In the midst of the debt ceiling debacle (I refuse to call it a debate at this point) Senator Marco Rubio declared “ We don’t need new taxes, we need new taxpayers, people who are gainfully employed, making money, paying into the tax system.”
I majored in religion in college, not finance or economics so I am reasonably proud of myself when I can make the quantum leap that more taxpayers requires the creation of more jobs, and also requires lower prices for goods and services.
To steal a now hackneyed phrase “There’s an app for that.” Coincidentally it is right down the road from me. I mean literally right down the road. Its called shale oil and my county happens to be in possession of quite a bit of it.
When the discussion of energy options turns to shale oil, the Environmental Left predictably goes to “It uses too much precious water! It’s unproven technology!” And they invariably base that assumption on conclusions drawn by the Rand Corporation. In the 1980’s. And in the 1980’s, the conclusions drawn by the Rand Corporation regarding shale oil were fairly solid.
However (and I do feel somewhat embarrassed in having to point this out) this is not the 1980’s, it is the 21st Century. And one does the community at large a disservice by using the Ghosts of Data Past to justify shoddy policy.
If we accept that data from the 1980’s is automatically relevant to 2011, then it stands to reason that using data from the 1860’s; I and 10,000 of my closest friends should storm Atlanta to ensure that the Union remains intact and slavery is abolished.
My point is that what has been commonly accepted as gospel in the past can become useless in the present. Such is the case with shale oil.
Don’t get me wrong, I respect the folks at Rand. They are on top of their game and in the 1980’s their assessment of oil shale was spot on.
However, like the political landscape of America and like the practice of bloodletting, society has progressed since those concepts were a part of contemporary thought. And we know a bit more about oil shale than we did when I graduated high school. (That would be 1985 for those of your keeping score.)
For advancements in oil shale, we need look no further than the country of Estonia. And yes, I said Estonia.
You see as it turns out, Estonia happens to be in possession of oil shale. And while we have whittled away our time doing the environmental hokey pokey, dithering about where when how and why to develop resources all the while quaking in our boots over the fear that we would invoke the wrath of the Environmental Left, the country of Estonia got down to the business of making oil shale work.