We've been hearing a lot lately about the need to lessen the US dependence on Middle East Oil. There seems to be a broad consensus that this dependence forces the US to get entangled in messy conflicts in the Middle East that it would otherwise avoid (not sure this is a valid assumption but let's leave that alone for now). However, that seems to be where the consensus ends. Here is a brief presentation of some of the more often proposed options:
Option 1) Increase our imports from outside the Middle East. PRO: This would be a relatively cheap way out. Russia (a big potential oil exporter) and most African, Latin American and Asian producers are not in OPEC so increasing their role in the world oil market would tend to weaken OPEC and presumably lower the price of oil. We could impose many of the environmental costs of drilling on other countries. At the same time, US companies would likely be heavily involved in extracting, shipping and selling the stuff which would mean a tidy economic benefit for American business interests CON: We'd still be importing oil. Also, most of these non-Middle Eastern countries have many of the same problems with dictatorships, political instability, terrorist/rebel movements etc that make us worry about Middle East oil.
Option 2) Increase drilling in the US. PRO: We wouldn't be importing the oil anymore. The US would not have to depend on unstable, tin-pot dictatorships for its energy supply. This would mean more jobs and not all of them would be on the North Shore of Alaska. A lot of them would be in Southern states like Texas and Louisiana. CON: This is a short term solution at best. After we pump out all the oil in Alaska, the Gulf Coast or off shore from Santa Barbara, CA we'll be right back were we started only now we'll have ruined some beautiful parts of the country.
Option 3) Lower dependence on oil overall by shifting to renewable energy sources. PRO: This is the best, if not only, long term solution. CON: This is the most expensive solution in the short and medium term. Many of the alternative energy technologies are only in their initial stages of development and require a lot of investment to make them profitable and practical.
Anyone else have any comments?
Friday, May 28, 2004
Posted by Raised By Republicans at 1:48 PM