Thursday, July 24, 2008

Sham Arguments Against US Energy Production

Peter Ferrara covers some of the seriously flawed thinking preventing the US from producing its own energy at the American Spectator. While France safely generates around 80% of its electrical power from nuclear power, the US only generates around 20% - and has not built a new nuclear power plant in almost 20 years due to regulatory delays and litigation brought forth by environmental groups. The last oil refinery built in the US was in 1976. The industry has reacted to an increasing regulatory and litigation burden by simply expanding the capacity of current plants, but this has been met with an ever increasing obstinance from pressure groups.

"BP is constructing a $3.8 billion expansion of its already existing Whiting refinery in that state. But the National Resources Defense Council (NRDC) has now brought suit against BP seeking an injunction against the expansion, and fines of $32,500 for each day construction has been under way. The NRDC is urging the court to adopt a new interpretation of state law that would require BP to get a new state permit first because with the expansion the refinery would supposedly discharge more "pollution" than the current state permit allows. If the NRDC has found a liberal enough judge, it may get its way, to the great detriment of the rest of us."

The there is the drilling for oil issue. It's argued in may take up to ten years for new wells to produce oil to market and effect current prices, but this argument is specious in the extreme. Simply by lifting the executive ban on offshore drilling, the spot price of oil fell almost 14%. Oil executives have also indicated new wells could begin production in as little as a year and a half to four years, and tapped wells off the West Coast could be in production in as little as a few months. All this potential increase in supply would have an effect on current prices IMMEDIATELY.

Another argument against Arctic production is that such oil may wind up in Japan or China rather than the US, but again such objections fall flat. There is a world market (and price) for oil, and if such Alaskan production winds up in foreign locales, it simply means it is more efficient and less costly to ship there rather than here, and frees up other supplies nearer home (such as Mexico or South America) for US consumption. Any additional supply of oil causes a decrease in the world price of oil.

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