Plummeting stock and housing prices have triggered a painful recession, America’s worst job losses since 1945, and trillions in lost national wealth.
California is grappling with a $42-billion budget deficit. That’s more than the GDP of 112 countries. Maryland, Virginia, New York and other states likewise face billion-dollar budget shortfalls.
Congress and the White House want a $1-trillion “stimulus” for the banking, auto and steel industries, roads, bridges and ports, and “worthy” projects like water parks, parking garages and fitness centers.
They also support expanded renewable energy programs that will require tens of billions in subsidies and tax breaks – but provide intermittent electricity and deliver only 5-15% of their “rated capacity” during peak summer demand periods.
Many states have oil, gas, coal uranium and other energy and mineral resources, within their borders or off their coasts. Development would produce critically needed energy, reduce oil and gas imports, create millions of jobs, and generate trillions of dollars in lease bonus, rent, royalty and tax revenues, to help pay these bills.
California could nearly double its offshore oil production within 12-18 months, without installing a single new platform, by using directional drilling technology to bore more wells from existing platforms.
But environmentalists vigorously oppose development. Many states increasingly restrict exploration and production. The US Senate is considering bills that would place more energy prospects off limits. Many legislators want a permanent lock on billions of barrels of oil beneath Alaska’s North Slope and America’s Outer Continental Shelf – despite support for drilling by two-thirds of voters.
Onshore, the usual justification is speculative or exaggerated impacts on wildlife, habitats and groundwater from drilling and production. Offshore, the most common rationale is the infamous oil blowout that occurred forty years ago this month, off Santa Barbara.
That spill is the only one in over 45,000 US offshore wells where significant amounts of oil reached our coasts. And it never would have happened, if it weren’t for the incompetence of a few federal regulators and oil company officials.
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