Sunday, March 30, 2008

U.S. Energy Policy Spirals Downward

I write today to appease my father's desire to lambast U.S. energy and agricultural officials and chastise the global environmental alarmist movement. That seems like a heck of a lot of work for a Sunday but I'll give it the old college try. Unfortunately our energy policy will be tied to carbon dioxide emissions and the yet to be honestly debated global warming theory until the last dog dies. Did I mention that not only are the scholars and scientists that oppose the "consensus" theory given no voice in any debate format they are branded as hacks by media surrogates even though many of them have far more impressive credentials than Al Gore's all too agenda driven lap dogs. If many of the proposals burped up by the environmentally friendly politicians and presidential candidates come to pass, I for one believe the end of our free market economy as we know it is close at hand.

The problems associated with intertwining energy policy with the whole "earth turns to fire" prognostication are at the very least dangerous when viewed broadly. Even the EPA acknowledged when issuing a notice of proposed rule-making that rapid and poorly researched regluations for instant emissions controls on cars and trucks cripples everything from corporate America to mom and pop operations serving as the backbone of competitive enterprise in this country. First of all, heads are in the sand if anyone believes there will be an overnight shift from fossil fuels to alternative sources of energy. If every available acre suitable for the production of corn was seeded exclusively for the production of ethanol used in weaning us from gasoline consumption, it would constitute only 9% of the fuel utilized now. Even with aggressive conservation methods we are stuck trying to develop a source for the other 90% (and growing) need. That means no affordable corn feed for cattle and hog producers and food-based corn costs would skyrocket beyond exorbinant levels. What about the taxpayer and tax break dollars already flowing to corn producers and producers of biofuels? Where in this picture does the consumer get a break? Is it one of the tenets of the environmental movement to ensure the wealth and liquidity of large corn producers while you and I still pay inflated prices at the pump and grocery store for food now in short supply because of its fuel value? Most concerning to me is that we are contemplating a major investment in technologies that are still relatively new and unproven. The questions just keep on coming too. Changing corn to ethanol is extremely expensive and inefficient. It takes as much or more energy to produce a gallon of ethanol than the finished product itself gives us. Recently concerns about biofuel emissions and its effects on warming have come up. I'm hesitant to spend all this money on unproven technologies only to have the controlling environmentalists tell us we're still killing the planet. Maybe we should just scale down to loin cloths and clubs and forage for our food. I'm not really kidding, is this what they want?

As a rule of thumb we've been importing about 14 million barrels of oil a day at a cost of $340 billion dollars a year from countries and zealots that would happily enjoy our collapse and participate in a festive round of beheading. Little do you hear in the way of gigantic oil reserves our own government has outlawed us from recovering in the Atlantic Ocean. We've in quite cowardly fashion slithered away from refuge drilling by extremely environmentally and eco-friendly processes. China and India can of course pursue that which we've stupidly castrated ourselves from obtaining but they're entitled right? Oh, and they're modern industrialists that have a handle on pollution controls right? They're responsible for more direct particulate emission than we ever dreamed of. Have you seen the air in Beijing (cough, cough)? When is the last time you've heard about the vast supplies of oil in the Bakken field of North Dakota, Montana, and South Dakota? 175 to 500 billion barrels of recoverable oil are waiting to be horizontally drilled out of the Earth in an environmentally friendly way but apparently the American consumer isn't worth the effort or doesn't deserve the information. Do you ever hear about the vast reserves available on the Wyoming and Utah border, the new formations in the Gulf of Mexico, and a million others the environmental propagandists don't want you to hear about? I hate to sound like Mel Gibson in "Conspiracy Theory" but understand you and I have been deemed unworthy by our government and those that control it.

Does it bother you to know that states like Montana with vast reserves of coal get the thumbs down from environuts even if the technology is available to sequester carbon dioxide emissions? Has anyone told you the break consumers would get when clean coal to diesel technology was up and running and decreasing our reliance on foreign energy thus driving down energy costs for everyone participating in the economy? No you haven't heard because they don't want you to. I guess bozo politicians figure we've ran a dismal trade deficit for this long, why change a good thing? I'd start fashioning that loin cloth if I were you. Don't even mention clean nuclear power to envirocons. Regardless of its "clean" potential they just don't like it. Seems to me they're more about control than solutions. Nuclear power if allowed to benefit from a reduction in mind numbing regulatory barriers can be an effective form of energy production. Collecting berries on a windswept hillside can be a marvelous family outing or so I've heard. Although contrary to popular belief, most of the profits from big oil benefit American investor's 401K's and not a small group of corporate demons. Still, with the record profits I believe the time is now to cut oil subsidies as currently structured. If you want to use subsidies and tax breaks as an incentive, do it by requiring the major oil companies to invest in their infrastructure and the manufacture of refineries. Therein lies a great deal of costs associated with the farce theory of "supply and demand."

Perhaps the most dangerous element regarding upcoming energy policy changes revolve around the carbon tax and cap and trade issues. Let's scale this down for dummies like me. Every business, large or small, mom or pop, farm or ice cream shop will inherit a tax passed on to them by energy producers penalized through hidden taxes for the production of fossil fuel energy. Basically the government would allow energy producers to produce a set limit of energy. After that limit is exceeded by increased demand from consumers, the energy producer can purchase auctioned or allocated permits from other producers that haven't hit the imposed limit. Notice the permit terminology. It's a tax and it will be passed to you. By 2050 carbon taxes would in today's language equate to about $.50 per gallon. Don't fret though because you're going to pay it if you use natural gas, heating oil, or propane. It's an all-inclusive gotcha tax. Try to make money at your business and the government will happily take your profits on the backside through this carbon taxing process. I'll mention again that the whole carbon dioxide emissions tied to global warming alarmism is still an unproven theory. Isn't the government and the cerebrally challenged morons that run it a wonderful spectacle to bemuse?

At any rate I've just brushed the surface of these issues and each one could expand to pages and pages of dialogue and research. For now diesel hovers around $4.00 per gallon and biodiesel is the same. Sketchy science and production for the same price. If the trucking industry collapses due to high fuel prices and government inactivity the economy will follow long before we crown the next presidential dunce. I wonder if I should learn how to start speaking Chinese so I'm prepared for their takeover.

No comments: