Wednesday, September 07, 2005

Oil Independence, Greenpeace & Robert F. Kennedy Jr.

The damage caused by Hurricane Katrina & the ensuing rise in gas prices has brought the issue of oil to the forefront again. Not only do we need to build more refineries, but we should also exert a greater effort into exploring alternative energy sources & oil independence.

While dealing with the aftermath of Katrina, we should not forget the threat of terrorism. Independence from Middle Eastern oil should be a national priority in light of the war on terrorism, as Saudi Arabia & other Middle Eastern countries contribute quite a bit of funding for terror organizations.

The often-repeated answer for why we haven't developed alternative energy sources or freed our selves from the clutches of OPEC is: the big greedy oil companies obstruct the development of alternative energy sources & the government is not sufficiently supportive of efforts to develop them. And yet, very little attention has been given to the role of environmental groups & the NIMBYism of the rich & famous.

Isn't it amazing how despite our dependence on the Saudis for oil, the United States of America has oil deposits three times the size of Saudi Arabia's?

However, this oil is found in shale rocks, rather than the currently used liquid form. Extracting this oil requires that the rock be mined & heated to high temperatures in order to extract the oil. While there are many efforts being made to minimize the environmental impact, as with anything else, there are effects. Naturally, this has raised the ire of the environmental lobby.

When attempts were made to extract shale oil in Australia, Greenpeace vehemently opposed the efforts & succeeded in derailing the project by utilizing their massive lobbying power. The project was declared over in July of 2004, despite the fact that considering the exigencies caused by the war on terror & OPEC's grip on the price of oil, such an endeavor may have benefited Australians even if it were partly government funded.

Despite their opposition to government funding of the efforts to extract shale oil, in the conclusion of their report, Greenpeace says:
Rather than propping up polluting industries such as shale oil, governments should be helping develop clean, renewable energy and fuels such as solar and wind power, and hydrogen fuel cells.
All of which are wonderful, but will not be available for mass scale use for at least the next decade or possibly even longer & will require millions in government funding for research.

Reading the horrible history of this movement, dedicated to destroying the possibility of ending our dependence on Middle Eastern oil, which persisted even after 9/11 & the Bali bombings which killed many Australians, can easily make any sane person apoplectic with rage.

Had it not been for Greenpeace, we might have had the option today of buying our oil from Australia, a true friend & ally.

However, considering the vast quantity found in our own deposits, it is likely that there would not have been the necessity to buy oil even from a friend, as we could easily have been completely energy independent.

In the United States, the effort to develop shale oil based gas has been hindered not only by environmental concerns, but also bureaucratic regulations. As much of the shale oil producing region is controlled by the Bureau of Land Management, production could not begin until the stipulations, found in the Minerals Leasing Act, which prevent the development of large scale commercial projects & leasing, were altered by the Energy bill of 2005.

The elimination of red tape means that the only major danger to shale oil production is the environmentalists. Were they to discover in the area some endangered animal or there be a few emissions, despite the use of newer methods, heaven forefend us from the wrath of the powerful environmental lobby. Let us hope that shale oil development in the United States does not suffer the same fate as that of Australia.
(For more on shale oil in America, please see Pat in NC's excellent post on the topic.)

One of the worst natural disasters to hit the United States, not only destroyed a city & numerous lives, but also broke the restraints of logic in the minds of those like Robert F. Kennedy Jr. On 29th of August, he who wrote a piece in the HuffPo suggesting that the Republicans ‘caused’ ‘global warming’ & Katrina.

However, the MSM has been quick to forget the fact that this scion of the wealthy & powerful Kennedy dynasty opposed the effort to erect wind turbines along Martha's Vineyard, Cape Cod & Nantucket. Other members of the Kennedy dynasty, including his uncle, Senator Ted Kennedy, as well as many other celebrities, joined him in this crusade.

As the residents of the area are reputed as being environmentally conscious, the opposition shocked the head of the group which proposed this project, Jim Gordon. Especially considering the fact that the choice of location was far from arbitrary:
Mother Nature dictates where you site a wind farm, and Nantucket Sound has some of the best wind resources in the United States," saya Gordon. "[It] is an optimal site to locate a wind farm that can produce at peak output all of the electrical requirements of the cape and islands, without any pollution emissions, without any water consumption and zero waste discharge.

Their objections to the wind turbines, which would have lowered energy bills for thousands of ordinary people, were on the grounds that they will destroy the "unspoiled" beauty of the area. It was a revealing glimpse into the true nature of these people.

RFK Jr. is also the president of the Waterkeeper Alliance, a New York based environmental group, which ascribes to the doctrine of global warming caused by CO2 emissions. The wind turbines would not emit any greenhouse gases.

If one were to follow Mr. Kennedy’s line of, “For They That Sow the Wind Shall Reap the Whirlwind”, logic, the question of what those like him should reap is an interesting one.