Three to One

This last Sunday, Senator Hatch had yet another opinion piece published attempting to define his energy policy. This comes a few weeks after his rebuttal to what I wrote. There is so much spinning going on in Hatch’s office these days, it should be considered an alternative energy source on its own.

I wrote a response to Senator Hatch’s first rebuttal, but the Tribune chose not to publish it. Here it is.

Mike Strizki is the future of energy production in the United States. His entire energy consumption, whether it be electricity for his big-screen TV, heat and cooling for his sizable house with swimming pool and hot-tub, or fuel for his car sources entirely from the sun that falls on his garage. What southern paradise does he live in to make this possible? Why New Jersey of course.

Mr. Strizki’s solar and hydrogen farm wasn’t cheap, at $500,000 it doesn’t make economic sense for the average American to do the same thing, but at one time, the “horseless carriage” was only for the affluent. Tax breaks, federal incentives, and loosing regulation on the oil industry has made it choice number one for transportation and energy in America. Although Senator Hatch claims he has sought a “balanced” energy policy, the attention he and congress has given oil over the past 30 years has dwarfed any viable alternative. Legislative lip-service to alternatives has made 50% of our trade deficit oil-based. Final proof is in the pudding we pour into our cars at $4.00 a gallon.

Hatch deemed President Carter’s proposed tariffs against imported oil as disastrous for the market, but who is to blame for the greatest exportation of wealth in American history? What motivation does congress have for continuing to enrich the greatest tyrannies on this planet? Robotic dinosaurs roaming artificial islands in Dubai are pretty neat, but wouldn’t you rather have excellent schools and advanced infrastructure right here at home?

Solar, wind, geothermal, and biofuels are treated as science fiction by their critics. Yet other countries are using these realities to become entirely self sufficient. America is unable to duplicate these feats because our leadership sees alternatives to oil in the same way whalers viewed the light-bulb. It is always a matter of hauling in more whales rather than utilizing better technologies.

Senator Hatch recently declared that cars, trains, and airplanes can only run on oil. Is he completely ignorant of electric, hybrid, biodiesel and natural-gas cars? Most European and Asian trains run on electricity because it is more efficient and powerful than diesel. Granted, airplane fuel alternatives are in the experimental stage, but if we offset gasoline consumption on the road and rails, wouldn’t there be plenty left over for flight?

Entrepreneurs have been trying to squeeze oil from shale for the past century. Although President Carter had oil shale on the table, it has never displayed any financial or environmental success. Other schemes for oil or coal expansion do nothing to make our air safer to breath, our food safer to eat, or cut our imports by any significant amount.

If Hatch’s favored nuclear power is to come into play again, let the investors buy water at market rates, pay for the clean-up of of the waste and the mining, insure against lawsuits, and hire their own private guard and air-force for plant protection. Nuclear energy companies can start by cleaning up the billion-dollar pile of uranium tailings left behind by industry in Moab.

Oil shale and nuclear power are considered the primary domestic alternatives to imported oil by Senator Hatch and our Republican delegation. Unfortunately, history shows these are failed alternatives.

Congressional efforts for clean, domestic, renewable energy are appreciated. Yet they need to be exponentially increased if they are ever going to match historic support for oil. True American freedom and independence exists in technologies that Mike Strizki is using today. A colossal lack of imagination is responsible for the failure of so-called “balanced” energy policy this country has had since 1976.

7 thoughts on “Three to One

  1. My THOMAS-fu isn’t good enough to find the actual D and R energy packages (“This bill has been included in both the Democratic and Republican energy tax-extender packages.”) to do a comparison, but his S.1617 is here:|/bss/d110query.html| (BTW, “Fuel Reduction using Electrons to End Dependence On the Mid-East (FREEDOM) Act of 2007?” How much of the tax payer’s money is his office wasting sitting around and cooking up convoluted acronyms?)

    Hatch just doesn’t get it. Tax breaks for renewable/alternate energy companies are good, but they’re not enough. There’s more tools in this toolbox than just hammers, but he insists that only hammers can be used, that the others tools are dangerous and bad for the market. He worships the invisible hand of the market too much to be effective at energy policy.

  2. You wrote, “A colossal lack of imagination is responsible for the failure of so-called “balanced” energy policy…”
    I thought, “A colossal load of campaign contributions…”

  3. Correct that shale oil is a no-go. It requires more energy to mine it than it can produce.

    Incorrect that nuclear power is a “failed alternative.”

    In the statement, proper credence is given to the development of technology in general, and the same philosophy should be applied in particular to the long-stagnant nuclear industry. Fast-breeding reactors will readily consume low-level nuclear waste, allowing the “billion dollar pile” in Moab (and others like it) to be recycled to the profit of energy companies. So yes, the nuclear companies will happily clean up such sites. First, politicians must green-light the development of modern nuclear energy. The hydrogen, ethanol, biodiesel, wind and solar are only partial solutions. They scratch the surface but leave us needing dangerous and dirty solutions like coal. Electricity is still needed in abundance if we are to be industrious as a society, use hybrid or electric vehicles, etc. Low level uranium is unlikely to be a big security risk. Security paranoia should be left to hawks who want big dollars for war to disguise the resource grab in oil rich countries, though this approach WILL NEVER benefit our economy. Mega-scale power production will! Bring our troops home. Invest in R & D. Evict the corrupt Bush administration. Let oil die it’s natural death by supplanting it; else, it will continue to be the #1 US economy suck.

  4. Excellent piece, Pete.

    I’ll disagree with post above on nuclear power. I’m not exactly an expert, but my husband spent nearly 20 years as an anti-nuke activist and has a pretty good handle on what the nuke industry is like. I myself have heard over and over again from nuclear-energy worshipers about how great the stuff is, but I don’t buy it. Politicians *have* green-lighted nuclear. Bush and cronies are crazy about it and talked about pushing it during Cheney’s controversial energy conference (big warning sign right there! It means someone(s) stands to make a lot of money by pushing nuclear over safe alternatives).

    I was pointed to good reading on this issue recently: “Carbon-Free and Nuclear-Free” by Arjun Makhijani, Ph.D. The book can be downloaded on the site for free.

  5. Pete, I thought your editorial was great. It was amazing to hear you say some of the same things I’ve been saying. America needs to wake up and put some competent people at the reigns.

    We need a government that can budget our taxes effectively… I agree with ‘swimming pool contractor’, we should be swimming in money.


    Science based thinkers making decisions on what power sources we choose to develop.

    Instead of our current and largely ignorant politicians on the marionettes strings of affluent people with ties to oil based companies.

    The power of the oil based companies is the reason the US is now caught with it’s pants down. Having spent years suppressing developments in alternative power, we are now paying the price… literally.

    And we’ll now take YEARS to catch up.

  6. Hey Pete,

    Your old SoCal raver buddy Greg checking in.

    I saw your “Recent Comments” sidebar and it’s clear the Spammers have found your older postings’ comments section.

    Time to Captcha-ize this Journal, perhaps.

    Keep railing against old farts like Hatch amigo 😉

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