Practically Speaking

Kyle and her husband moved to Brookfield in 1986. She became active in local politics and started blogging in 2004. Her focus is primarily on local issues but often includes state and national topics, too. Kyle looks at things from the taxpayers' perspective in a creative, yet down to earth way, addressing them from a practical point of view.

Can we just start drilling now?

Energy, Environment, Government / Bureaucracy, Unintended consequences

Yesterday, I had an opportunity to listen to part of the President's Press Conference on Rush Limbaugh. (I had a lot of ironing to do!) He began by stating it was "a tough time for our economy." Then he listed a few areas that affect our wallets, "from gas and food prices to mortgage and tuition bills." Those concerns mentioned don't affect every American, but the first two do--and they are related. I am going to focus on gas prices today.

The best news to come out of that conference was President Bush urging drilling in ANWR. Finally. At last. What took so long?

Oh, I know he has asked to drill before, but it fell on deaf ears. (There is plenty of blame for both sides of the isle here.) Maybe it will finally happen since the world wide shortage of oil is becoming harder to ignore. The President said: (My emphasis)

I've repeatedly submitted proposals to help address these [energy price] problems. Yet time after time, Congress chose to block them. One of the main reasons for high gas prices is that global oil production is not keeping up with growing demand. Members of Congress have been vocal about foreign governments increasing their oil production; yet Congress has been just as vocal in opposition to efforts to expand our production here at home.

They repeatedly blocked environmentally safe exploration in ANWR. The Department of Energy estimates that ANWR could allow America to produce about a million additional barrels of oil every day, which translates to about 27 millions of gallons of gasoline and diesel every day. That would be about a 20-percent increase of oil -- crude oil production over U.S. levels, and it would likely mean lower gas prices. And yet such efforts to explore in ANWR have been consistently blocked.

Another reason for high gas prices is the lack of refining capacity. It's been more than 30 years since America built its last new refinery. Yet in this area, too, Congress has repeatedly blocked efforts to expand capacity and build more refineries. ...

Congress is considering bills to raise taxes on domestic energy production, impose new and costly mandates on producers, and demand dramatic emissions cuts that would shut down coal plants, and increase reliance on expensive natural gas. That would drive up prices even further. The cost of these actions would be passed on to consumers in the form of even higher prices at the pump and even bigger electric bills.

Instead of increasing costs and increasing new roadblocks to domestic energy production, Congress needs to clear away obstacles to more affordable, more reliable energy here at home.

The first question asked dealt with increased prices, consumer confidence being down and a moratorium on federal gas tax.

The President responded with what I think were practical solutions: (My emphasis)

...And we'll look at any idea in terms of energy, except I will tell you this, that if Congress is truly interested in solving the problem, they can send the right signal by saying we're going to explore for oil and gas in the U.S. territories, starting with ANWR. We can do so in an environmentally friendly way. They ought to say, why don't we -- I proposed, you might remember, taking some abandoned military bases and providing regulatory relief so we can build new refineries. I mean, if we're generally interested in moving forward with an energy policy that sends a signal to the world that we're not -- we're going to try to become less reliant upon foreign oil, we can explore at home, as well as continue on with an alternative fuels program.

In a later question he said:

...we can explore in environmentally friendly ways. New technologies enables for -- to be able to drill like we've never been able to do so before -- slant hole technologies and the capacity to use a drill site, a single drill site, to be able to explore a field in a way that doesn't damage the environment. And yet this is a litmus test issue for many in Congress. Somehow if you mention ANWR it means you don't care about the environment. Well, I'm hoping now people, when they say [preserving] "ANWR," means you don't care about the gasoline prices that people are paying.

As for the moratorium on the Federal 18.5 cent gas tax for the summer drive season, the President said they would take a look at it.

The moratorium on the gas tax would help a little, emphasis on little. (It would only save me $4.50/mo.)  Rush stated that  Chuck Schumer thought oil companies should pay the tax for us!  What gives Schumer the right to say that? Maybe I could suggest, since Congress has prevented any exploration here at home, the Congress should tithe their salaries to help Americans pay for gas?

Schumer was reported to say that drilling in ANWR would not do anything to help gas prices--it would be 10 years before we would get any oil from ANWR (or anywhere else) and that ANWR would only reduce prices by 1 cent a gallon in 20 years. *To that I would say, so what are we waiting for? (*Clarification: If we had been drilling all along in the U.S. as new oil sources were discovered, we would at least be increasing the supply and keeping more U.S. dollars at home. Since we are told it takes about 8 - 10 years from drilling to producing, we don't have time to spare, hence, what are we waiting for?)

If it were not for Clinton's veto of drilling in ANWR in 1994, we could be using some of that oil now! Or how about the oil off of Florida's coast, California's coast or the huge North Dakota shale oil deposit?

World wide demand is growing. China and India have huge populations that are smitten with a love affair with automobiles and improving their standard of living--they have a right to live better too.

We cannot keep trying to solve our energy shortage problems solely by increasing miles per gallon standards on cars or imposing alternative fuel mandates. It is not enough.

Implementing wind and solar won't work either; those experimental energy sources are still not cost effective. Keep up the research in energy alternatives and improving efficiency, yes. But in the meantime, we must start drilling for the resources we have been blessed with.

If you agree, contact the President and your representatives.  

President: or 202-456-1111

Congressman Sensenbrenner Telephone: (262) 784-1111, (202) 225-5101 

Senator  Kohl  Phone: (414) 297-4451, (202) 224-5653

Senator  Feingold  Office of Senator Russ Feingold | 202/224-5323


Interesting piece from Heritage Foundation: Correcting Mistakes of the 1990s Should Top the Energy Agenda for 2006

Don't forget, National Day of Prayer: Meet at City Hall, May 1, 12:20PM

Upcoming events in Brookfield

4th Annual Weed Out, May 3rd, Mary Knoll Park

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Brookfield7, Fairly Conservative, Betterbrookfield
Vicki Mckenna


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