Why Are We The Only Nation That Purposely Avoids Energy Self-sufficiency?
American Enterprise, April, 2001 by Diana Furchtgott-Roth
With higher gasoline, home heating oil, and utility prices, the prospect of natural gas shortages on the horizon, and rolling electrical brownouts in California, the election of President George W. Bush, former oil driller, and Vice President Dick Cheney, former CEO of an energy company supplier, comes at a fortuitous moment. It says something about our country's priorities, however, that these two men's experience in the energy industry was more frequently derided than praised during the presidential campaign.
For although Americans are the world's biggest consumers of energy, we are the only nation that purposely avoids self-sufficiency in energy. Much of the public looks down on energy production as a dirty business best kept out of sight. We're ashamed of our magnificent drilling rigs and refineries, and think of coal and nuclear energy as darkly dangerous. Reflecting this public taste, the federal government has raised numerous roadblocks to the development of our energy resources--with the result that we are now perilously vulnerable to energy shortages.
Big Bubba Observation: Five years later and very little has changed. No new refineries, substantial areas off shore off limits, no new Alaskan oil drilling, no new nuclear power plants, and many many more onerous restrictions on energy production. Are we crazy? Did the oilmen, Bush and Cheney, fail us, or is it rather a failure of our national intellect to understand that our economy runs on oil, not magic?