significant on-shore support. New oil pipelines, new refineries, new storage depots, and a host of other dirty, oil related crap that does nothing to ween us off of fossil fuel. This is billions in infrastructure that could be used to actually get us off of oil – forever.

There is no quick fix. Republicans are going to try and claim that there is this fall. They’ll be lying. Worse, they’ll knowingly be lying.

What we need to do is develop a new energy policy that breaks our dependence on oil.

2 thoughts on “On Bush and Oil Drilling

  1. Just so I’m clear, you admit that

    1) Drilling for oil will increase supply and lower prices

    2) Drilling for oil will create A LOT of jobs

    3) We need to drill now because it will take time to get the product to market.

    Did you know that 13 years ago our Republican Congress voted to drill in ANWR but that the Democratic president vetoed it. We would have less dependence on foreign oil and increased supply today if we had passed this 13 years ago when we should have.

    Oil isn’t going anywhere soon, that’s a fact. We will never get completely off oil in my lifetime (one trip to the airport will tell you that)

    We need it, we have it, we should drill for it. Period.

  2. Paul, I’ve given your questions some thought.

    1) Yes, it will increase supply. But in the short-term, there will be no lower prices. And there’s no guarantee that in the long term, there will be lower prices. Making the argument, as the President himself did in his weekly radio address last week, that the solution to four dollar a gallon gasoline is off-shore drilling, is disingenuous at best.

    2) Actually, yes, drilling for oil will create jobs.

    3) Even if we started tomorrow, it would be a least a decade until we saw anything from off-short drilling. So, yes, if off-shore drilling is something to be pursued, sooner would be better than later.

    So, while I agree with points 2 and 3 (and partially with 1), I’m not sure that I can get to your conclusion that “we should drill for it.” I’m not sure that I can justify in my own mind the opportunity costs in infrastructure improvement and alternate energy research, nor the environmental costs.

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