Monday, June 23, 2008

A Different View 

This editorial on the energy crisis summarizes how far many Americans have traveled on the matter of energy. Even 50 years ago the answer would have been to expand the search for oil. Now that the rest of the world is competing for crude, this editorial writer has concluded the opposite.

The writer is correct in assessing the President as a spokesperson for the oil industry, but it is more than that. Extraction industries grew with the expansion of the US and were responsible for much of the country's ability to expand. These were iron, coal, oil, copper and other minerals. Environmentalists never favored them because of what mining does to the earth. However, modern society would not be possible without mining. Shutting down oil exploration in the US guarantees that the society Americans enjoy today will change fundamentally.

Perhaps it is time for this to happen. The question is whether the rest of American society is of the same opinion. The debate over energy is just starting and will be a major theme for the next administration. There already are major PR efforts by the energy industry to influence public opinion. It would be dangerous not to listen to what the industry has to say. The energy industry is at the heart of society. If Americans choose to reduce energy, it will be good for the country in the long term and painful in the short term. Citizens need to understand that. So does the next president.

Sorry... total BS. No one is advocating Americans "reduce energy." The order of the day is "efficient and clean." High standard of living is NOT incompatible with that goal. But thanks to the spin/obfuscation of the energy industry the public has accepted this "either/or" premise. But it's a disservice to us all to frame it that way.

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