So... that’s it from Senator John Barrasso when it comes to solving our energy woes: “We need it all.” Not one word from Barrasso about conservation of energy or energy efficiency when it comes to our excessive consumption.
We need it all.
If I didn’t know better, I’d guess the good senator weighs over 400 pounds. Rather than acknowledging he has a weight problem, his response is to simply say he needs more food to maintain is weight and perhaps even get bigger.
I was reminded of the shallow thinking that came from many of our top leaders following the attacks on September 11, 2001. Most outstanding were the words that came from former New York City major Rudy Giuliani when he told reporters during a news conference on September 12, 2001, “Go to restaurants, go shopping, do things, show that you’re not afraid.” Former President George W. Bush basically said the same thing several times too—including urging us to “...get down to Disney World.”
The promotion of consumerism—for whatever reason—seems to be the call to arms in this day and age when things aren’t going our way. Should oil prices soar even higher because it becomes harder to come by, I wonder if Barrasso will use the same approach as Giuliani and company in advising us to take a road trip.
In sorting out our ongoing energy conundrum, I would like to know whatever happen to the promotion of true conservatism? Rather than acknowledging that we will continue to use more energy than ever, when will one of our leaders call us out on the carpet and say, “You know son, it’s time we had a little talk about these 30-minute hot showers you take twice a day.” More importantly, if someone does blurt out the obvious, will we be humble and honest enough to acknowledge such a critique or will be become defensive while wearing patriotism on our sleeve as we’ve done so many times in the past when backed into a corner?
I was surprisingly encouraged today when listening in on President Obama’s press conference regarding the Gulf of Mexico oil spill. He indirectly eluded to Barrasso’s folly which tells me one thing—Obama gets it. Here are his comments (and off the cuff) regarding our precarious lifestyle when it comes to energy.
Now, let me make one broader point, though, about energy. The fact that oil companies now have to go a mile underwater and then drill another three miles below that in order to hit oil tells us something about the direction of the oil industry. Extraction is more expensive and it is going to be inherently more risky.
And so that’s part of the reason you never heard me say, “Drill, baby, drill” —because we can’t drill our way out of the problem. It may be part of the mix as a bridge to a transition to new technologies and new energy sources, but we should be pretty modest in understanding that the easily accessible oil has already been sucked up out of the ground.
And as we are moving forward, the technology gets more complicated, the oil sources are more remote, and that means that there’s probably going to end up being more risk. And we as a society are going to have to make some very serious determinations in terms of what risks are we willing to accept. And that’s part of what the commission I think is going to have to look at.
I will tell you, though, that understanding we need to grow—we’re going to be consuming oil for our industries and for how people live in this country, we’re going to have to start moving on this transition. And that’s why when I went to the Republican Caucus just this week, I said to them, let’s work together. You’ve got Lieberman and Kerry, who previously were working with Lindsey Graham—even though Lindsey is not on the bill right now—coming up with a framework that has the potential to get bipartisan support, and says, yes, we’re going to still need oil production, but you know what, we can see what’s out there on the horizon, and it’s a problem if we don't start changing how we operate.