Taking a Good Hard Look in the Mirror

Patrick Dorinson
Host of The Cowboy Libertarian Radio Talk Show in Sacramento

There’s an old saying about the weather. Everybody talks about it but nobody ever seems to do anything about it. The same can be said about the price of gasoline. And while the pain at the pump continues, everyone is looking for scapegoats to blame for high gasoline prices.

Number one on the list are the "greedy" oil companies and their "windfall profits", followed by the Saudis and their fellow travelers at OPEC, China and India for daring to prosper and thus increasing demand, and a whole host of other things. All convenient, but something is missing.

The one thing we always leave out is ourselves.

Now before you start heating up the tar, gathering the feathers and looking for a rail to run me out of town on, hear me out.

In 1990, the United States imported 42% of its oil needs. Today we import 60%. Congress has placed huge potential areas of development off-limits to exploration-and while we are speaking about energy we have also restricted the exploration of natural gas as well. Don’t take my word for it — read what Business writer and author Robert Samuelson wrote recently about our energy situation by clicking here.

Environmentalists have succeeded beyond their wildest dreams in cutting off oil and gas exploration in the United States. And as long as gasoline was at a low price, the public and the voters went right along with it. Whenever exploration was proposed anywhere, they ginned up their PR machine and their lawyers and quickly ended the discussion.

And that’s not just oil. That includes coal, natural gas, new refineries, power plants, nuclear energy, LNG facilities and new pipelines.

Likewise, we continue to elect politicians who give us pie-in-the-sky solutions that are years away but tell us nothing about what they will do today. And we gullibly go along with it, never asking the hard questions.

Liberal economic commentators like Paul Krugman see high oil prices as the perfect time to further their social engineering goals, so that we all start leaving the suburbs and start living more like Europeans, abandoning our cars and using public transit. I don’t think that would sit too well with most Americans and try telling Californians to leave their cars at home.

Don’t get me wrong — I am 1000% behind alternative fuels, good public transit, high speed rail, and making sure California becomes the leader in developing green technologies. It makes sense economically and will create a new generation of high paying jobs.

And someday we will live in a world where we have moved beyond fossil fuels. But that day is realistically 30 to 50 years away. Changing what and how we consume energy and having the infrastructure in place to do so is a monumental undertaking. Right now we can’t even build roads, freeways, bridges, water systems and levees.

We have both actively and passively agreed to not doing the kinds of things necessary in order to provide gasoline and other forms of energy during this "Era of Energy Transition" as I call it.

So when you wake up to start out on your Memorial Day weekend, take a few moments to think about how we got into this mess.

And when gasoline gets to $5 a gallon we’ll see if the rest of the country who don’t have beachfront property in California or Florida, and even Californians, still all say no to new energy exploration.

If they do, then they need to take a good hard look in the mirror before they start looking for scapegoats.

Before, it was easy to be "green" as long as there was no associated cost. Now there is.

Environmental activism, may I present economic reality.

Comment on this article


Please note, statements and opinions expressed on the Fox&Hounds Blog are solely those of their respective authors and may not represent the views of Fox&Hounds Daily or its employees thereof. Fox&Hounds Daily is not responsible for the accuracy of any of the information supplied by the site's bloggers.