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Spring: a Time to Redefine
Our Energy Resources
This is great time of year, isn’t it? I love having more daylight and warmer weather, or at least the promise of it on the way. Who are we to complain when looking at the extremes the rest of the country goes through?
One reason I enjoy this season is because I know my solar panels are generating more electricity and, for the last several years at least, I’ve been able to collect rainwater for the garden.
Spring is just naturally uplifting as well. We see new blooms everywhere, and I think the Spring transition must bring fresh ideas, outlooks and inspirations too, along with other kinds of appreciations and admirations, of course. Can we deny that the cycles of nature stir us on a cellular level? I know I find myself looking at things newly.
Part of the elements I like, more power or electricity and water, also appear to be the “big” problems of the day.
In March a US report called the National Intelligence Estimate on Water Security predicted water wars in the world in about ten years.
When it comes to power, those wars have been going on forever. I read the other day that in England during the Middle Ages the penalty for taking wood from the King’s forests was death.
Obviously, those who “own” or control energy and power have immense wealth and power. Oil companies have set records for profits over and over in recent years. That influence is so great, and yet the underlying assumptions that allow it and its effects on all of us/US seem to go unquestioned.
Last fall the President released some of the oil reserves held for national emergencies to give consumers a break and lower gas prices. They went down for a couple of weeks until oil companies decided to raise gas prices again, effectively changing domestic energy and economic policies.
When the President and Congress agreed to extend the reduction on payroll tax withholding the amount of money taxpayers were supposed to save disappeared within weeks, when again, oil companies raised gas prices. Economists calculated one balanced the other out.
They had their reasons, of course. I think the official explanation was the fire on the Ramierez farm in Venezuela that kept oil workers from the pipelines for 24 hours. The good news was that it wouldn’t effect oil prices for more than 24 months.
Well, maybe not, but isn’t that what their explanations sound like? It’s the uncontrollable market, they say, or those brush fires.
A lot of energy news came in late March. Did you notice the AP and NY Times reports on US oil drilling? First off, we hear the opposite, even though domestic drilling has increased in recent years, not gone down. In the 36-year studied, the AP found no correlation between gas prices and the amount of domestic drilling. Drilling now is at the same level as early 2003, when gas cost $2.10 a gallon.
Does it really make a difference, or is it good news, that the President is again looking at releasing oil reserves to lower gas prices?
Why bother with the middleman? Why not ask the acting US Cabinet—that is, the CEOs of big oil companies—if it will help or not? Why do we need to pay a Secretary of Energy, or Commerce, or the Interior? Does the Interior Department have more control over our country’s resources? Or do oil companies? Does the Department of Labor have more influence over take-home pay? Or do oil executives?
In the national interest, why not conscript these corporate persons (CPs) and just have them do what they already do, but openly, i.e., set our energy and economic policies? Rather than have the Defense and State Departments wage wars to make the world safe for oil, why not give the job to Big Oil? Why have all the duplication and, in essence, a shadow government—aka the US Cabinet—when CPs so clearly control their areas of self-interest? There’s always been a movement of executives between cabinet posts and business. We’d be simplifying it.
Sen. Ron Paul may be right: do we need all these departments? Once Gov. Rick Perry remembers what departments he wanted to cut, we may find he was right all along too—or at least he was right while remembering.
The biggest step would be to eliminate the Justice Department. They’re not very good at going after the big guys anyway. Admittedly they’ve put some away recently for insider trading, but imagine if they looked at resource theft?
Haven’t we all read in school about how much oil the State of Texas has? And Alaska? We’ve read how much oil the different states have and how the countries of the world compare. We know the rich countries from the poor countries and it’s determined in large part by their natural resources.
Isn’t there a decided gap—a Grand Canyon—between those statements, and who really “owns” and controls those resources?
If the CPs decide it’s best to sell US oil to China or developing countries, they do. Was building the Keystone Pipeline about getting oil to New Orleans? Or getting oil to the rest of the world?
At least the President firmly stopped Keystone. Well, for a minute or two. Then he offered a compromise. What’s that expression? Snatched from the jaws of victory?
The question of the day is why, if the oil belongs to us/US—if it’s the nation’s oil—and if the country’s resources are what makes it rich—why do oil companies sell it like they own it?
Have you ever read a geography book that listed those with the largest oil reserves by oil company, instead of by country?
Oil companies search for oil, extract it and distribute it and that costs money. They have costs and should make a profit, but is the oil itself theirs to sell without giving us a cut? Why have they replaced the King of the Forest?
Why can they sell it without paying royalties? Norway pays its citizens royalties for their oil. Alaska does too. What about us/US?
We seem content to give that money to the CPs in the form of record profits and ultimately executive bonuses. We also allow them to take that oil and sell it around the world without considering that depleting our natural resources makes all of us/US poorer. The more Big Oil drills domestic oil and sells it to the world—and they do—the more it costs us.
Do oil companies have a responsibility to use US oil to supply the world’s demand for oil? Are they just being helpful? Why do we listen when they explain that world demand raises domestic prices? And why in the world is British Petroleum (BP) allowed to extract US oil? Has BP pledged to sell it here?
Is the purpose of government to govern our common resources or govern the common man?
Looking at Congress, the answer is clearly shown by their fetish for controlling our reproductive habits, whether we use birth control, and with whom we get out of control. I know they’re human and it’s spring, but really.
While solar doesn’t totally replace oil, and we will always need it or something similar, it must be scary for CPs to think of the power of the sun—it shines just about everywhere. If energy resources equate to power and wealth, what an incredible equalizer and game changer solar is. No wonder they fight renewables so much.
Right now, however, the power lies with oil companies and CPs, so why not bring them out of the shadows and acknowledge them as the ones who set our policies and direction? Why spend money on a Cabinet, too?
It could even be beneficial. Policies won’t change much, but very quickly the CPs will wise up and stop wasting money buying politicians and paying lobbyists. With the money they save they could lower prices and pay us/US a fair royalty.
Humm, okay, on to plan B.
What might happen if it’s less profitable to be an elected representative? Could we shift that economic climate so those simply in it for the money do something else? Will they continue to pay 10 or 100 times their salary to get elected if they can’t get that back from the CPs?
We might get a different kind of politician. Who knows, if they aren’t as concerned about raising money they might be better. Could it be worse?
Meanwhile, Congress will give tax breaks to oil companies while the sun shines, the wind blows and waves break providing limitless energy. Some day, when they figure out how to meter it better, we’ll use more of it.
Or maybe a transition will come out of the blue, and fit our transitional times. Many third-world countries avoided the telephone pole stage by jumping right to cell phones. Maybe in a similar way we can switch to free energy as described by Nikola Tesla and others. More and more people say we can.
In our increasingly connected world, the free-energy movement is getting harder to keep quiet. (See the movie Thrive, and the news section for more.)
With the renewable vs. fossil fuel battle lopsided in favor of the CPs, maybe we can just leapfrog renewables and go right to free. Meanwhile, Spring remains our greatest energy resource, there to inspire and renew us.
Have a Great Month,