Not Having A National Energy Policy Is Not Only Absurd, It Is A National Security Risk

 “Son, a fool with a plan can beat a genius with no plan any day.”

_ father of T. Boon Pickens

In yesterday’s post, we talked about how the conflict in Syria is evidence that the “Arab Spring” has evolved into a Muslim Sunni vs Muslim Shi’a war that is like to spread to rest of the Middle East and could go on for years, if not decades. Commenters were quick to raise the issue of Iran becoming a nuclear power. So, I ask you how hard is it to conceive of a day in the not too distant future when the flow of oil from the Middle East could be affected by the conflicts there?

The United States imports over a million barrels per day from the region (mostly from Saudi Arabia). It would clearly be a national security issue if that flow off oil were impaired or cut off. Every President since Jimmy Carter has given lip-service to the need for an Energy Policy. None has made a serious effort to develop such a policy. And, our current Green Energy Sultan, President Barack Hussein Obama, has done nothing but throw up road blocks to the development of our abundant oil and gas resources.

Via Real  Clear Politics, came across this article by T. Boon Pickens at Omaha.Com. Mr. Pickens doesn’t mention the potential threat to our energy requirements from the Middle East, but he does see the foolishness of not having a cogent energy policy for the United States:

We’ll soon learn the fate of the Keystone XL pipeline that has caused such concern in Nebraska and in the environmental community. If we kill Keystone, we will truly go down as the dumbest generation ever. (Emphasis added)

{…}

Right now, when it comes to America and our effort to achieve greater energy security, we’re a foolish nation without a plan.

Not surprisingly, Mr. Pickens has some thoughts on what America should be doing on the energy front. He has three suggestions, which I think are excellent. Let’s take them at a time.

Transportation

First, transportation. Transportation accounts for 70 percent of our oil use, and we need to replace OPEC oil/diesel with domestic natural gas in the heavy-duty truck and fleet sector. Our domestic natural gas reserves continue to expand, thanks to the domestic oil and gas industry’s success with horizontal drilling and fracking.

{…}

Natural gas is cheaper than diesel, it is cleaner and, because natural gas lines run through almost every city and town in the country, it is readily available almost everywhere.

About 50 percent of the oil we import is refined into diesel fuel, so it is a big target. Most over-the-road trucks run the same routes on a regular schedule, so the need for a refueling facility on every street corner, as we have for passenger cars, isn’t an issue.

Review Regulatory Policies

Next, let’s audit all the state and federal regulatory policies that impede the growth of domestic transportation fuels. Let’s use Nebraska as an example.

Nebraska is among a number of states that do not tax LNG properly. Alternative fuels contain different amounts of energy per gallon than gasoline and diesel. Therefore, a gasoline or diesel-gallon-equivalent tax based on energy, not volume, makes more sense. In Nebraska, LNG is taxed almost twice as much as diesel. This problem needs to be fixed immediately so truckers can utilize clean, domestic natural gas to transport goods.

Free Market Competition for Fuels

Finally, we need to quit burying our heads in the sand. Energy is not “free market.” OPEC is a cartel. More than 70 percent of the oil in the world is controlled by state-owned oil companies.

{…}

Let’s inject serious fuel competition into the mix. Free marketers will tell you they don’t want government picking winners and losers. By doing nothing, we’re choosing OPEC oil.

I’m for picking a winner — our domestic transportation fuel alternatives. In heavy-duty fleet applications, that’s natural gas. (Emphasis added)

His first and third suggestions sound an awful lot alike, but we won’t hold that against him. Mr. Pickens makes good sense, doesn’t he? It’s not rocket science. It’s just good ol’ common sense. Sadly, common sense is a commodity if very short supply in Washington, D.C.

Well, that’s what I’m thinking. What are your thoughts?

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14 thoughts on “Not Having A National Energy Policy Is Not Only Absurd, It Is A National Security Risk

  1. It is insane to rely on the Middle East for oil when the region grows more and more destabilized everyday and yet Obama refuses to take measures, like authorizing the Keystone pipeline, which would decrease our dependency on foreign oil.

  2. The current Administration’s eco-energy policy is foolhardy and assigns limits on national security capabilities, but he’s not the only culprit in this foolish game.

    Every person who was not asleep at the switch when paying gasoline and heating oil bills knows and knew at the time of his reelection that his policies were a danger to their own financial security.

    Anyone who has paid shipping charges has held the bill for increasing costs in their hands or been served the notice of such as they made online purchases.

    Everyone who has had to pay for products that involve the use of corn has noticed that those food products as well as corn itself has gone up in price and corn in particular because of a surge in genetically modified product has actually lost much of its flavor and sweetness as producers have been forced to respond to government demands.

    Anyone remotely following the government has seen a myriad of energy programs funded by massive energy subsidies fail leaving behind a wake of closed factories, lost jobs, and lighter wallets carried by all taxpayers.

    In other words, it is not just President Obama who has failed the nation if that is the judgment of his critics; it is the failure of all high information voters to bring their friends, neighbors and others to the point of awareness where they are able to make the connection rationally over and above their emotional leanings toward party politics or personal likes.

    Many of us blog and it is my hope that as blogs proliferate, most people looking for good information sources will turn toward from the pragmatic to the more thoughtful, rationally self-interested blogs to read, absorb, digest and make healthy choices going forward.

    I see this as one of those blogs which is why I subscribed and am now taking the time and using my energy to comment on. Thank you for the stimulation to engage in a deeper introspection that I get from reading the Boston Globe, Herald, Wall Street Journal and the New York Times.

  3. Pickens has been advocating fleet use of natural gas for a long time. I agree fully. In 1996 when Atlanta hosted the Olympic games, MARTA, Metropolitan Atlanta Rapid Transit Authority, converted all their buses to run on compressed natural gas. I am not sure of the current economic state of this move, but it was an environmental boon (no pun intended) to Atlantans. Now, if you happen to get behind a bus in city traffic, you don’t have to endure diesel fumes. There is no noticeable exhaust.

    We have had the technology for a generation and the economics are within reach for fleets of buses, trucks, and especially delivery vehicles to convert to natural gas, either compressed, or liquified (LNG). There would still be a substantial investment in natural gas refueling infrastructure, but it is workable.

    I have been pointing out for years that we don’t necessarily have to be totally independent of the world oil market. All that has to happen is for the petroleum supply/demand equation to be changed slightly, and those Arabs will be drinking the stuff. It looks like that might come to pass.

    Yes, we desperately need to develop our resources, but it’s OK for the Arabs to use theirs up, too. So, if we can get petroleum on the world market as good prices, the question becomes, “Why not?”

    As far as energy policy goes, we have done pretty well in the marketplace. Left alone, the petroleum industry can develop resources and infrastructure and it won’t cost tax payers anything, except as private customers. Maybe I am not realistic about this, but we need to encourage free markets, not embrace the suffocation of freedom and economics to more government regulation.

    1. “…we need to encourage free markets, not embrace the suffocation of freedom and economics to more government regulation.”

      Exactly, Bob. Tpromotion of coverting our transport to natural gas can and should be done by the private sector. It could be a real game changer, in my opinion.

  4. Better late to the conversation than never …

    Where does the Constitution authorize this “energy policy”? I know, I know … It’s been a century (at the very least) since anyone took that document seriously, but I like to pretend conservatives still consider it, theoretically anyway, when discussing policy.

    Of course the Constitution does not authorize “energy policy” (read economic fascism), nor should it. Maybe I’m not the smartest guy in the room, but for the life of me, I can’t think of one single instance of successful central planning. I can think of a whole lot of massive failures though. Hmmmm …

    A “plan” may sound good, but it can never work (see the economic calculation problem). Heck, see the 2008 banking collapse, ObamaCare, Iraq, et. al. Government really is the problem. Not a given policy, or a given politician, but government itself.

    1. I think, CL, that would be possible to have a national energy policy within the confines of the constitution. The pretext used in the post was that the situatin the Middle East could result in an interuption of the flow of oil from the region. The US receives over a million barrels per from the Saudis alone. It would be hard if not impossible for the federal government ot provide for the national defense if the the country was short one million barrels per day of oil. A national energy policy could also fit under the “general welfare” clause.

      A policy doesn’t have to mean central planning. An energy policy could mean getting government out of the way of the private sector.

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