Why Don’t We Have a Comprehensive Energy Policy in U.S.?
What strikes me about all the crisis stories of the last year or so – Gulf oil spill, uprisings in Middle East especially Gulf states, China’s increasing military and growing navy, and now Japan tsunami/ nuke meltdown – is that they’re all about energy and access to it. What countries have the energy, what kind, how stable are they, and can we get it.
Yet, with crisis after crisis over energy, we still don’t have a comprehensive energy policy in U.S. – neither party, no administration seems willing to tackle it in comprehensive way. We have Obama administration efforts at renewable like wind and solar, but we’re still held hostage to Middle East oil. We’ve now prohibited drilling in the Gulf and Alaska, won’t allow shale oil in Colorado, are against coal and haven’t built a new refinery in decades. People had just become interested again in nuclear as a clean alternative to fossil fuels, but after Japan’s its unlikely nuclear power will have a rebirth in the U.S.
Yet the U.S. could be energy independent and have energy flexibility since we have some of the world’s largest stores of natural gas, coal and shale oil. But we can’t seem to summon the political will to proceed with extracting it.
As a result, we’re in policy gridlock and continue on with the status quo, which makes us more and more hostage to energy from countries which aren’t our friends, and vulnerable to wild price swings when and problems happen in their unstable neighborhoods.
The alternative of moving the U.S. economy to windmills and solar panels and bicycles isn’t going to cut it. We need a diverse number of energy types, and we need to have guaranteed access and control of them, and ideally we need them at home.