Sunday, September 14, 2008

Clean, Renewable Energy or Drill, Baby, Drill?

Drill, baby, drill? Yes, lots of people have been drilled by Big Oil; literally, employees at the US Department of the Interior and, figuratively, the American people these past eight years under the Bush administration! Big Oil receives billions of dollars in royalties for drilling, this is in addition to their subsidies and record profits, all taken from millions of hard-working American citizens struggling to keep a roof over their heads, food on their tables and clothes on their backs! Drill, baby, drill! Boy, have they ever drilled and found lots of oil money to grease their pockets, while keeping hard-earned money out of ours!

Angry? Do I sound angry? At this point, I'm a hunka burnin' love for clean, renewable energy! I attended the first National Clean Energy Summit and know that oil is not our energy saviour. It's going to take a combination of energy efficiency improvements, an increase in use of natural gas, extensive use of renewable solar, wind, and geothermal energy, as well as a huge investment to improve the speed, capacity and size of our nation's energy transmission power grid to help make the United States a clean energy-based and secure nation. Oil is NOT, and has never been, the solution to this problem!

The Merriam Webster Online Dictionary defines clean as a transitive verb "1 a: to make clean: as (1): to rid of dirt, impurities, or extraneous matter (2): to rid of corruption." Their definition of dirty, an adjective, is "1 a: not clean or pure b: likely to befoul or defile with dirt c: contaminated with infecting organisms d: containing impurities <dirty coal> 2 a: morally unclean or corrupt ... 7: having considerable fallout <dirty bombs>."

When I think of clean energy, I think of energy sources that do not have "dirty" byproducts, extraneous matter or corruption. Oil, as a form of clean energy, loses on all fronts of this definition, especially since members of the Bush Administration's Department of the Interior have been caught in corruption involving bribes, sex and drugs. The alleged oil companies involved are Shell, Chevron Corp., Hess Corp., and Gary-Williams Energy Corp. I'm sure this is only the tip of the iceberg involving this administration's eight years of being in bed with Big Oil. No wonder why our gasoline prices have risen steadily as they continue to cry "Drill, baby, drill!" and when experts across the board have proven American citizens won't see this new oil in their gas tank for seven to ten years, even if we drill today. Why don't we put this time, energy and money into clean, renewable energy, instead?

Why are we still talking about drilling for oil when we know the United States sits on only 3% of the world's oil? How we think drilling here and drilling now will change world oil prices is amazingly stupid - OPEC sets the prices and they have most of the oil! Drilling all three percent of the world's oil supply is also not enough oil to make us energy independent. Whatever happened to common sense? Drilling in ANWAR will only produce an extremely small amount of oil, relative to our demands, help the income of Palin's State of Alaska (of course she's for this - although she has reduced earmarks by 35% over the previous administration, her state still receives more earmarks per capita than does any other) in the near future and forever pollute a pristine, protected, untouched wilderness. Drilling our limited offshore resources will only risk polluting our beaches and the security of part of our national food supply: fish, mollusks, crustaceans, and kelp.

This "Drill, baby, drill!" mantra is yet another example of this administration's and McCain/Palin's fear-mongering, sabre-rattling use of artificially increased prices by a corrupt industry and allowed by a Big Oil president and his cronies, in order to create a false emergency need to expand their operations and further increase their record corporate profits, subsidies and royalties. The call to "Drill, baby, drill!" is simply a pathetic last-minute attempt for Big Oil and its cronies to get in their last licks before Bush is out (and in case McCain/Palin never get in) and their free ride on top of the American people is over. If you'd like to see which politicians take contributions from Big Oil, go to While there, you'll see which politicians have been paid the highest oil dollars to promote Big Oil's "Drill, Baby, Drill!" campaign, which is running concurrently with the US Presidential campaign.

This is also a "more of the same" attitude about oil that got us into this mess in the first place! No more oil! No offshore drilling! No drilling in ANWR! Say NO! We should be saying "No More Oil! No Way! Only Clean Energy!" If you don't believe me, do your research. Don't buy into all the false ads spouting disinformation that you see on television, which were paid for by the record oil profits, subsidies and royalties of the past eight years of corruption, money taken out of the pockets of American citizens (another way in which we're still being drilled).

As for nuclear or coal being clean forms of way! Nuclear is so clean that we have byproducts that must be guarded by our military so they don't fall into the hands of terrorists, who wish to use these byproducts to make dirty bombs. The water used to cool the towers becomes heavy, too. These byproducts don't have a normal decomposition time, their decomposition is measured in nuclear half-lives. Then when people think about where to store these byproducts, they absolutely don't want them in their own backyards. If nuclear energy is so clean, why doesn't anybody want the waste in their own backyard? Why are people worried that the nuclear and hazardous wastes in holding tanks are leaking at Hanford Nuclear Power Plant on 585 square miles along the Columbia River in southeastern Washington? Hanford is also near the Pacific Ocean and upstream of the cities of Kennewick, Pasco and Richland. Then, think about the safety of transporting this nuclear waste across the United States of America via truck, rail and barge. Have you ever heard of accidents on the road, rail or water? I'm writing this a couple of days after the nation's worst rail accident in 15 years took place in Chatsworth, CA, with 25 dead, 135 injured, 34 of them still critical. What if the freight train involved had been carrying nuclear waste?

Coal is not clean, either. Miners' deaths, gaping holes in the earth, waste pools, polluted water from cooling the processing machinery that will kill freshwater ecosystems, mountain topping (this is cutting off the tops of beautiful mountains, with the resultant erosion, landslides, pollution of streams and rivers, and possible deaths of wildlife and human residents, and possible alteration of micro- and macro-climates), and byproducts that invade our lungs (causing allergies, asthma, and lung cancer), increase carbon dioxide emissions, thereby increasing global warming.

Notice I've mentioned water a few times, already. Fresh, potable water is less than 1% of all water found on earth. The United States has already been in a drought for years, now. We take for granted what many second- and third-world citizens have to walk for miles to get: life-giving, potable water with which they can cook and hydrate themselves. Many of these people, mostly women and children, actually risk their lives to get water, facing rape, torture and murder along their path to survival. Yet, here we are, wasting inordinate amounts of this precious resource to continue producing unclean, dirty energy.

Instead, we can say "YES!" to clean energy! We can continue to use and expand development of natural gas as an alternative source of power. We can use and continue development of solar and wind technology that already exists, yet has repeatedly been ignored in favor of oil. Instead of drilling for oil that would take 10 years to reach the pump, let's invest in solar and wind power, improve and extend our high-speed power transmission infrastructure, and use the Saudi Arabia of solar power - the Southwest USA - and the Saudi Arabia of wind energy - the Midwest USA - to power our own country. We can also expand our use of geothermal energy.

If we concentrate on truly clean energy, stop listening to corrupt, dirty energy companies who have had their day, and work together for a cleaner, brighter future with clean energy, we can make these changes! We can retool factories, retrofit our homes and cars to clean energy sources, grow green industries and jobs, improve our economy by going green, and recapture our national security by reducing our usage and dependence on foreign oil. If we get out of Iraq and stop subsidizing Big Oil, we can use this money, instead, to energize solar, geothermal and wind power and increase the energy transmission infrastructure in the United States. We can change our world into a more secure, cleaner place in which our children can grow and live healthier lives. We can do this!!!

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