This is obviously something that we’re all thinking about, given the BP disaster in the gulf.
Let me share a few thoughts on this catastrophe before I move into my energy policy.
First off, BP is obviously reprehensible for their part in this. That well should have been packed in mud (as they’re finally in the process of doing now), right from the beginning. They ignored safety measures in order to cut costs.
We saw a preview of how BP plans to fend off the law suits, during the congressional hearings a couple of weeks ago. BP, Transocean, and Haliburton all formed a circle jerk in which, they each pointed the finger at one of the other two companies and denied their own accountability. Personally, I believe that this was BP’s operation which makes them primarily liable for damages. I sincerely hope (although I have no faith it will go down this way), that a court makes that decision early on in the process. I have no issue with BP turning around and suing Transocean or Haliburton for any liability they feel may rest with the other companies due to negligence, but I believe that everyone that has been damaged by this disaster should be able to collect damages from BP.
Exxon fended off paying out a single dime for twenty years. Many of the fishermen that lost their livelihoods died during those twenty years. We need to make sure this doesn’t happen again.
Let me add that I am disgusted by how the Obama administration has handled this so far. They have relied entirely on BP to assess, inform, and remedy the situation. Are they stupid? It’s obvious to anyone watching this unfold, that there is no government agency that has the knowledge to deal with this. That part isn’t Obama’s fault. But as it has become increasingly more obvious that BP also lacks the knowledge on what to do here, government inspectors should have gone in to gather information and start working with BP on formulating a cleanup plan. The fact that BP has been the only entity gathering data during the crucial first thirty days, makes it even more difficult for those seeking damages to make their case. I find it reprehensible that the Obama administration’s complacency is adding misfortune of a lot of people whose lives have been destroyed over this.
On to my energy policy.
I wish we were in the position to stop all offshore drilling immediately, but we’re not so that’s not my short term position. If we had followed the trajectory set by Jimmy Carter on energy policy forty years ago, we may be there today. But Ronald Reagan (can we please refer to him as the fuck up that he was now?)took the solar panels off the roof of the white house and every president that has followed him has done little or nothing to move us out of oil dependency, so here we are. Since Jimmy Carter left office we’ve had seventeen oil spills where over 50,000 (or more) barrels were spilled, totaling well over 50 million barrels of oil spilled in the past thirty years.
My point is that we’re not getting better at this, and anyone that tells you we are is full of shit. Our seafood already has alarming levels of mercury and other scary shit in it. Fish in Alaska are still coming up with weird tumors on them, from a twenty one year old spill. We need to set a goal for getting off oil. This simply isn’t working anymore.
Plus, we have 2% of the world’s oil reserves. We consume 25% of the world’s total oil consumption. Does this sound like a situation we can drill baby drill out of?
So here’s my plan.
-We must allow offshore drilling to continue, but we need to impose and enforce stronger regulations on both drilling and transporting.
-We need to force oil companies to drill on the leases they currently hold. Here’s what most people don’t realize about “drill baby drill”; oil companies are exploring on the leases they have, and then they’re capping those wells until oil is worth more. That’s what they were doing with the Deepwater Horizon well. They were capping it. I understand that the rig in the gulf is an exploration rig, which is different than a drilling rig. But what the oil companies have been doing, is capping oil that they find indefinitely. Think about it, why would you sell oil at $100 a barrel if you knew that waiting ten years would increase the value of that oil by 300%? We need to give the oil companies a limited window of opportunity to drill on the leases they currently hold. We could also limit the number of offshore oil leases that a company can hold. This would force them to drill baby drill, instead of hoard baby hoard.
-We need to end all subsidies and tax breaks to oil companies. They don’t need it. When you’re making 45 billion dollars every twelve weeks, there’s no reason to panhandle the American people for help.
-We should take all of that money and channel it into developing green technologies like The Bloom Box. Can you imagine where we would be today if we had started 40 years ago? If we can start manufacturing green technology, we would get the added bonus of possibly reviving Detroit. We have manufacturing facilities that are going to crumble if we don’t start manufacturing something in them soon. I say, let’s incentivize R&D firms to manufacture in Detroit.
-We need to significantly raise cafe standards on automobiles every ten years. There’s no reason why we shouldn’t be driving cars that get a minimum of 60 mpg, especially when you consider the fact that a 1973 Honda Civic got 40 mpg.
That’s it, Bitchy’s plan to energy independence. We need to do what we do; innovate.
You’ll notice that I didn’t mention nuclear energy. There’s a reason for that. First off, we can’t build a nuclear power plant without the government guaranteeing the loan. Banks won’t lend to nuclear power plant developers. They’ve proven to be a bad risk, so the American people would be on the hook for paying to build a nuclear power plant. Once we get one built, insurance companies won’t insure them. So American taxpayers would be on the hook for any and all damages if something went wrong. And lastly, no one has come up with a permanent solution on what to do with the waste. France has made some progress on this. They’re reusing most of the waste. But it’s what they’re doing with what’s still left that concerns me. They’re basically encasing it in concrete and burying it. That concrete will break down over time, even if there were no nuclear materials in it. I’m going to go ahead and say that with nuclear waste in it, you’re going to have to dig up those concrete caskets to make sure they’re still sealed fairly often. So 100 years from now, France is going to be dealing with the nuclear waste they’re producing and the nuclear waste they’ve produced over the past 130 years.
I’d be willing to have a conversation about building and insuring a nuclear power plant after someone has worked out the waste issue, but not before then.