Virginia Foxx, a Republican congresswoman from North Carolina asked a great question during a press conference held yesterday "Why are the Democrats anti-American energy?" Apparently being "anti-American energy" means not allowing oil companies carte blanche to open up the ANWR to oil and gas exploration or the outer continental shelf to deep sea oil exploration.
So why are the Democrats so "anti-American energy"?
- Perhaps the Democrats don't believe that existing American oil and gas fields are all in play, i.e., in production. EIA (Energy Information Administration) data shows that domestic production of oil has decreased from the 1980's to about half the level today. The main reason?-- the relative low cost of foreign produced crude oil.
- Perhaps the Democrats believe that American consumers may be ahead of Republican politicians in terms of what to do about energy use. Canada's Globe and Mail reports "the U.S. Department of Energy said yesterday that oil demand in that country recorded the biggest drop in 26 years in the first half of 2008, falling by an average of 800,000 barrels a day from the same period a year ago. For the world's biggest energy user, it was the steepest decline since consumption tumbled during a recession in the early 1980s.
The International Energy Agency (IEA), meanwhile, confirmed that the U.S. consumer is starting to shun travel in an effort to cut costs. The IEA now expects a combination of high crude prices and a slowing economy will lead to a 3.1-per-cent decline in U.S. oil demand this year followed by a 2-per-cent drop in 2009."
The Street reports "Last week's inventory report, released Wednesday, Aug. 6, estimated that oil consumption during the four-week period ending Aug. 1 fell 20.1 million barrels, or 2.6%, relative to the same period in 2007. Consumption for the week ending Aug. 1 was said to have dropped 4.1% year-on-year."
If these market lovin' Republicans stick to their belief in the marketplace, the cumulative effect should be that gas prices decrease as usage decreases.
- Perhaps the Democrats believe there is more than one kind of energy that can run cars and trucks and stimulate the economy in the long-run. And perhaps they believe that throwing open the flood gates to drill of fossil fuel is not in the long-term interest of the US as other technologies will be forced by the market to be brought online at a faster rate. Flex-fuel cars, hybrids, electric cars will come on the market as the pent up demand for fuel-efficient vehicles elevates.
- Perhaps the Democrats don't believe that BP, Exxon-Mobil and other oil companies will just sell the newly produced (and subsidized by us no less) "American" oil to only US consumers (unless the Republicans are now willing to sponsor a bill to nationalize oil companies?}. These multi-national companies are likely to sell "our oil" to China, India or any number of growing economies as to us.
- Perhaps the Democrats recognize that this is an opportunity to change energy policy direction in an effort to retrack our technology production, reduce global greenhouse gases and perhaps keep the planet a sustainable environment for humans to live in for a long time to come.
Perhaps a better question to ask is "Why are the Republicans so hell-bent on pushing for drilling in these sensitive areas, when the critical need is to find alternatives to existing fuels?"