Switch to normal site

Letter to the editor:

Drill for our oil before it’s too late

Wed, Feb 29, 2012 (2:01 a.m.)

Our economy and security as a nation depend on oil, and will for years to come.

We have a lot of untapped fossil fuel resources here in America. Israel is at risk if Iran goes nuclear and will probably launch a strike to destroy Iran’s nuclear fuel enrichment facilities in the near future. That action will close the Strait of Hormuz and drive the price of oil to unprecedented levels, which will threaten both our economy and our security.

And still, we don’t develop our own fossil fuel resources to the greatest extent possible. By not taking the steps we could take now, we are setting ourselves up for another deep recession or even a depression.

Back to top


Join the Discussion:

Check this out for a full explanation of our conversion to the LiveFyre commenting system and instructions on how to sign up for an account.

Full comments policy

Discussion: 65 comments so far…

  1. Mr.Casler is correct. America is squandering its energy independence on a false ideology being promoted by president Obama that the time for green technology is here now. Nothing could more insane We must get with the fossile fuel program now or suffer the consequences of more spiraling gas prices and dependence on other nations for something this nation possesses in abundant quantities. Hydrocarbon based energy. President Obama and his administration are leaving us all helpless to truly win the energy stakes by pandering to a lame energy ideology and an environmentalist base that is on a witch hunt for common sense. The will of Americans can make a difference by acting now with their votes.

  2. Does Birdiedreamin really want a newspaper that 'only' prints opinions from 'one' side? That newspaper would be pretty boring. I give the Sun credit for being a 'left' leaning paper that will print opinions from the 'other' side.


  3. Just like drilling for oil, fracking to get at natural gas, which we have in abundance is inherently risky and carries with it the possibility of environmental damage. I am not for irresponsible drilling and fracking, but I realize at the same time, that we risk our economy and our security if we place these resources off limits due to the 'risks' associated with them.

    It would be great to be able to run the country and world on green energy, to tell Saudi Arabia and other nations to stop drilling for and pumping oil, to stop burning coal as they do in China in huge amounts, but that will have to happen over a long period of time, not in the near term.

    For the time being, we need to do what these other nations do, which is develop our own resources, both green and fossil fuel, so we protect our economy and our security.


  4. Many people realize that Russia is the top oil producing country in the world and Saudi Arabia is second. But few realize that the third leading oil producer is the United States. And while we produce 9% of the world's oil, we consume about 20% of the world supply of oil.

    There are two reasons our economy overconsumes oil. Petroleum products are cheap relative to the rest of the world. They do not reflect the true military cost of defending oil supply lines such as the Straits of Hormuz. They are kept artificially low by tax subsidies that might have made sense when oil was $10 a barrel but not when it is $100 a barrel. The price we pay for transportation petroleum does not reflect the true cost of maintaining transportation infrastructure. We pay 18.3 cents per gallon in Federal fuel tax, a figure that has not changed in 19 years. By contrast, Germans pay $ 4.88 per gallon.

    Gasoline prices around the world might surprise some. The following pay over $9.00 per gallon:
    Norway (an oil exporter)
    The following pay $8-9 per gallon:
    Czech Republic
    United Kingdom
    The following pay $7-8 per gallon:

    Canada, an oil exporter, has $4.70 gasoline
    We pay $3.60.

    In evaluating green energy alternatives to petroleum, few studies reflect the true cost of petroleum products and the inefficient transportation system we have become dependent on.

  5. Michael, you have just calmly and rationally repeated the arguments of every pathetic junkie: "I need, I want, I must have." Neither they nor you have realized that however much they put in, their needs grow.

    You want plentiful, low priced gasoline -- stop driving and we will have it. 2/3rds of all of our imported petroleum is used for transportation and 2/3rds of that is used in private cars and light duty trucks.

    We control how much we drive. We just don't wanna.....

    We can blame Obama. We can blame government regulation. We can blame taxation. We can blame Iran. But the real fault is in ourselves.

    If we formed new habits, gasoline would be plentiful and cheap. Or we can continue to be pathetic junkies. Your choice.

  6. Leric,

    I have nothing against more fuel efficient cars and people driving less. My point is that we have fossil fuel resources here that are not being developed and they should be developed.

    Frank and Dennis often point out that Americans are stubborn and they won't voluntarily vote to raise gas taxes, be forced into smaller cars, conserve, etc. and they are correct.

    The question Americans need to ask themselves and answer is whether they are in favor of the government saying: We think you are being foolish and so we are going to do what we can to 'force' energy prices higher so you will be 'forced' to do what we think is best. Both President Obama and Energy Secretary Steven Chu have put forth that philosophy. If that is your philosophy, despite anything you might say to the contrary, you are going to drag your feet to the extent possible in the areas of increasing fossil fuel resource development here in America. If I were them and that was my philosophy... heck... that's what I would do too.

    My problems with Obama and Chu are these: 1) although they stated that energy prices would need to rise to help make green energy viable (credit to them for being honest), when the going gets tough (like now) they try to claim they are encouraging fossil fuel development. Sorry... I liked them better when they were honest... and 2) I simply don't agree that it is government's place to manipulate the energy market to try to force decisions on Americans. It is social engineering and I hate it each time I see it, whether it's R or D's doing it... and they both do.


  7. Michael,
    How do you know what you know in your last post? What are your sources and how do you evaluate their credibility? Prove what you write is correct.

  8. Let's take the Chevy Volt. Don't you think the government could see what Dennis, Frank and we all see: Gas guzzling trucks and SUV's as most popular vehicles in America; Americans driving everwhere, etc.

    Then the government provides billions for GM to develop a small electric car with a range of 40 miles on electric. Do you think Dennis, Frank or any of the rest of us would think that such a car would be popular (even with rebates) to those same Americans mentioned above? No, we would not think that.

    We would know that there would only be one way to get such a car into the hands of millions of Americans and that would be to 'mandate' that Americans buy one.

    If you, or I or Dennis or Frank or anyone else had to invest our own money to develop build and sell in a car like the Volt, but we knew we could not 'mandate' that people buy it, would we invest? NO WE WOULD NOT.... but the government did...Why? Because it isn't their money.

    And this lesson is exactly why I do not want this intrusive, giant government deciding what is best for me in ever growing areas of my life.


  9. Michael, Why should anyone consider you credible when you write hyperbole like this?: "Then the government provides billions for GM to develop a small electric car with a range of 40 miles on electric."
    How many mistakes COULD you find with this statement if you truly cared about simple, verifiable facts? Go on and give it a try.

  10. Michael also avoids the elephant in the room with the building effects of AGW. It must be nice to stare with such a blank face at the accelerating pace of our alteration of all the Earth's climate systems on which we are completely dependent. But I guess that next trip to Best Buy is sooo much more important than a stable set of seasons that allow enough food to be grown.

  11. Mark,

    Do you just copy and past that line again and again and hit enter? Engage my friend, engage. Explain why you favor the large and intrusive government. Explain why you think it is fine for the government to restrain certain types of energy development here to drive up prices to manipulate Americans into making certain choices? Explain why the investment in the volt made sense?

    If you're not going to do that, just be quiet.


  12. How are others doing actually addressing the problem of AGW? Here is one example:

  13. What are you going to do Mark? Tell China and India they can't use polluting fossil fuels anymore? Tell Saudi Arabia, Russia and many other nations that sell fossil fuels that they can't anymore? Tell Americans that their economy must only run on green energy. Get out of dreamland and live in the real world, where yes, Best Buy does exist.


  14. The use of polluting fossil fuels will result in death for many. Do you think this is OK Michael?

  15. There is no alternative except for a slow steady change over from fossil fuels to green energy. To try to force it faster than is reasonable, will cause death and economic destruction.


  16. Houstonjac - "President Obama and his administration are leaving us all helpless to truly win the energy stakes by pandering to a lame energy ideology and an environmentalist base that is on a witch hunt for common sense."

    Either you are terribly misinformed or intentionally lying. One, gas prices are up because of Wall St. speculators worrying about the situation with Iran. Two, domestic oil drilling has gone up under Obama's administration.

    "Yes, oil production is booming under Obama. No, it hasn't lowered gas prices."


    "Not according to the chart on the right, courtesy of the Wall Street Journal. The number of rigs in the United States has been soaring during the Obama years. Oil drilling is up nearly 60 percent in the past year alone. True, Obama administration actions aren't really responsible for the frenzy. As the Journal notes, the main contributing factors are better drilling technology and high crude prices, both of which make it possible -- and profitable -- for companies to tap new reserves in North Dakota, Texas, Ohio and elsewhere. Bottom-scraping natural gas prices have also prodded energy companies to shift their focus to oil. But in any case, Obama doesn't appear to have thwarted the boom in oil production."

  17. First, no one is bombing Iran. Secondly no way Iran can close the straight for any reasonable length of time. Best case a few days before we sink their Gilligan like Navy. More propaganda, and fear mongering that continues to drive the oil prices up. Finally we control the barrel amount of oil produced in Saudi Arabia, among other countries.

  18. Talk Is cheap,and gas prices are not. As long as we see quartly profits of 10 billion dollars plus each quarter things will stay the same.Oil companies have no desire to change anything In the Immediate future, and why would they.

  19. Vernos,

    Oil production is up but it should be and could be up more if more areas were opened, and the XL pipeline was approved. Whether you say the President or economics and technology have been responsible for increased production there is still much more that could be and should be done to increase production even more.

    I believed President Obama and Steven Chu when they said energy prices needed to be much higher to make green energy cost competitive. I still believe that to the extent 'politically' possible, both of these gentlemen will do what they can to restrict fossil fuel development in America. With gas prices this high, they cannot afford to be seen as obstructionists to fossil fuel development here in America and their words and even some of their actions reflect that fact.

    It remains true, however that both Obama and Chu believe that our government should do what it can to restrict fossil fuel development here, and hope prices go up enough to provide a window for more green energy development and use.

    I'm all for green energy. I just don't think our government should do things to manipulate the market in an effort to 'force' Americans into green energy because fossil fuel energy is just as expensive. That will happen naturally over time as fossil fuel supplies decline against increasind demand. That's the way it should work... and not by government manipulation and force.


  20. I wish I could go to another planet and some of you probably wish I would, but I have to stay here with the rest of you. The world will change to green energy... slowly... over time.... and we can all hope the climate change 'bomb'... if it exists, will not strike before we complete the change.


  21. Let me copy and paste why trying to increase supply will fail to solve the problem:
    "The "tipping point" for oil supply appears to have occurred around 2005, says Murray, who compared world crude oil production with world prices going back to 1998. Before 2005, supply of regular crude oil was elastic and increased in response to price increases. Since then, production appears to have hit a wall at 75 million barrels per day in spite of price increases of 15 percent each year.
    "As a result, prices swing wildly in response to small changes in demand," the co-authors wrote. "Others have remarked on this step change in the economies of oil around the year 2005, but the point needs to be lodged more firmly in the minds of policy makers."
    For those who argue that oil reserves have been increasing, that more crude oil will be available in the future, the co-authors wrote: "The true volume of global proved reserves is clouded by secrecy; forecasts by state oil companies are not audited and appear to be exaggerated. More importantly, reserves often take 6 -- 10 years to drill and develop before they become part of the supply, by which time older fields have become depleted."
    Production at oil fields around the world is declining between 4.5 percent and 6.7 percent per year, they wrote."

  22. Further, oil is a WORLD product where WORLD demand and supply matter while individual countries efforts are stopgaps at best. Oil is a finite resource and what is reasonable very much depends on what we are willing to spend to move away from polluting fuels to clean ones.
    Hey Jim Weber, I think the extra planet Michael believes in resides inside his own head.

  23. Given this:
    What stretches supplies further? Trying to increase supply or reducing demand?

  24. Michael,
    Oh there is no "...if it exists" regarding our destabilization of climate. It is happening right now and for humans to have a good future we need to make collective efforts to combat our own pollution. I write collective because, while individuals can help with this, it takes a huge shift in thinking and the introduction of new technology to successfully make the required shift. Only large scale government can bring the resources to bear to do this as the problem dwarfs the abilities of even mega scale corporations.

    Conservatives don't like this thought because it makes a mockery of their religious faith in free markets problem solving abilities. Given the everyday failure of such markets in solving more than how to make your whites whiter or the incredible shrinking amount of product in ever larger containers this is not surprising. The executives at corporations constantly lie to their employees and to their customers and conservative echo chambers constantly apologize for those lies. I use to think I was too cynical, but now I realize cynicism in the face of a press with profit motives first and information second is a survival trait.

  25. Michael, desperate junkies will do and say anything for a fix. Pete junkies are no different. Until you recognize an addiction for what it is, you can't begin to deal with it.

    Price is driving up production as fast as it can be done. There are finite limits to drilling rigs, to extraction enhancement equipment, and to the labor to install, use, and maintain them.

    If we didn't use almost half of all our oil supply for personal transportation, the U.S. would be a net exporter of oil at our present production levels. We would have no "national security issues" from being dependent on foreign oil. Our trade balance would improve. Our costs on a whole host of things from plastics, to chemicals, to food would be lower and the US would become a more attractive place to make things. We would have more manufacturing jobs, which in turn would support more service jobs, which, in turn would provide more revenue (reducing governmental deficits). We do not have these things now because we are hooked on pete. We are feeding our pete habit instead of building our country.

  26. Frank,

    Please go ahead and boycott me.



  27. RefNV,
    Can you explain how President Obama caused a shift of supply in 2005 as the research indicates?

  28. RefNV - "Obama's energy plan is centered around pushing his liberal energy agenda at the expense of our wallets."

    And the lying hypocrites strike again! Republicans invest in green energy but won't tell their constituents they do.

    In September, 2009, Nebraska Republican Sen. Mike Johanns lobbied for funding for the San Diego Center for Algae Biotechnology, a project that only offered the hope that such technology could be brought to his state.

    "The center will not only accelerate the development of sustainable alternative transportation fuels from algae, but will also create new jobs in the green energy industry," Johanns wrote to Energy Secretary Steven Chu, arguing also that the technology would "reduce our dependence on imported oil."

    Rep. Darrell Issa (R-Calif.), now one of Obama's fiercest alternative energy critics over the failure of solar firm Solyndra, also sought support for the project in an October 2009 letter. "Development of algae as a viable and sustainable source of transportation fuel is critical to decreasing America's dependence on imported oil, while creating new sources of meaningful green collar jobs."

    Similarly, former House Republican Conference Chairman Rep. Mike Pence (R-Ind.) argued that algae was a near-magic bullet to solve American energy problems in a July 2009 letter that supported a grant for a company called Stellarwind BioEnergy.

    "Algae production directly addresses all the significant challenges being faced by the U.S., namely domestic energy security, greenhouse gas emissions, scientific leadership in a variety of industries, and broad-based green job creation," Pence wrote to the Department of Energy.

    The recent attack on algae and biofuel was only part of a broader GOP message avalanche in response to Obama's energy policy speech last week. After their morning conference meeting, shortly after McConnell's remarks, House GOP leaders each delivered scathing broadsides at Obama's plans.

    "The president says he's for an all-of-the-above energy plan," said Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio). "Has anyone seen it? I'm not seeing it," he said, going on to argue that Obama is blocking oil production, although, as the White House argues, oil production has reached eight-year highs in the United States.

    "Listen, Americans understand that we can produce more of our own energy. And they don't understand why 35 years since the oil embargo of 1974, that we've never had a national energy policy. We've got a handful of environmental groups, radical environmental groups, who've stood in the way of having a national energy policy all of these years," Boehner argued. "And it's just about damn time that we actually have a national energy policy and do something the American people want us to do."

  29. wtplv - "Oil production is up but it should be and could be up more if more areas were opened, and the XL pipeline was approved."


    We all know the pipeline will be built. It's just a matter of what route and when. Trying to hang this on Obama is nothing less than right wing BS.

  30. It doesn't matter how much oil we drill in the US. The oil companies sell the oil on the world market, and we will pay world market prices. Unless the US can control how and where the oil coming from the US is sold, drilling here will not produce lower gas prices.

  31. An extremely slow economic recovery like we're experiencing makes us vulnerable to world events and price volatility. American consumers and manufacturers rely on oil to live, work, manufacture and transport goods. An energy policy designed to increase oil production here in the U.S. would strengthen our recovery and give our nation energy security should Iran and Israel become warring nations for any extended length of time.

  32. There is more oil and gas in supply then there is demand. But the price is still skyrocketing. Why would gas prices still go up when we have a oversupply of oil and gas? It is because of wall street and greedy speculating future traders who are manipulating prices for personal enrichment. Drilling for more domestic oil should help But until the destructive greed is dealt with there will be no price relief regardless if we drilled everywhere for oil.

  33. RefNV - "There's nothing wrong with investing in clean energy."

    Absolutely not, but then you can't turn around and condemn the president for suggesting we should develop green energies, straight out hypocrital BS. I was for it, before I was against it, has been running rampart in the GOP/Tea Party.

  34. Vernos,

    Let's try to be fair here.

    Of course the right wing is going to try to blame all our energy problems on President Obama and that isn't fair or accurate.

    On the other hand, you seem unwilling to entertain the very real possibility that part of the President's decision to say no to the XL pipeline at this time is because at the very least he wants to delay it until after the 2012 election so as not to make the environmental lobby mad at him.

    If the pipeline is a good idea, it deserves to be approved now.

    We really need people that will do the right thing, not the expedient thing and that goes for both R's and D's.


  35. >>Castler ... you are getting pretty close to being boycotted herein by me ... you have to get your info correct, take a side and make some sense or I will end my reading of your posts like I have done with about four or five herein<<

    lucky guy Mike!

    Drill Drill Drill! Europe has high gas because of the taxes, Norway a 4th or 5th world producer of oil has $8 gas. It is the socialism that has caused those prices.The USA is very unique in the energy spectrum, we have great sources, but we consume large amounts, more than we produce. I believe in time it will balance, due to hybrid cars, bio diesel trucks and planes, Nat gas and maybe if we are lucky hydrogen trucks and cars, but this will take time and we need crude oil now! So MC is on target with his post! And I will agree with dipstick about the US having no energy policy for the last 40, make that 100 years. "O' is leaning green and is good to an extent but that is not going to help us now or in 5 years. His XL pipeline fiasco is a statement to his commitment of oil supply to the US. He pissed of Brazil so bad they now will sell to China instead of USA, and Canada is getting that message as well. If Obama was paying the fuel bill for the planes he rides out if his own pocket he may think different, but right now he is flying around on someone elses' dime, ours. If a worm, bird or some near extinct bug or fish has to die so be it, we have a population to maintain and keep at work.

  36. After George W Bush's energy policies took a barrel of oil from $25 a barrel 2001 to $147 a barrel by 2007 a 600% increase. I will take president Obama energy policy any day. Oil is a finite resource as the world demand increases possibly doubling over the next 20 years it makes sense economically to start developing alternative energy now not later.

  37. The only problem Houston has is with the cognitive skills of REFFy: