by Susan Stamper Brown
As chaos blazes a destructive path across the Middle East, leaving in its wake depressed stock markets and inflated oil prices, and as snowmaggedon makes its march across America’s Midwest trampling any thought of global warming underfoot – call me crazy, but now seems the perfect time to renew the call once and for all to cut OPEC’s umbilical cord and use the natural resources in our own country.
Including President Obama, eight presidents have promised and failed to deliver a viable plan to wean America away from foreign oil consumption. The past seven presidents had excuses, but none had a plan – nor does President Obama. Fool American voters once, shame on us. Fool us twice, shame on you. But fool us eight times?
Heavy on green energy rhetoric but light on strategy, and common sense for that matter, the president’s goal to attain 80 percent clean energy by 2035 and 1 million electric cars on the road by 2015 is impossible without a sensible plan – nor will it do anything to help us now. In July 2008, Obama promised we would be independent from Mideast oil in ten years. With eight years to go, America has grown more dependent. According to Reuters, U.S. crude oil imports from Saudi Arabia increased by 32 percent in the 2009-2010 time span.
More troubling is America’s reliance on China to provide the raw minerals necessary to produce green/clean energy products including energy efficient light bulbs, electric motors, and wind turbines. According to a recent U.S. Department of Energy report, China mines approximately 96 percent to 99.8 percent of the world’s supply of the five key minerals vital to clean energy technology. But unfortunately, our “friends” don’t play well with others and are not in the habit of “spreading the wealth around” – outside their borders.
Until the current environmental regulations are lifted for mining rare minerals within the United States, the pursuit of clean energy to lessen our dependence on foreign oil will remain political rhetoric. In addition to remaining dependent on OPEC oil, we will be dependent on China’s raw mineral monopoly.
The president described green energy technology as America’s “Sputnik Moment” and promised renewable energy programs will renew our economy with jobs created. While statements like that make for great sound bites, they fall flat in the face of reality. Some clean energy manufacturers, drawn by cheap labor and Chinese government subsidies, have shifted their production and jobs – to China.
While wind power technology is growing exponentially worldwide, there is a glaring gap in energy production during seasonal periods of low winds – especially during winter months. During the recent cold snap in Great Britain, wind farms produced virtually no electricity. No matter how advanced their technology, wind turbines cannot produce electricity without wind.
The solution is simple.
Renewable energy cannot be the only egg in America’s basket. There is a place for environmentalism and conservation, but not at the expense of being beholden to rogue nations. It just makes common sense to be self-sufficient as a country by lifting drilling bans on oil, raw minerals and natural gas within our borders.
Abu Dhabi gets it and is converting to natural gas as a cleaner, cheaper alternative – and they are exporting the more expensive oil – to Americans who are waiting in line to purchase it with their freedom and independence.