With the crisis in Japan and the Middle East in turmoil, many Americans have been taking a look at our nation’s energy policy only to find that we don’t have one. That is but one of the major problems our nation faces today.
Congress should pass legislation that would allow for the exploration and retrieval of oil and natural gas on all Federal lands. We need alternatives to carbon fuels, but until we develop one that works well and is not cost prohibitive, we have to stay with what we’ve got.
We already know from previous exploration that there is a vast amount of oil and especially natural gas in the United States. I believe that if given the urgency that it deserves, our nation could be producing from those fields before this decade is over. With luck, that would be soon enough and with even more luck, it would happen earlier than that timeframe. Of course there would have to be serious legislation to keep the EPA from slowing the process, but that could be possible with enough public support.
With the instability of Middle Eastern nations, with Venezuela’s Hugo Chavez’s dislike for the United States government and with the turmoil in Mexico, our supply of oil is in constant jeopardy. We should have acted on this problem when Jimmy Carter stated there was a problem, but we did not. We can no longer wait to protect ourselves from the potential of oil being cut off by one or more of those sources.
Aside from the national security issue that would be solved with this process, there would be hundreds of thousands of jobs created. These jobs would come from not just the oil companies that would be doing the drilling, but at the refineries and laying the necessary pipelines that would be needed to move the oil and natural gas to the locations where it is needed for processing. Jobs would be created in industries that manufacture the equipment to lay the pipelines and the pipelines themselves. That all trickles down to the stores those workers would be shopping at with their new salaries.
If the leaders were to think a little outside the box when creating this legislation, why not (since it would be a new source of revenue) take every licensing fee collected from the oil/natural gas industry for the right to explore and/or drill on Federal lands and all of the royalties that the government would normally collect from the oil produced and apply it directly to the Social Security Trust Fund! I suspect that could solve the problem of Social Security’s financial problems without raising taxes or the retirement age.
I would further require of each oil company that is granted the right to drill that they be required to make serious efforts in the areas of affordable alternative energy.
This wouldn’t solve all of our nation’s problems, but it would make us more secure as a nation, provide a lot of jobs for Americans and go a long way toward solving the problem with Social Security.
Of course there would need to be legislation preventing Congress from stealing the money that would be dedicated to Social Security. If I were a Republican in Congress, I would make my first priority to introduce legislation that would end the “borrowing” from the Social Security and Medicare Trust Funds. By doing so, I would not only show the people of America which party is serious about the issue. I know it would take a few years for our elected officials to wean themselves off that income, but it can and should be done.