More Stupid Congress Tricks: Energy Supply Edition

The Wall Street Journal is running a nifty editorial about the recent obtuse energy (or is it "anti-energy?") antics of our Congressoids:

Anyone wondering why U.S. energy policy is so dysfunctional need only review Congress's recent antics. Members have debated ideas ranging from suing OPEC to the Senate's carbon tax-and-regulation monstrosity, to a windfall profits tax on oil companies, to new punishments for "price gouging" – everything except expanding domestic energy supplies.

Amid $135 oil, it ought to be an easy, bipartisan victory to lift the political restrictions on energy exploration and production. Record-high fuel costs are hitting consumers and business like a huge tax increase. Yet the U.S. remains one of the only countries in the world that chooses as a matter of policy to lock up its natural resources. The Chinese think we're insane and self-destructive, while the Saudis laugh all the way to the bank.

There are two separate moratoria on offshore drilling: One is a ban that Congress has attached to every budget since 1982, and the other is a 1990 executive order that President Bush has waived in only a few cases. Republicans made failing attempts to overcome both when they ran Congress, but current Democratic leaders and their green masters remain adamantly opposed. The new political opportunity amid record prices is to convince enough rank-and-file Democrats that they'll suffer at the polls if they don't break with this antiexploration ideology.

While energy "independence" is an impossible dream, there's no doubt the U.S. has vast undeveloped fossil-fuel deposits. A tiny corner of the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge contains an estimated 10.4 billion barrels of oil and would be the largest producing oil field in the Northern Hemisphere. Yet the Senate blocked that development as recently as last month. The Outer Continental Shelf is estimated to contain some 86 billion barrels of oil, plus 420 trillion cubic feet of natural gas. Yet of the shelf's 1.76 billion acres, 85% is off-limits and 97% is undeveloped.

The Journal editorial is correct when it notes

Yes, we know, increased drilling is no energy cure-all....

But it wouldn't hurt.

Whole WSJ editorial here.

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  • Guy Montag||

    Can't anybody think of the polar bears?

  • ||

    Too bad they elected to repeat this unsupportable meme:

    Refineries for gasoline are stretched to the limit

    But otherwise, dead on. Wake up, Congress!

  • ||

    Hey! If we invade Iran, and liberate the freedom-loving, intrinsically democratic people there, they will welcome us with open arms (and FLOWERS!) and they will turn all their oil over to us in gratitude; the whole thing will pay for itself!

  • ed||

    Democratic leaders and their green masters

    That says it all. But are Americans too stupid to put the blame where it belongs?
    So far, yes.

  • ||

    Cong. Gerlach (R-Pa) is making his support of off-shore drilling a major issue. Since he has always walked a fine line on environmentalism, winning re-election by about 1% in a typical tree-hugging but Republican suburban district, he obviously thinks he knows the wind is blowing towards more U.S. energy development regardless of a few unsightly rigs off the coast of Biloxi.

  • ||

    Yet of the shelf's 1.76 billion acres, 85% is off-limits and 97% is undeveloped.

    So... the 12% that's not being used but not illegal: Economically unviable because it's scattered amongst many small deposits? Or just not being used because someone is waiting for a subsidy?

  • Neu Mejican||

    The Journal editorial is correct when it notes

    Yes, we know, increased drilling is no energy cure-all....

    But it wouldn't hurt.


    Except to the extent that it does.
    All depends upon you concept of harm I guess.

  • ||

    And yet, people keep electing (and re-electing)these collective bozos year after year, after year, after year....

    This is what happens when you always go for the free pony option.

  • Rhywun||

    > The Chinese think we're insane and self-destructive

    and will continue to do so as long as we're not turning our northern half into desert or covering our cities in smog so thick it brings tears to your eyes.

  • Neu Mejican||

    Democrats are going to have to grow up. The oil-rich areas they want to leave untouched are accessible with minimal environmental disturbance, thanks to modern technology.

    That is an unsupported assertion.
    All depends upon your concept of minimal, I guess.

    Again, can someone explain why high gas prices are a problem?

    Given the subsidies that the US government already gives to the industry to keep oil cheap, I think the real action they should be taking is to allow gas to cost what it costs within the context of protecting another important resource, wilderness.

    Now if you don't value wilderness, then...

  • Guy Montag||

    Com on, the Congress is trying to give energy companies a hit: 'go back to whale oil and bear blubber or we will take all of your stuff'.

  • Neu Mejican||

    The Chinese think we're insane and self-destructive

    And they know something about self-destructive ;^)

    http://news.yahoo.com/s/afp/20080611/wl_asia_afp/hongkongchinamacauenvironmentpollution

  • ||

    I thought the Bush administration held up drilling offshore of Florida as a favor to a similarly named governor of same state.

    Link (see 5/29/02)

  • ||

    Except to the extent that it does.

    Help me out, here. What harm will be done by drilling on less than 1% of ANWAR? What harm will be done by modern drilling practices off-shore? Examples, not speculation, please.

    All depends upon you concept of harm I guess.

    I can see immediate harm being done by the widespread prohibition of domestic hydrocarbon development. Harm to our economy, and harm to the world as money floods into the middle east. What harms do you "concept" from lifting the prohibtion that exceed these?

  • Jacob||

    Hey, when they're not talking about war, they almost sound lucid!

  • ||

    Oil rigs off the coast of Biloxi are fine, just not off the coast of Pascagoula where Trent Lott could see them from his front porch.

  • ||

    Neu: There are all kinds of self-destruction, no?

    You do know that it is possible to reduce pollution while producing more energy from fossil fuels? For example, average miles driven in the U.S. increased while criterion air pollutants plummeted?

  • ||

    And don't forget the Kennedys fighting a wind farm, in Nantucket sound 8 miles away and over the horizon from the Kennedy "compound."

    Just remember, they always have your best interests at heart.

  • Neu Mejican||

    RC Dean,

    What harm will be done by drilling on less than 1% of ANWAR? What harm will be done by modern drilling practices off-shore? Examples, not speculation, please.

    Since I am restricted from speculation, it becomes difficult to talk about potential future harms.

    The harm for ANWAR: we lose 1% (plus some additional periphery) of a pristine wilderness. If you don't value wilderness, then you may not see that as harm. For off-shore drilling, it depends upon the specific location, of course.

    Harm to our economy, and harm to the world as money floods into the middle east.

    Could you be more specific?
    Things cost what they cost and costs help shape the future economy. The cost is partly determined by regulations. Regulations attempt to manifests the values of the society. If the society valued pristine wilderness, then the cost of maintaining that wilderness in that state is factored in. Finding ways to get something else you want in that context drives innovation.

    As for the middle east, I don't have a problem with non-Americans having wealth. Do you?

  • ||

    Oil rigs off the coast of Biloxi are fine, just not off the coast of Pascagoula where Trent Lott could see them from his front porch.

    I don't want to look out mah window at a bunch o' da'ned ugleh windmills! Put the da'ned things in New Jerseh!

  • Neu Mejican||

    Ron Bailey,

    You do know that it is possible to reduce pollution while producing more energy from fossil fuels? For example, average miles driven in the U.S. increased while criterion air pollutants plummeted?

    Yes, I know that, but your example is a bit of a red-herring don't ya think?

    And just for fun, which regulations helped drive that process? Ones that placed a value on clean air, perhaps?

    So if there is value in pristine wilderness (oceans count folks) then a regulation valuing that will drive the innovation to meet needs in other areas.

    In other words,

    Your point?

  • Guy Montag||

    So, let's recap:

    Think of the wilderness.

    Think of the whales.

    Think of the polar bears.

    We have more energy options than what the Congress wants you to believe.

  • robc||

    NM,

    We could see how much people truly value pristine wilderness if the government would sell off ANWR. If the Sierra Club outbids Exxon for the land, then it turns out they value it enough to prevent drilling.

    If you dont want the government selling it all off, they could just auction off the oil drilling rights. Once again, let those who "value" wilderness put their money where their values are.

  • ||

    While we are at bashing the Democrats, just remember that it was your esteemed leader Reagan that killed most of our efforts to get off of oil back in the early 80's. The French went nuclear the Brazilians went with ethanol and we went all oil all the time. Stop whining and moaning when you guys keep voting in the idiots who refuse to get us off of oil, hell you voted in (twice) two oil guys. Funny that the prices went through the roof with two oil guys running the show.

  • Neu Mejican||

    robc,

    If you dont want the government selling it all off, they could just auction off the oil drilling rights. Once again, let those who "value" wilderness put their money where their values are.

    c.f., Ted Turner?

    Or, we could keep electing people based on their willingness to enforce regulations protecting wilderness. Money is not the only expression of value in the world.

  • ||

    Your point?

    The point is that the absolute prevention of fossil fuel energy extraction is not the only way to mitigate the potential negative environmental effects of said extraction.

  • Paul||

    Again, can someone explain why high gas prices are a problem?

    Is this a trick question? From a market perspective, they aren't a problem, they simply are what they are. However, if one is concerned with the effects of high(er) gas prices, it's pretty easy to point out that high gas prices lead to higher prices for everything. It has been pointed out to me, repeatedly, by the usual "progressive" voices, that a meager rise in gas prices can mean the difference between our poorest citizens eating and not eating.

    Yes, ironies abound.

    Personally, I take a neutral view of higher gas prices because, like all market activities, I view them as a "market signal". Drive less, innovate. Conserve.

    That last part, the "conserve" part is what has many of our politicians... yes, even the liberal(!) ones highly concerned. Where I live, politicians are in a real conundrum. They've been pillorying the citizens to quit driving, get on the bus and save the environment!!! this "no more roads/more transit" mentality has been the #1 talking point by our political elite for 20 years.

    With the high gas prices, guess what happened? Citizens quit driving, got on the bus and saved the environment. The result: a dramatic drop in the amount of gas purchased. The result of that? A dramatic drop in gas-tax revenue, something our state relies on heavily. During press conferences, the feeling that the politicians want to tell people to get back off the bus and start driving to save the economy is...palpable. I find the ironies particularly delicious.

    Given the subsidies that the US government already gives to the industry to keep oil cheap, I think the real action they should be taking is to allow gas to cost what it costs within the context of protecting another important resource, wilderness.

    Agree completely. How this proceeds will ever remain a source of controversy.

  • Neu Mejican||

    The point is that the absolute prevention of fossil fuel energy extraction is not the only way to mitigate the potential negative environmental effects of said extraction.

    You seem not to have a coherent concept of "pristine wilderness" if you think that is more than a red-herring in the discussion. Air pollution at the tailpipe/smokestack is a different kind of harm...if you can find a way to get that oil and leave the wilderness pristine, then the clash of values goes away. Modern techniques are moving in that direction, but have a long, long, long, way to go before they would leave ANWAR untouched by fossil fuel extraction.

    Again, it depends upon your concept of harm.

  • ||

    NM,

    So you are saying we can keep electing people based on their willingness to require other people to continue to pay to protect things you value.

  • Guy Montag||

    Pristine wilderness that nobody sees needs to be kept prestine. Yes, it is all becoming so clear now.

  • AP||

    How do you have any credibility? Science adviser? Aren't you the same clown who wrote about the global warming "myth" just two years before every scientific institution in the world declared it a matter of consensus? Don't tell me, I'm guessing you think evolution is just a "theory" too, like that other creation hypothesis, you know, the one with the naked chick, the apple, and the talking snake.

  • Neu Mejican||

    Paul,

    I concur.

  • Neu Mejican||

    matth | June 12, 2008, 12:18pm | #
    NM,

    So you are saying we can keep electing people based on their willingness to require other people to continue to pay to protect things you we value.


    yes, with the appropriate pronoun, I am saying that.

  • Neu Mejican||

    Matth,

    Of course it should be "citizens" rather than "other people," but why quibble.

  • robc||

    NM.

    c.f., Ted Turner?

    Hes a fine example.

    Or, we could keep electing people based on their willingness to enforce regulations protecting wilderness.

    Except that is a violation of private property rights.

    Money is not the only expression of value in the world.

    Money is a measure of value, not an expression of it. If you truly value something, you should be willing to put up a fat stack o cash to protect it. If not, maybe you value your money more than it. Thats freedom.

  • Neu Mejican||

    Pristine wilderness that nobody sees needs to be kept prestine. Yes, it is all becoming so clear now.

    Yes, Guy, you are beginning to get your head around the concept of pristine wilderness. So when you talk about fuel exploration in that wilderness, you may begin to see that harm is intrinsic to the activity.

    If you don't value pristine wilderness, then you may not see that activity as harmful.

    Clash of values and all.

  • robc||

    NM,

    yes, with the appropriate pronoun, I am saying that.

    Be very careful with that pronoun usage. Im not a part of your we. And as such, the plural you that matth originally used is quite accurate.

  • robc||

    NM,

    You know what solves a clash of values? An auction. Lets see whose value wins.

  • ||

    NM,

    I don't think "we" is appropriate in the broad sense. You may value wilderness, and I certainly do. However I know a bunch of people that couldn't care less about wilderness, ANWAR, or polar bears. They might object to including them in the royal "we".

  • Neu Mejican||

    robc,

    Except that is a violation of private property rights.

    ANWAR is privately owned?
    Coastal waters are privately owned?

    Money is a measure of value, not an expression of it. If you truly value something, you should be willing to put up a fat stack o cash to protect it. If not, maybe you value your money more than it. Thats freedom.

    Money is not the only measure of value.

  • Neu Mejican||

    robc,

    Be very careful with that pronoun usage. Im not a part of your we. And as such, the plural you that matth originally used is quite accurate.

    You're not an American citizen?

    The path to the values of a nation is not a direct summation of the values of its individual citizens...it involves a process, which in our country is codified.

    You are part of the we, whether you want to be our not. Sorry.

  • ||

    I hate like hell to agree with a WSJ editorial, but, unfortunately, they're right as hell. Fortunately, I do have one quibble, aboout the executive order imposing a moratorium on off-shore drilling. WJS says that Republicans "made failing attempts to overcome" the EO when they ran Congress.

    But since they had majorities in both houses, why did they fail? And, even more to the point, why didn't/doesn't George just revoke it? He is the President, after all. I blame the American people (and I'm right).

  • Neu Mejican||

    robc,

    To clarify, you have freedom to disassociate yourself from the society in which you live. But when you have made a choice to be part of that society, the pronoun "we" which another member of that society uses to designate the larger group includes you.

  • ||

    Again, can someone explain why high gas prices are a problem?

    They're not for me (I live close to work), so you're right, they're not a problem at all.

    If you don't value pristine wilderness, then you may not see that activity as harmful.

    I have a feeling the people who currently value pristine wilderness will soon be getting run over by a freight train of people who used to value pristine wilderness but now place higher value on cheap gasoline (i.e. freedom to move about the world).

  • ||

    ...just remember that it was your esteemed leader Reagan that killed most of our efforts to get off of oil back in the early 80's. The French went nuclear

    That was 3 or 4 years after Three Mile Island and 'The China Syndrom'. Nuclear power wasn't very popular in the 80's.

  • robc||

    NM,

    Money is not the only measure of value.

    Then buy the oil drilling rights with wompom or cowrie shells or love then.

  • robc||

    NM,

    ANWAR is privately owned?
    Coastal waters are privately owned?


    No, but they could (should) be.

  • Neu Mejican||

    Matth,

    They might object to including them in the royal "we".

    They WILL object, c.f., robc, but that doesn't make their inclusion incorrect.

  • ||

    robc is part of the "we" that resides in the US. He is part of the "we" that hangs out on this blog.

    He is not part of a "we" that shares any given set of values without his consent. None of us are. Collective values do not exist. Collections of individuals with similar values do.

  • robc||

    NM

    You're not an American citizen?

    Last time I checked.

    The path to the values of a nation is not a direct summation of the values of its individual citizens...it involves a process, which in our country is codified.

    Bullshit. Nations dont have values. They are inanimate objects. Only people have values (maybe animals, but probably not).

    You are part of the we, whether you want to be our not. Sorry.

    Nope, Im not part of the we that values "pristine wilderness" over everything. I do value it, but it ranks below some other things. Sorry.

  • Neu Mejican||

    robc,

    ? Then buy the oil drilling rights with wompom or cowrie shells or love then.

    The US decided the best measure was a government regulations to make the area a wilderness refuge.

    Love is not a measure of value, it is an expression of that value.

    wompom or cowrie shells are money.

    You're just being silly.

  • robc||

    NM,

    They WILL object, c.f., robc, but that doesn't make their inclusion incorrect.

    The objection makes the inclusion incorrect. I am a part of nothing I choose not to be a part of.

  • Neu Mejican||

    Nope, Im not part of the we that values "pristine wilderness" over everything. I do value it, but it ranks below some other things. Sorry.

    Who said it ranked above all else?

  • robc||

    NM,

    In your post above, money was an expression of value. Love is now an expression of value. Therefore, you should be able to use them interchangeably (depending on exchange rate).

  • robc||

    NM,

    Who said it ranked above all else?

    Well, since we arent allowed to put in on the market to determine its rank....

  • Neu Mejican||

    The semantics of pronominal reference disagrees.

    We English speakers have no choice whether we are included as a proper referent. Our membership in the designated category does.

  • Neu Mejican||

    Well, since we arent allowed to put in on the market to determine its rank....

    The market is not the only mechanism for ranking values.

  • Neu Mejican||

    I'm out.

  • Nigel Watt||

    They WILL object, c.f., robc, but that doesn't make their inclusion incorrect.



    So using government to force people who that government declares to be under their jurisdiction doesn't seem like a problem to you?

    Fuck you.

  • robc||

    NM,

    Give me another then.

    I can think of a few things I would not sell for any price. I rank them in value above all else.

    Everything else I own has a price.

    The market (which includes all interchanges between individuals, money isnt necessary) is the only mechanism for ranking values. Anything that you are unwilling to put on the market has a value above everything you are.

  • Guy Montag||

    Well, for pristine wilderness to be truly pristine, there should be no pollutants in it. That should not be just "skin deep" as it were.

    ANWR is chock full of pollutants that have seeped into the underlying structure and need to be cleaned up.

    I propose that we force the energy companies to drill out those nasty hydrocarbon pollutants. Using an area of around 1% of the surface should be good enough if we force them to use there most advanced methods, rather than a bunch of old surplus junk.

    Sacraficing 1% of the surface area to restore 100% of the rest is a bargain.

  • Michael Ejercito||

    The oil-rich areas they want to leave untouched are accessible with minimal environmental disturbance, thanks to modern technology.


    Technology which is expensive.

  • ||

    shittin in ur woodz

    yellow bear wizz bloo oshin

    pristeen wildurniss

  • Michael Ejercito||


    Is this a trick question? From a market perspective, they aren't a problem, they simply are what they are. However, if one is concerned with the effects of high(er) gas prices, it's pretty easy to point out that high gas prices lead to higher prices for everything. It has been pointed out to me, repeatedly, by the usual "progressive" voices, that a meager rise in gas prices can mean the difference between our poorest citizens eating and not eating.


    What proportion of the cost of a pound of wheat or rice is due to fuel prices?

  • Guy Montag||

    Technology which is expensive.

    Yes! That is the stuff we should force the energy companies to use. The expensive stuff!

  • ||

    Again, can someone explain why high gas prices are a problem?

    People have to work extra hours to take the family out to the country for a picnic. People have less money to invest in their children's college funds.

    Sheesh. I expect better from you Neu.

  • ||

    The people that do not want to drill in ANWAR or our coastal areas never talk about the amount of land needed for wind and solar.They have alot of down time and can not be counted on at all times.As for Brazil,it is true they produce a lot of ethanol but they drill a lot also.They recently found a large pool of oil off their coast.We need a mix of fuels and all have some drawbacks.It can't be one or the other.

  • ||

    Modern techniques are moving in that direction, but have a long, long, long, way to go before they would leave ANWAR untouched by fossil fuel extraction.

    Over 99% of ANWAR would be untouched by fossil fuel extraction, even with current technology.

    NM, my gripe with the cost/benefit argument on this is that the costs of the current prohibitions are present and obvious, while the costs of lifting it are either (1) overstated (in the case of ANWAR, people like to pretend that over 99% of ANWAR won't be affected at all or (2) speculative/undefined (specifics on the risk and scope of harm from offshore drilling using current technology). The anti-developers can't seem to do better than "Booga booga! Wilderness! Oil spills!."

  • Michael Ejercito||

    People have less money to invest in their children's college funds.


    Depends on where they live.

    Many people living in Manhattan view gas prices with the same interest that they view caviar prices.

  • The Reverend Terence Fformby-S||

    The problem is that our elected officials are refusing to discuss

  • Neu Mejican||

    J sub D,

    People have to work extra hours to take the family out to the country for a picnic.

    People don't have to do this.

    People have less money to invest in their children's college funds.

    The same if true when the price of anything goes up...why is gas so special? Why aren't we worried about the price of caviar?

  • Neu Mejican||

    RC Dean,

    You are upset that those who want to protect 100% of ANWAR are using a slippery slope argument...sorta like Bush supporters were upset with those who oppose small changes in the power of government saying that a 1% decline in freedoms is no big deal when 99% of your freedoms are preserved untouched.

    Does that cover it?

  • The Reverend Terence Fformby-S||

    .. Peak Oil .

    It is not in their interest to tell voters that Peak Oil is here. It is in their interest to tell voters about the greedy bogeymen standing in the way of cheap gas.

    (Sorry, I forgot to close the tags.)

  • Neu Mejican||

    robc | June 12, 2008, 12:46pm | #
    NM,

    Give me another then.


    Government regulation.

  • Neu Mejican||

    Nigel Watt,

    You misinterpreted what I said.

    But send me a picture and we can talk about that potential tryst. I assume you like being a bottom?

  • robc||

    Um, all government regulation does is take things out of the market, which means that they are being valued above everything else (by tyrants).

  • Michael Ejercito||

    The same if true when the price of anything goes up...why is gas so special? Why aren't we worried about the price of caviar?


    Many people in Manhattan worry as much about the price of gas as they do about the price of caviar.

  • Neu Mejican||

    robc,

    Um, all government regulation does is take things out of the market, which means that they are being valued above everything else (by tyrants).

    No.
    You are wrong.
    I don't know why you think that once something is out of the market it is valued above all else, since there are many things out of the market that can be ranked in value.

    Friendship, love, honesty, punctuality, cleanliness, life, family, etc...

  • ||

    The market is not the only mechanism for ranking values.

    There's always Congress. They're rational, dispassionate, and completely immune to evil outside influences.

  • Neu Mejican||

    Michael Ejercito,

    I heard you.
    That's why I chose that example.

  • ||

    I'd rather not have $5/gal gasoline, and I think the U.S. should allow drilling off-shore and in Alaska.

    If I repeat myself 25 times, do I win? I want everyone to agree with me or quit arguing, cuz then I win.

    I'm out.

  • Michael Ejercito||

    I wonder how much of this price increase in gas is due to a speculative bubble.

    Part of the rise in real estate prices before 2007 was due to a speculative bubble, as speculators were buying homes with the intent of selling them at a higher price. Still, even with the decline in housing prices (which has the added benefit of providing relief to consumers), few people expect housing prices to fall below what they were in 2000.

  • robc||

    NM,

    "All else" obviously meant "all things priced in the market". Within the group of things you wouldnt sell, you could rank them, but that implies you would trade one for the other, which means they are still in the market. Otherwise, what is the purpose of ranking?

    If A has "more value" than B by whatever ranking system you are using to determine value, then if a choice came down to it, it means you would protect A by giving up B. Thats a market.

    I rank "pristine wilderness" above many things, but I would prefer you, or congress, not make that choice for me. It appears you dont rank it above "money", since you arent willing to give up money to protect it. However, it does appear your rank it above "freedom", since you are willing to give up yours to the state in order to protect it.

    I value freedom more than wilderness.

  • Kolohe||

    ...just remember that it was your esteemed leader Reagan that killed most of our efforts to get off of oil back in the early 80's. The French went nuclear

    Nuclear is great for making electricity and pushing submarines through the water. It is somewhat less useful for creating plastics and pushing cars over land.

    Oil is used for less than 2% of the power generation in the country. Now, if you said, we killed most of our efforts to get off of *coal* by not going nuclear, you have a point.

  • ||

    Neu Mejican-

    I'm disappointed in you; try harder.

    You open with that dog-eared "pristine wilderness" card as if you're in some kind of jokers-wild frathouse card game. When that does not have the desired effect, you appeal to the authority of the collective Hive Mind, as represented by the Congress of the United States.

    Grade: F

  • Kolohe||

    I wonder how much of this price increase in gas is due to a speculative bubble

    My SWAG-

    of $140 barrel of oil,

    $60 is due to the demand delta from beginning of the decade.

    $50 is dollar devaluation

    $30 is speculation.

    The demand hit that will transpire this summer will bring oil back to 90-100/barrel by Spring 2009

    We get dollar strengthening also, and it gets to 80-90.

  • ||

    Some of the Asian nations which subsidize consumer prices are finding it necessary to let prices rise at the pump.
    This will help dampen global demand, as well.

  • Neu Mejican||

    P Brooks,

    And you know that I live for your approval.

    The "pristine wilderness" card is just a mechanism to introduce the main conflict that is ignored by the WSJ editorial...this is a clash of values.

    If you take the position that pristine wilderness is not something to be valued, then their argument makes sense. Otherwise, you have to consider what is lost with increased internal exploration, and why those lost things are given value in our government policy.

    To take the position that the only value that matters is economic ignores the central issue, imho. See RC Dean's comments and my response above.

    As for the whole individualist vs. collectivist debate, that is largely meaningless semantics...play that game if you want, but you are part of a society that has placed a certain amount of value on wilderness. This valuation will impact the price of products that threaten that wilderness. Saying that only the price of those products matters ignores half of the situation.

  • ||

    Money is not the only measure of value.

    No, it's not. But I prefer money determining this question to government coercion doing so.

  • Neu Mejican||

    robc,


    Do I rank "pristine wilderness" above money?

    Well, as in all things, context matters, but for the sake of argument: am I willing to pony up money to preserve it?

    Yep, I do that. And I even make non-monetary choices that aim to preserve that value.

    Does the fact that someone who values the oil in ANWAR has more money than me mean that I value the wilderness less than they value the oil?

    I don't think so, it just means they have more market resources.

    Luckily the market is not the only mechanism by which I can protect things I value...luckily I can use non-market resources (my vote) to protect the things I value.

  • ||

    If you take the position that pristine wilderness is not something to be valued, then their argument makes sense.

    I will make thew argument that "pristine wilderness" means what you want it to mean. I can probably throw a dart at a map of Wyoming and chances are it will land on open territory. Pick any square mile of that area and you will have wilderness that could be considered "pristine."

    Now, the dart might land near Laramie or Sundance or Casper. None of that is pristine. It might land in Yellwostone. Some of that could be considered pristine, a good deal of it, not.

    My point is that there is a LOT of land out there, most of it undeveloped. I could probably find a square mile of land around Sundance that is pristine, right next to unpristine land. Does that devalue the level of it's "pristine-ness?" If yes, then what does pristine mean exactly?

    Arguing that if 1% of ANWR is developed and thereby "ruined" as a candidate for pristine smacks of the one drop rule to me. Yes, that area is not pristine any longer, but the other hundreds of thousands of square miles right next to it are.

    I'm not trying to link your values to that of racism, but the analogy came to mind while writing this. And your criteria, as stated, seems just as silly.

  • ||

    I do not believe the value of "pristine wilderness" is either infinite or unknowable. At some point, the value of the energy required to maintain modern civilization surpasses the value of leaving specific natural phenomena undisturbed.

    If you want to say that the costs (including the wilderness value) incurred in extraction still outweigh the returns, that is fine. Claiming the wilderness value to be infinite destroys your credibility.

    The demand curve is a theoretical aggregate; your mileage may vary.

  • fufuberry||

    NM:

    As of vote #33763 a majority of CNN poll takers don't agree with we you. Let's drill.

    http://money.cnn.com/POLLSERVER/results/40118.html

  • ||

    People have to work extra hours to take the family out to the country for a picnic.

    People don't have to do this.


    Why is it that your value of what is important should trump theirs?

    I would argue that having the opportunity to go for a picnic in the country adds real value to a famly's life, but I seriously doubt the caribou of ANWR add anything of any real value to yours, unless you happen to live there.

  • Neu Mejican||

    JW,

    I don't disagree regarding the difficulty of defining "pristine."

    As for the 1% rule, see my response to RC Dean.

    P Brooks,

    Claiming the wilderness value to be infinite destroys your credibility.

    Who made this claim?

    The claim that the policy makes is that the value of pristine wilderness is higher than the value of getting our energy needs met from internal sources of fossil fuel.

  • Neu Mejican||

    JW,

    I would argue that having the opportunity to go for a picnic in the country adds real value to a famly's life, but I seriously doubt the caribou of ANWR add anything of any real value to yours, unless you happen to live there.

    I would argue that the existence of pristine environments add real value to the lives of that hypothetical family, no matter where they live. Real value can be found in many abstracts in life.

  • Neu Mejican||

    fufuberry,

    I am pretty sure I don't want government policies determined by CNN polls.

  • ||

    As for the 1% rule, see my response to RC Dean.

    I read that and I found the comparison strained, to say the least.

    Freedoms and liberty have real, concrete value, especially in the context of "we," as you have been so kind to point out. I certainly don't want any of my freedoms to unduly curtail those of my neighbor's and vice-versa. I most certainly don't want my elected officials supressing mine to achieve their self-interested goals.

    Assigning the value of a certain level of "naturalness" to a wilderness area is, at best, abstract, and having value only to the beholder. Again, unless you happen to live there and are directly affected.

  • ||

    NM sez:

    You are upset that those who want to protect 100% of ANWAR are using a slippery slope argument...sorta like Bush supporters were upset with those who oppose small changes in the power of government saying that a 1% decline in freedoms is no big deal when 99% of your freedoms are preserved untouched.

    Not a good analogy, NM.

    With current technology, we don't need to drill on more than 1% of ANWAR in order to get the oil there. This isn't the camel's nose under the tent that you seem to imagine; there's no cabal plotting "1% this year, 10% next year, 100% the year after that." There is simply no reason to drill on more than 1%.

    Try again.

  • Neu Mejican||

    JW,

    Regarding your dart at a map story.

    I seem to remember a systematic assessment of how "pristine" the wilderness in the lower 48 was...(couldn't find the citation, sorry)

    There was no point on the map more than 20 miles from a road. If you define pristine wilderness as an environment whereby no signs of civilization exist within the typical range of the non-migrating inhabitants in that ecosystem, then very few places in the lower 48 are pristine. If you include the range of whales and migratory birds that spend much of their year in ANWAR, then ANWAR ain't even close to pristine.

    Not sure that is the best way to define pristine, however.

  • ||

    I would argue that the existence of pristine environments add real value to the lives of that hypothetical family, no matter where they live.

    Now THAT's a red-herring.

    I think the Taj-Mahal is a tremendous site and I would like to visit it some day. Were it to be destroyed by a natural disaster somehow, it would sadden me, but beyond that, it has no real value to me and does not affect my life in any meaningful way.

    I suspect the local residents, who probably base a good deal of their livlihood on its continued existance, would feel differently.

  • Neu Mejican||

    RC Dean,

    With current technology, we don't need to drill WIRETAP on more than 1% of ANWAR US CITIZENS in order to get the oil there THE TERRORISTS. This isn't the camel's nose under the tent that you seem to imagine; there's no cabal plotting "1% this year, 10% next year, 100% the year after that."

    ;^)

    There is simply no reason to drill on more than 1%.

    Trust us...



  • Neu Mejican||

    I think the Taj-Mahal is a tremendous site and I would like to visit it some day. Were it to be destroyed by a natural disaster somehow, it would sadden me,

    Your sadness a reduces your happiness.

    I think your happiness adds real value to your life...don't you?

  • ||

    I would argue that the existence of pristine environments add real value to the lives of that hypothetical family, no matter where they live. Real value can be found in many abstracts in life.

    This argument is eerily reminiscent of the claims made by the supporters of what is now "LucasOil Stadium" during the campaign to spend half a billion public dollars to build a facility for the private benefit of the Indianapolis Colts.

    It's an old standby when the actual math does not come out in your favor.

  • fufuberry||

    NM:

    As opposed to being determined by you? Since you were speaking for we. You are the most condescending person I have met in recent memory.

    Thank you again for using my life for your purposes. Slave owner.

  • Neu Mejican||

    P Brooks,

    Do you see a difference between a policy that actively spends tax dollars to create something for a private business and a policy that simply restricts a particular kind of economic activity in a particular location?

  • Neu Mejican||

    fufuberry,

    My old motto:

    I'm more smug than you are.

    Just to be clear, you think we should determine government policy based on CNN polls, right?

    A CNN-USA Today-Gallup poll found that 68 percent of those surveyed favored teaching creationism along with evolution in public schools; 40 percent favored dropping evolution altogether and teaching children only the biblical version of creation.

  • Neu Mejican||

    fufuberry,

    Just to be clear...you and I have equal voice in the decision. You vote, I vote, you lobby, I lobby, the results of the process give us the policy. I ain't making the decision...WE are participating in it.

  • ||

    Your sadness a reduces your happiness.

    I think your happiness adds real value to your life...don't you?


    It would sadden me momentarily, but I'm good after that. I mean...sheesh.

    However, it would force me to scratch it off my list and add another, so it will have a concrete impact on the pencil and eraser industry. ;-)

  • fufuberry||

    NM:

    The difference is that you are voting to give the government more power over my life and my individuality.

    I would never do that to you. Your welcome.

    I'll just pull my kid out of the government-run school that doesn't teach a curriculum I agree with and put them in a school of my choosing. Unless you would like to tell me where to send my kid to school too.

  • ||

    One could argue ["tax reductions are 'government spending'", anyone?] that there is a real financial cost to The Nation imbedded in the closure of oilfields on aesthetic grounds.

    I don't know how you envision the process, but I expect the Congress, as agents acting in my interest, to charge top fucking dollar for the privelege of raping the pristine wilderness. If they don't, they should be publicly hanged, from a short rope.

  • Geotpf||

    I'm a Democrat, and I believe this is one issue where the default Democratic position is dead wrong. We should be drilling everywhere and anywhere we can domestically, barring areas where there would be significant enviromental harm (and, no, "the offshore drilling platform is ugly" doesn't qualify).

  • Neu Mejican||

    fufuberry,

    The difference is that you are voting to give the government more power over my life and my individuality.

    Are you in oil exploration?

    Anyway, on this issue I am arguing that the status quo is fine...which is not the same as voting to give the government MORE power over your life.

    --Article 4, Section 3, Clause 2:
    The Congress shall have Power to dispose of and make all needful
    Rules and Regulations respecting the Territory or other Property
    belonging to the United States; and nothing in this Constitution shall be
    so construed as to Prejudice any Claims of the United States, or of any
    particular State.

    see also Pollard v. Hagan

  • ||

    Anyway, on this issue I am arguing that the status quo is fine...which is not the same as voting to give the government MORE power over your life.

    Actually, that does sound like the status quo. Unless you are saying the size of the gubmint has always been like this.

  • Neu Mejican||

    JW,

    Status quo = current situation.

    Voting to give the government more power would require that I vote to increase it above current levels, not above historical levels. I do not support policies which increase the scope of government power above current levels...and, in fact, support the reduction of government power in many areas. No matter my position on drilling in ANWAR or increase off-shore drilling.

    In the earlier post, fufuberry asserted that my lack of opposition to government power in one area was a vote to increase government power over his/her life. Just isn't the case.

  • Paul||

    Neu

    You are part of the we, whether you want to be our not. Sorry.

    Aren't you supposed to adopt your Regimental German accent when you say that?

    You are part of ze ve, vezer you vant to be or not.

    Sounds much, much better that way.

  • Neu Mejican||

    Paul,

    I assumed the accent would be applied automatically...just read everything I write as if I sound like Blixa Bargeld
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Blixa_Bargeld

    ;^)

    nice Godwin, btw...

  • ||

    "You are part of the we, whether you want to be our not. Sorry."

    At first, man was enslaved by the gods. But he broke their chains. Then he was enslaved by the kings. But he broke their chains. He was enslaved by his birth , by his kin, by his race. But he broke their chains. He declared to all his brothers that a man has rights which neither god nor king nor other men can take away from him, no matter what their number...

    But then he gave up all he had won, and fell lower than his savage beginning.

    What brought it to pass? What disaster took their reason away from men? What whip lashed them to their knees in shame and submission? The worship of the word "We."

  • ||

    Status quo = current situation.

    Yeah, Neu, thanks. Got that already. You, however, missed my point.

    Voting to give the government more power would require that I vote to increase it above current levels, not above historical levels.

    Unfortunately, you need to do nothing. State power levels will continue to concentrate should you decide to stay in bed for 4 elections.

    I do not support policies which increase the scope of government power above current levels...and, in fact, support the reduction of government power in many areas.

    Well, that's good, I suppose; you need to start somewhere. I, OTOH, would seek to reduce power and influence of the state everywhere. A (more) level playing field, if you will.

  • Paul||

    nice Godwin, btw...

    Booya. At least you smiled about it. Frankly, I'm not into the Nazi comparisons-- beyond the vague Simpsonesque ones.

    "Ve Chermans aren't all smiles undt sunshine, you know"

    BTW: looked at your link. "Now is ze time ven ve dance." comes to mind.

  • Gilbert Martin||

    "But since they had majorities in both houses, why did they fail?"

    They didn't have a fillibuster proof majority in the Senate and the Democrats blocked all sorts of things.

  • ||

    What about the reports -- that no Congressperson wants to acknowledge-- that the Chinese communists have been promised all of our unspoiled, mineral rich Federal lands as collateral for the megabillions we owe them. Otherwise, we are to assume that these silly commies are lending deadbeats like us, gobs of money (half a trillion!) without anything valuable offered as security for repayment.

    If this is mistaken, please tell me how I can get a loan ( just a million or so, I'm not greedy) without ANY collateral to back the loan. Just what are the terms of the loans for the money these generous communists give us. Dems and Repugs --- both parties stink on this issue.

  • Neu Mejican||

    Prometheus,

    Yes, we are all slaves to grammar.

    I find it interesting that people have confused my linguistic point with a political stance.

    The burden of the pedant...

  • ||

    "But it wouldn't hurt."

    Apart from giving people some false comfort, and reducing pressure on business to come up with more efficient technologies...

  • economist||

    Prometheus,
    Good reference. I always thought Anthem was one of Rand's better stories.

    Neu Mejican,
    All I've been able to glean from your posts is that
    1. You assume your values trump everyone else's values, property rights or personal liberty be damned. While I don't particularly like the idea of the government giving special drilling rights to favored companies, I would favor auctioning off or allowing competitive bidding for leases on all public land and seeing who is willing to give more value for resources. If you're going to tell people they can't use natural resources that you've done nothing yourself to secure ownership of, you sure as hell better offer some sort of compensation. You, however, seem to think that it's OK to say "You can't drill here" by legislative fiat.
    2. You are very good at weaseling out of stating your intended meaning when you realize its getting shouted down, such as your little argument over the "We". When you used it, of course, it was in the collectivist sense. But when someone brings it up, as in Prometheus's posting, you get defensive and claim it was just a "grammatical" thing.

  • economist||

    Don't Congressional Democrats want high gas prices? Wouldn't that punish Americans for our previous sins of affluence? And reduce our carbon footprint? Then again, that's probably why they're pushing a "solution"(windfall profits tax) that does nothing to address the problem and might even make it worse.

  • ||

    That oil is fungible, that it is the *total* that is produced worldwide rather than some marginal increase in production in one country that matters where prices are concerned--oh, forget it. Who wants to bother with such facts when we can blame everything on those damn commie environmentalists instead? *Reason* and Murdoch, sitting in a tree...And you like Ramirez cartoons, too (the model for Ward Sutton's "Kelly").

    The cliche is absolutely true: Most libertarians *are* right-wing Republicans who want to smoke dope. Yes, I know how hackneyed that is, and how much you hate hearing it. The reason it's been said so often--and the reason why you hate hearing it--is that it's true.

  • economist||

    ThisBlogSucks,
    So, what's your idea for dealing with energy problems. Plus, while you point out that oil would have to go on the world market and thus would have little impact on US economy, clean coal, nuclear, and other solutions rejected by the environmentalist left do not have the same problem associated with them. However, you are primarily concerned with coming up for an explanation for why a windfall-profits tax is such a good idea, so I disbelieve your accusation. Go back to DailyKos.

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