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Front Page » October 6, 2009 » Opinion » The Wasatch Behind: A slippery energy slope
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The Wasatch Behind: A slippery energy slope


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By TOM MCCOURT
Sun Advocate Columnist

A year ago gasoline was four dollars a gallon and everyone was mad. There was a lot of talk about what to do. In typical Democrat fashion, Nancy Pelosi wanted to dip into our strategic military oil reserves to keep voters happy while candidate Obama was talking about saving the day with yet-to-be-developed green technology.

Republicans weren't any better. George Bush was kissing the cheeks of Arab sheiks while begging for a better deal. And through it all, most of our politicians said that drilling in our own backyard wouldn't solve the problem because it might take 10 years to develop our resources enough to make a difference. And so, as usual, we did nothing but bend over for the Arabs. Remember, Obama said he wasn't bowing; he was just "bending over" for the king of Saudi Arabia.

Just think; if we had been drilling this past year it would now take only nine years for us to be energy independent. And people who work in the oil industry say we could have made some remarkable progress toward energy self-sufficiency in the past year. It might take politicians 10 years to drill for oil, but oilmen can do it a whole lot faster. We should have declared a national emergency and turned Exxon loose a year ago.

But now, a whole year later, nothing has changed. The oil cartels still have us by the throat and we are still at the mercy of foreign kings. We are no closer to energy independence than we were a year ago.

What is going to happen when Israel bombs Iran's nuclear facilities and the Iranians close the oil shipping lanes? Or what happens when radical jihads take over Saudi Arabia? What happens when we have a major terrorist incident in the United States that demands a decisive military response in the Middle East?

Again, let me say that this is madness. As a nation we must become energy independent. It's a matter of national survival. Why won't our politicians do it? Why do they keep doing things that hurt our country? Are they taking bribes from the oil cartels? Are they like Al Gore and so deeply invested in green technology and green mythology that they hope to profit by shutting down our oil and coal industries? Do they owe the environmental lobbies so much they are willing to compromise national security for politically manufactured wilderness? Are they really stupid enough to bet our future on technologies that haven't been developed yet?

God blessed our country with an abundance of fossil fuels and our politicians are too stupid or too corrupt to take advantage of it. In April 2008 the U.S. Geological Survey released a report that shows there is an estimated 500 billion barrels of crude oil under eastern Montana and western North Dakota. Called the Bakken formation, this is the biggest oil discovery in 60 years and it has yet to be developed. In fact, so little has been said about this marvelous discovery that there seems to be a conspiracy of silence to keep the American people from knowing about it. Have you seen anything about it on TV or in the newspaper?

According to the USGS, this single discovery has enough oil to fuel our entire economy for more than forty years: and we could recover it for as little as 16 dollars a barrel. That could give us gasoline for under a dollar again. And with the Bakken formation and an estimated two trillion barrels of oil beneath our own Rocky Mountains, our nation might have eight times as much oil as Saudi Arabia.

Best of all the Bakken formation is a long ways from any national parks or monuments. It would take no major pipeline projects or offshore oil platforms to develop the resource. The oil could be hauled on trucks and trains and not on ships that might sink and cause oil spills on the oceans. No caribou would be annoyed and the green people should be happy.

And for the rest of us, the oilfield jobs would all be American and all revenue created and taxes paid would be ours to keep instead of going to foreign despots. It would be a domestic source we could easily protect without sending troops to foreign lands. It would be cheap to develop and it would be clean, easy, and cost-effective. And it would only make good sense.

So why can't we have cheap gas and be energy independent at the same time? Call and ask your congressman.

It's a mystery to me.

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October 6, 2009
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