Nancy Pelosi chanted “Veto and Drill”, “Veto and Drill” in caricaturing the threatened presidential veto of windfall oil company taxes and desire to drill in ANWR and elsewhere. But all that might sound, in fact, good to most Americans. With the world’s largest reserves of coal, after creating the nuclear power industry ex nihilo, and with billions of oil still under our soil and waters, it makes no sense to produce less energy while blaming and taxing those who produce what we have, rather than drilling, digging, and saving, as we find ways to transition to the alternate energies. The problem is not just oil, but importing oil at $120 a barrel that is bankrupting us as much as it is enriching the wrong people.
This would seem to be an explosive campaign issue (if the candidates disagreed), especially if someone could offer a rough estimate of how many billion barrels of oil are in no-go areas, times them by $120 a barrel, and then compute how many trillions in national wealth we leave untouched while we pay our enemies for the commensurate alternative. I could accept the argument that it will take years to get the oil out of Alaska, the coasts, or other federal lands and therefore is not worth it (the classic argument for stasis), if we could be convinced it will not take even a greater amount of time to get solar and wind technology cheap and efficient enough to produce the bulk of our energy needs.
A postscript: I’m not sure that, ecologically speaking, drilling oil in about 2000 acres in the north of Alaska is all that different from dotting our mountain ridges and coasts (ask the Kennedys et al) with enormous windmills or creating vast acres of solar panels throughout our fragile deserts or covering our roofs with panels and pipes and assorted gadgetry.