The Looming Disaster in the Middle East


Right From the Start

This Will End Poorly – Anonymous

Enough Already. The naïve euphoria over the “popular uprising” in Egypt and other Middle Eastern nations has caused America’s mainstream media to enter a mental state reminiscent of a thirteen year old’s crush on Justin Bieber – unreasonable, unfathomable and unsustainable. The euphoria is fueled by like-minded simpletons in the State Department who, despite consistent failure, still believe that diplomacy will conquer the violent will of ruthless men.

Is the Middle East on a historical march to freedom and democracy? What, are you crazy? The most likely outcome of these “popular uprisings” is the replacement of brutal, autocratic despots with brutal, theocratic despots. It is possible that Egypt, solely because of its armed forces, might temporarily resist the wave of Islamic fundamentalism but even that will be of relatively short duration.

And here we sit with the 21st Century’s version of Neville Chamberlain and Jimmy Carter as our president. President Obama and his administration flip-flopped so many times during the eighteen days of street protests in Cairo that the lasting result within the international community is two-fold: first, never believe anything Obama says, and two, rest assured that if you are a friend or ally Obama with throw you under the bus first. That message has not been lost on Israel, which is acutely aware that in a crisis, America, under Obama, will turn its back quickly.

Despite warnings as far back as August of 2010 that high unemployment and food shortages were likely to ignite street riots in the Middle East and North Africa – with the most likely candidate being Egypt under the repressive and myopic rule of Hosni Mubarek – the Obama administration did nothing. And let’s be clear on what “nothing” means. It does not mean that we should have intervened economically or militarily – two wars in Islamic states are more than enough.

What it means is that neither the Obama administration, nor Congress, did anything with regard to minimizing the impact of the probable outcome of a regime change in Egypt or the other oil-producing despotic regimes in the Middle East – including Saudi Arabia. Three years ago amid crude prices topping $145 per gallon and pump prices topping $4.00 per gallon, the nation demanded energy independence – not wind farms, solar panels and electric cars – but energy independence in the form of domestic exploration and development of our oil, natural gas and coal reserves. The movement was popularized by the slogan “Drill Baby Drill” first used by then-Lt. Gov. Michael Steele at the Republican National Convention and echoed by Conservative populists such as Gov. Sarah Palin.

And yet today, what do we have? That’s right, NOTHING. Not one damn thing.

The Arctic National Wildlife Reserve (ANWR) – a mud flat where drilling would occur but a pristine forested wilderness when depicted by environmentalists and mainstream media – remains closed to exploration and development. The Gulf of Mexico remains closed to deep water drilling by American companies but wide open for Chinese, Russian and other foreign nations to drill without restrictions or oversight. The east and west coasts remain closed to exploration and development. Natural gas exploration and development remains curtailed due to lengthy permitting processes and subsequent environmental lawsuits. The same is true for coal mining, oil shale mining and tar sands development. (When Vice-President Joe Biden dismissed domestic fossil fuels as taking too long to develop he unwittingly described the regulatory process and not the actual drilling and development process.)

Meanwhile, state and federal governments are spending millions to subsidize the blight of the country side with massive wind farms while restricting construction of transmission facilities to move electrical energy from where it is created to where it is used. Still more millions are being spent on subsidizing electric cars. The Obama administrations first foray into this field was to grant $4500 to $5500 tax credits for electric vehicles which went almost exclusively to golf carts – golf carts so that rich, white men could cruise effortlessly around pristine private clubs. Not to be outdone, Government Motors (GM) has developed the Chevrolet Volt that was just named Car of the Year by Motor Trend. The Volt is a $17,000 Chevrolet Cruze that will be priced at $42,000 but subsidized by the government to the tune of $7500. It is a hybrid and has an electric car range of just 40 miles. (If GM has staked its future on the Volt, you can expect that it will be back in a couple of year for another multi-billion dollar bailout.)

This is insanity. The most likely consequence of the Middle East unrest is that oil production to the United States will be severely curtailed with the resulting destruction of our nascent recovering economy. Here we sit atop more oil, natural gas and coal than all of the Middle East combined and, in the name of trash fish, pointless micro-organisms, transient animals and political correctness, we refuse to develop our own resources so as to remain wholly dependent on the whim and caprice of a series of feudal potentates and religious fanatics.

Quite frankly, I really don’t care whether it will take two years or ten years to develop our fossil fuel resources. If we had started three years ago at the height of the fuel crises of 2008, we would be that much closer to energy independence. If we had started in 1977 when President Carter and the Democrat Congress created the Department of Energy instead of actually doing something about the first fuel crises, we would already be done.

But don’t hold your breath. This administration is about talking – not about doing. And the Kulongoski/Kitzhaber administrations are an echo of forty years of that failed policy.

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Posted by at 05:00 | Posted in Education, Energy, Natural Resources, President Obama | 386 Comments |Email This Post Email This Post |Print This Post Print This Post
  • Drillnow

    We need our own oil and we have it.
    Lame politicians are driving this country to ruin.
    Also, the uprisings are mainly caused by food price increases, which are DIRECTLY linked to us using food for the stupid ethanol in our stupid gas.
    Ignorant fools ALL!

    • David Appell

      Drillnow wrote:
      > We need our own oil and we have it.

      And your proof of this is what?

      US oil production peaked in 1971, just as Hubbert said it would. For good reason. It’s hardly like people just gave up. It’s that the remaining oil is too inaccessible to profitably pump, whether you look in the Arctic or offshore.

      Where is all this oil you think is available?

      • km
        • David Appell

          km wrote:
          > right here…

          You don’t understand. The link you provide says there is 3.8B barrels of undiscovered oil in S Dakota.

          Since the US uses 19 Mb/day, that would last us… just over six months. That means it is not a long-term oil problem, but only a band-aid.

          And why aren’t you asking, if this oil is so available, why haven’t oil companies drilled it already? Doesn’t that pique your interest?

          • km

            the point was we have oil and gas, but restrictions make it impossible to extract, and when the price is low its not economical to get it. The price of oil is very political and manipulated by oil companies, IMHO. Why should they drill if they can keep the price higher by not drilling? The sooner we let ourselves use the resources we have the sooner we will reduce our dependence on foreign sources. The BP disaster last summer is not a reason to abandon offshore drilling. As investigations showed, BP did not follow industry standards of operation. Personally I’d like to see us make greater strides toward converting to natural gas, and even go back to nuclear power. We have learned a lot and technology has vastly improved to make nuke power safe and affordable, IMO.

          • David Appell

            km wrote:
            > the point was we have oil and gas, but restrictions make it impossible
            > to extract,

            Yes, you’re right, we do have restrictions on extraction. Should we not? Should we drill anywhere and everywhere? Or should there be places that are protected from extraction scars? Is oil production our only goal, or should we allow at least a few places where wild species can still live? Should we pump out every last barrel of oil, or allow some for future generations?

        • David Appell

          km writes:

          This document begins: “Today many people take for granted that oil production has peaked….”

          Why do you think people think this? It’s because global oil production has been at a plateau for about 7 yrs now, while demand (esp from China) has been increasing. (Google oil production for yourself. Pay particular attention to the Oil Drum blog.)

          People are trying to produce oil. It just isn’t there. This is precisely why its price continually increases: in June 04 it was $37/b, and it is now $90/b, and the price has been increasingly steadily except for the 08 bubble, but that wasn’t a long-term correction and oil prices are now still on the same long-term trajectory they have been on for years.

          • km

            they take it for granted because its been “drilled” into their head, pun intended, for decades. yet the reserves are increasing. Yes demand is rapidly increasing, mainly thanks to China supplying the impetus for the biggest increase, don’t forget India. I do think we need to use alternative fuels, but wind is not the answer, too unreliable, and expensive to operate. Solar is a green popular idea, but still too expensive to implement broadly and the technology still needs to be improved to make it affordable. I still hope for a transition to natural gas, return to nukes, and further research into hydrogen as a source. It’s all very complicated and there are no easy answers, especially with so many special interests who benefit from the notion of scarcity, whether you are an oil company or greenie.

          • David Appell

            km wrote:
            > they take it for granted because its been “drilled” into their head, pun
            > intended, for decades. yet the reserves are increasing

            If reserves are increasing, why isn’t production?

          • David Appell

            km wrote:
            > they take it for granted because its been “drilled” into their head,
            > pun intended, for decades. yet the reserves are increasing

            In particular, you might not want to believe all the reserve numbers you hear. They are notoriously unreliable (and countries obviously have an interest in overestimating them). You might want to refer to the recent Wikileaks cable that shows Saudi Arabia suspect of a 40% overestimate….

          • km

            have you heard of alternative nuke power sources that are supposedly safer? such as thorium? what do you think? see one site…

          • David Appell

            I have certainly heard of alternative sources of nuclear power. I am all in favor of using nuclear power for the next 2-3 decades while we transition to sustainable sources of energy and while we figure out what to do with the long-term implications of nuclear waste. (On the latter, see the 2010 Scandinavian documentary “Into Eternity.” There are very important issues regarding nuclear fission as an energy source. Personally I’d plow much more money into research on fusion.)

          • David Appell

            Now, will you address the obvious problems with the document you referred to? Doesn’t it bother you that its purported oil supply is quite small in real terms? If so, why do you consider it a solution? Did you even calculate how long its purported supply would last?

          • km
    • David Appell

      Drillnow wrote:
      > Also, the uprisings are mainly caused by food price increases,
      > which are DIRECTLY linked to us using food for the stupid ethanol
      > in our stupid gas.

      How does a US decision about US corn in US fuel affect the rising food prices we are seeing globally?

      You’re wrong. It is a very complex situation. One reason is certainly the huge Russian heat wave of last summer, which about doubled global wheat prices….

      • km

        its not hard to find, just google “ethanol and world food prices”

  • noibn

    Speaking of Jimmy Neville Chamberlain Carter:

    Allah hu ackbar, folks!
    ~ Mahmoud Ahmadinejad and cosigner Sharia Law

  • Bob Clark

    Larry’s right. Bama’s policies and the Democrat party’s early 2000s filibusters against domestic oil drilling are going to spoil the longterm soup for the U.S economy. The U.S could drop the relative price of its oil within just a few short years. It’s called the Keystone XL pipeline out of Canada. Another 2 million barrels per day of neighbor friendly crude, and this pipeline would also pick up growing domestic oil production in west North Dakota and east Montana. While Europe’s Brent crude topped $100 per barrel recently, America’s West Texas crude bench mark was going for less than $90. Yet the Keystone XL pipeline is being held up because the Bama administration is trying to keep environmental lefties happy. Representative Waxman started the hold up last year. Think the Canadians won’t export this oil somewhere else? You’d be sadly mistakened. Then there’s ANWR. If the Democrats hadn’t have filibustered against ANWR in the early 2000s, we might have another million barrels per day of new production, making for more than a 50% increase in North American oil production from ANWR and Keystone XL. This would have significant affect in reducing America’s trade imbalances, and thereby strengthen the U.S dollar exchange rate.

    As for Egypt, the think tank I follow says the Egyptian military wanted Mubarak out, because Mubarak was trying to change the structure of government to a monarchy by annointing his son (a non military person) the next president. So, the Egyptian military is now in charge, and they probably want someone from the military ranks taking over. Yet Bama is out there declaring victory for democracy, most prematurely.
    Bama is most definitely a snake oil salesman, and sometimes the snake oil salesman does find an easy crowd. Right now the American public thinks Bama’s excessess have been countered with House GOP. But Bama’s train wreck of an administration is still very powerful, as the EPA, FCC and DHS have been unshackled. House GOP needs to push it to the limit by threatening government closure by defunding these rogue agencies if they don’t stop and desist in their overactivist policies.

  • Rupert in Springfield

    Sure would be nice to have all that oil that would have been coming on line soon had we actually started drilling back when gas was $4 a gallon under Bush.

    Back then we were told even if we did drill, the oil would be years out.

    That was years ago.

    When we will stop letting the Greenies line their pockets by playing us all for fools?

    • valley person

      Hello…reality check. We consume 25% of the world’s oil and have maybe 3% of the known reserves. And Egypt is a net oil importer in any case.

      And…we can’t control events in every other nation. The only way Mubarak could have held power would have been to have his army gun down his citizens. is that what you guys really want? Whatever happens there is up to Egyptians, not us. Same is true for Saudi Arabia. Get used to it and start supporting alternative, home grown energy development. Got wind? Got sun? Yes, we got both.

      • Steve Plunk

        Wind and solar cannot produce enough energy to meet even 10% of our needs. Look up Range Fuels and see what the alternative fuel industry is up too. No the solution is coal, oil, and gas.

        The great thing happening now is the oil industry looked within itself and came up with better drilling and extraction techniques to help fill the need. Domestic production is expected to rise 20% over the next few years and has the potential to cut imports by half. They did this without the help of the government. A government that all levels has chosen to ignore the needs of it’s citizens and economy regarding energy.

        The Green Industry preys upon the fears of housewives and the ignorant. They misinform and exaggerate habitually. The worst thing they do is harm the economic prosperity of future generations. Selfish, narcissistic, and manipulative describe them all very well.

        • valley person

          Wind and solar can meet 100% of our needs, and someday will because fossil fuels are by definition finite.

          Better drilling does not create more oil. It just squeezes out more of what is already there. I would not bet on domestic production increasing, and even if it did, by the 20% you say, that would hardly make a dent.

          The oil industry uses substantial tax credits as they deplete their wells. And much of their production is off federal lands or in federal waters. They are not doing this on their own, nor were they able to plug tehir leak in a reasonable time without government help.

          • Rupert in Springfield

            Hello – idiot check – Wind and solar cannot meet 100% of our needs. There is no where near the energy density in wind to fulfill our needs and it is an intermittent source with no good storage mechanism. Solar again has the storage problem.

            Look, you make money off the windmill scam and thats great. Please dont expect anyone to believe your hogwash however.

          • valley person

            You don’t need energy density, but you do need to cast a wide net to capture enough of the dispersed kinetic energy all around us. We do have storage technologies. First, there are these things called batteries. They have been around a while. A friend of mine lives far off the grid in southern Oregon in a solar powered hose that was built in the 1970s. He has 4 days worth of storage capacity, which has been enough for him for 30 plus years, and this with 30 year old technology. Second, there are electric cars, which I know you hate, but could store a lot of energy used later, and not just for the car. Third there is compressed air, already in use. Fourth there are flywheels, which as an engineer you should know something about. Fifth there is hydrogen. Sixth is pumped water, which later turns turbines. Seventh is coordinated wind or solar with hydro, which we have available right here in the Northwest. 8th is thermal storage, already in use commercially.

            Change is hard Rupert. But people are fortunately an adaptable, creative species. We rise to new challenges.

          • valley person

            Correction. My friend does not live in a solar powered h-o-s-e. He does live in a solar powered h-o-u-s-e.

      • Drillnow

        Why don’t you unhook from the grid and go wind and solar, then.

        • valley person

          Not enough wind where I live. Planning to solarize soon. Next question?

      • noibn

        Halloo valley person. Tell the forum here what you think the Muslim brotherhood vaunts to do us, you Daniel Pearl of left wing wisdom!

      • Rupert in Springfield

        >Hello…reality check. We consume 25% of the world’s oil and have maybe 3% of the known reserves. And Egypt is a net oil importer in any case.

        Hello – idiot check – instability in Egypt affect oil prices. Buy a globe.

        >And…we can’t control events in every other nation.

        Hello – idiot check – I said nothing about controlling events in other nations.

        >Got wind? Got sun? Yes, we got both.

        Hello – idiot check – We get virtually none of our electricity from oil, thus windmills and sun are irrelevant to my comments regarding oil which is used for cars.

        Got brain? Got Dean? No, the two cannot exist together.

        • valley person

          You know Rupert, every time you degenerate into this school yard name calling, you admit you don’t have much of an argument. A debate judge would deduct points and maybe show you the door.

          Yes, “instability” anywhere in the Mideast temporarily jacks up oil prices. The oil companies and sheiks love this. Its an argument for less oil dependency, not for continued dictatorships.

          Windmills and sun are not irrelevant to your comments at all. Cars can be powered by natural gas, which we have abundant domestic supplies of, or by batteries charged by wind or solar. But we waste the gas on electricity generation when we have other means. Thus electricity and transportation are linked, and excessive oil use remains a problem.

          And by the way, in Hawaii, which last time I checked is in the US, nearly all the electricity is generated by burning oil. Their solution? Wind and solar, which they have in abundance.

    • David Appell

      Rupert: US oil production peaked in 1971, just as Hubbert said it would. For good reason. It’s hardly like people just gave up on drilling for no good reason. It’s that the remaining oil is too inaccessible to profitably pump, whether you look in the Arctic or offshore.

      Where is all this oil you think is available?

      • Steve Plunk

        Ah, our reliable lefty troll comes a visitin’.

        Fracturing of existing wells has increased production, made previously unprofitable wells profitable, and increased recoverable reserve estimates. It is expected that US domestic production will increase by 20% in the next 5 to 10 years. It is also expected we can reduce imports by nearly 50%.

        But how do we know it’s true you ask? Occidental petroleum will invest over $6 billion in it’s existing California oil fields over the next 4 years to utilize the new drilling and extraction techniques. Putting their money where their mouth is proves a lot.

        Is fracturing safe you ask? The EPA said it was. They usually err on the side of the Greens rather than the productive class.

        The most interesting thing about all this is it will happen worldwide. Oil will be abundant for many years to come and ‘peak oil’ will always be just around the corner.

        Now go read and get educated. Your old ideas are hollow and worn out.

        • David Appell

          So fracturing is safe because the EPA says it is so. But yesterday, and tomorrow, the GOP will be working to put the EPA out of business. On which days are their findings trustable, and on which should they be dismissed.

          Maybe fracking is worth it. Maybe not. I really don’t know, and you don’t either. Seen “Gasland”? Seen the people who light their drinking water on fire after a drilling company settles on their land? Does that worry you? People on both sides are arguing about such depictions. THere is a lot of money at stake. How do you know which side is right without spending a half a year studying the issue in depth?

        • David Appell

          Steve Plunk wrote:
          > Oil will be abundant for many years to come and ‘peak oil’ will
          > always be just around the corner.

          You don’t seem to understand “Peak Oil.” It’s a question of both price and production. Both influence all of us…. Oil prices are up 15% in the last year. They are up over 50% in the last 6 yrs, despite the ’08 bubble…. How long do you think the western world can tolerate increases of 8-15% in its most dominant source of energy?

          • H2O = Oxygen

            How long do you think the western world can tolerate increases of 8-15% in its most dominant source of energy?
            Well, get ready for something new – low cost, profitable for even municipal investors and bondholders – something biodegradable – not float on water oil spills – something which seamlessly dovetails into the existing petroleum infrastructure. Something which is NOT a hydrogen hallucination. Something already approved by the EPA. Something right around the corner but you’ve been blind and haven’t noticed it yet.

        • David Appell

          Steve Plunk:
          > Ah, our reliable lefty troll comes a visitin’.

          I am not a “troll.” I am a intelligent person, just as I am sure you think you are, with decent questions to ask — important questions that matter. If you cannot address me decently then perhaps you should rethink why you find alternative opinions so threatening. Otherwise, if you are a respectful person you can address me, and others with whom you disagree, in a respectful manner.

          • Steve Plunk

            I must apologize for my moment of weakness. I should not have called you a troll. Name calling is inexcusable. In the future I’ll do my best not to call names no matter how high the temptation.

            It’s not that your opinions are threatening it’s just that they are so misleading and wrong. It takes time to counter with facts what you are saying. It’s tiring, it’s boring. You bring old environmental nonsense to this forum that has long been discredited. Statements like “the GOP will be working to put the EPA out of business” is pointless hyperbole that wastes everyone’s time. The GOP is looking to cut the budget of an inefficient, overly intrusive agency. The movie “Gasland” is propaganda and has nothing to do with fracking at depths of thousands of feet. Oil bubbles to the surface around the world and natural gas does as well. Natural occurrences like that are more likely in well drilling areas.

            See, I’ve already wasted time countering your misinformation. I’d get into your ‘peak oil’ nonsense but why waste the time. Most people see it as green propaganda already.

          • valley person

            It wasn’t a moment of weakness Steve. You have used the same description of me on too many occasions to count. But it will be interesting to see how good “your best” is in the future.

            Opinions can’t really be wrong, because they are just opinions. Facts or interpretation of facts can be wrong. And selective facts can be very misleading. Frankly, your problem in these arguments is you rarely bother to use any facts, and you easily dismiss those that counter your opinions.

            How does oil bubbling to the surface have anything to do with the environmental impacts of fracturing?

          • Steve Plunk

            I lose my temper with your antics more often than I would like. You skulk around looking for opportune times to inject unhelpful and misleading statements. I’ve used the term misdirection to describe your tactics and they still fit quite well.

            Oil bubbling to the surface (I can’t believe I have to take time to explain this) shows how common it is for oil and gas to contaminate well water without any intervention from man’s drilling. Fracturing has been deemed safe by the industry and the EPA so bringing up propaganda films is just an attempt by environmentalists to obstruct drilling and development. Facts.

            Now feel free to give us some facts.

          • valley person

            OK…since I’ve been “skulking around” I can give you some facts. The fact is that the EPA has not deemed Fracturing to be safe. A second fact is that they are just beginning a detailed study of the technique to determine what the environmental risks actually are.


            Unlike oil naturally bubbling to the surface, Fracturing is an entirely man-made process. I mean, bison crap in rivers, and that is natural, but it doesn’t mean that people crapping in rivers is not pollution Steve. Apologies if that is crass, but its an appropriate comparison.

            I need to skulk away now.

          • Steve Plunk

            The EPA has initiated a new study because of typical environmentalist pressure. They published a study in 2004 saying fracturing “poses little or no threat”. That’s the last conclusive word from the EPA. Your statement is false as are most of your statements. Skulk away.

          • valley person

            So you dismiss the fact they are just now studying the issue as a false statement even though I sent you the link that confirms the fact? Wow. Thanks for letting me know where things stand with you.

            And by the way, the current EPA position is that Fracturing using diesel requires a water pollution permit. They are in court with the industry over this. Apparently, whatever the Bush administration decided in 2004, its not the current position of EPA.

            I think you might consider skulking yourself.

          • Oregonnative

            Valley Person,
            I have read through all of the above and would like to comment on a few statements you made earlier, sorry I am late and I hope this is some enlightment.
            Solar Power or Photovoltatics: YOur friend having his home for many years on “Solar Power” is great for ten years plus is great. This person has taken on a commitment to be his own engineer to maintain this system. Why ? All components have a “Life Span”, to mention a few batteries and inverters, probly about ten years. Solar Panels might work longer but not forever. So the system has to be upgraded or equipment tnat makes it function at owners cost every decade. Divide all these cost into being natural and having a ” Green Home”, that is nice, but it cost more than being on the grid from our dams in the NW. I am glad he feels good, but he is paying more. Oh buy the way , there could be further cost in re-wiring new components by hiring a DC specilist, for code
            pourpose. When those batteries become no good after their life cycles are used up, the disposal is not quite the green that he thought. What do you think happens to them?
            If the goverment State or Federal did not subsidide him out of tax dollars, do you think he would of gone with solar on his home.
            I am glad your your green, but someone’s tax dollars is paying, for he feels good. Please do make me pay with my tax dollars ( subsisdy), to make you feel good. Solar does not work in the valley, % of output.
            WINDMILLS: One of my favorite subjects. Let us take a drive up the gorge. I have company that intalls these windmills ( I don’t but just a thought). Okay I am going to get a subsidy again for the goverment for my investment. Let us cut to the bottom line, after all subsities and etc. It still cost me 1 million dollars for each windmill. Now I am going to force the gov’t to force the local ultilities for the transmission lines. DID YOU NOTICE A INCREASE IN YOUR POWER BILL LATELY? So the ultilities are forced to hook these windmills up on their grids, by the goverment.
            WHAT ARE WE GETTING. A piece of equipment ( wind turbines) that produce about 3% of the power, highly subsidied by the state and gov’t ( mandated ) that cost a million dollars. NO, Valley person this will never provide 100% of the power needed.
            Oh buy the way what do you think turns those windmill towards the wind. Generators powered off the grid. It really cost more to run those generators, then the wind Turbine is producing. One million dollar piece of equipment that need replacing or components, every ten years. Do you really think that a single wind turbine produces $100,000.00 of electricity a year? Just a question.
            These Photovoltectic & Wind Turbines people are layghing at us all the way to the bank, and I personally know a lot of people in this industry.
            If you feel ” Valley Person” that this is the way to go…Invest every dime you have in any of these companies ” every dime”, and watch your rate of return. Once there is no more goverment monies involved, see what happens. Remember you believe, so step up to the plate and invest and invest.

          • David Appell

            Oregonnative: How much do you think the US govt spends subsidizing fossil fuels?

          • valley person

            The friend I mentioned lives in a remote area far from the grid, so he does not have the option of the cheaper, federally subsidized hydropower most of the rest of us use. Yes, I’m sure his system has a life cycle cost, including replacing batteries at some point. And yes, batteries with lead are problematic to dispose of properly. But they can largely be recycled and reused.

            My friends system was built in the 1970s. I’m not sure if there were any taxpayer subsidies at that time.

            If you live in Oregon, and especially if you are within a public utility district like Springfield or Eugene or many other areas, you are getting taxpayer subsidized electricity. The Federal Government built the dams on the Columbia that produce 60-70% of our regional electricity. All taxpayers paid for this, but only residents of our region benefit.

            Yes, wind turbines (they are not mills since they don’t mill anything) are currently subsidized by tax credits. Yes, those subsidies have to be paid by someone, either ratepayer or taxpayer. But what is the alternative to providing more power? Coal? It is heavily subsidized by passing the cost of pollution to the rest of us. Natural gas? In my view using gas to produce electricity is a waste of an energy source that can be put to other, better uses like powering vehicles, especially trucks.

            Wind turbines are presently providing about 7% of Northwest electricity. And the potential is there for them to provide 20% or more, which is a significant amount of non polluting power. If we matched that with 20% solar, we would be at 100% electricity from renewable resources in the Northwest. Quite doable with present technology and quite affordable.

            A single turbine produces all the elctricity neded for about 500 homes. I’m not sure what this translates to in dollars.

            Yeah, I do feel its the way to go. i also feel government and ratepayer subsidies are justified until we put a price on carbon pollution.

        • David Appell

          Steve Plunk:
          > Ah, our reliable lefty troll comes a visitin’.

          I am not a “troll.” I am a intelligent person, just as I am sure you think you are, with decent questions to ask — important questions that matter. If you cannot address me decently then perhaps you should rethink why you find alternative opinions so threatening. Otherwise, if you are a respectful person you can address me, and others with whom you disagree, in a respectful manner.

      • Rupert in Springfield

        >Rupert: US oil production peaked in 1971, just as Hubbert said it would

        Um, no.

        Look, its a little hard to take you seriously on this topic when you make this kind of mistake.

        • David Appell

          >> Rupert: US oil production peaked in 1971, just as Hubbert said it would
          > Um, no.

          This is a well-known fact to all 8th-graders. You are wrong.

  • Joeblow

    Huh, freedom is really starting to be on the march in the Middle East and conservatives soil themselves. You sure the writers name is not really Larry Wuss?

  • Tom

    The Arctic National Wildlife Refuge will NEVER be developed for oil and gas. Sometime in the next two years, the 1002 Area on the coastal plain will be designated as permanent wilderness, or the refuge will designated a National Monument. The petrochemical industry will then just have get by with the hundreds of thousands of acres already leased for oil and gas in arctic Alaska. The Arctic refuge has never really interested Big Oil; they realize there are much easier targets elsewhere in Alaska. It’s just that the nut-case right wing (such as this blog) see it as a holy political grail instead of a truly accessible energy resource. Permanent protection for the Arctic Refuge is just another wedge issue for the Republican Party, and a dog-whistle issue for Tea Party types.

  • delphi_21

    …this is just another brainless rant from a radical pseudo-conservative who couldn’t care less about facts. True conservativism is about accepting the world as it really exists. Huss’ ANWR fetish (“Gee, if only we could drill more in the Gulf and Alaska we could stop caring about the Middle East…”) puts him squarely with the faith-based radicals that dominate talk radio and FOX News these days.

    Oh if we only had actual conservatives in this country! People who would make reality, harmony, and the empowering of individuals as priorities.

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