Terry Paulson
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There’s no tea to dump in the Boston Harbor. Maybe, angry Americans will have to settle for dumping a bunch of irate letters on the desks of politicians who are refusing to act! I’d send out Paul Revere to rally the citizens, but he sold his horse for a Hummer and can’t afford to pay for the gas! This “Energy Independence Day” message is short and urgent—Drill Here, Drill Now, Go Nuclear, Incentivize Carbon-free Innovation!

There are many causes for our energy crisis: a weak dollar, the economic expansion in India, China and other developing countries, speculators, inadequate refineries, prohibitions on US drilling where oil reserves are plentiful, and, of course, political posturing in a pivotal election year. No matter what the causes, the energy crisis is impacting every citizen and devastating low-income Americans.

While politicians demand more oil from foreign suppliers, we sit on oil reserves that are the envy of the world. During the recent congressional inquiry, Democrats attacked American oil executives, but Shell CEO John Hoffmeister confronted his inquisitors: “I can promise to the American people because of the inaction of the United States Congress ever increasing prices unless demand goes down. And the $5.00 will look like a very low price in the years to come if we are prohibited from finding new reserves, new opportunities to increase supplies.”

Of course, no plan for energy independence will produce quick results, but President Bush is ready to support any balanced plan. Winston Churchill said: “I never worry about action, but only about inaction.” John McCain has called for action—Free states to allow off-shore exploration and drilling, use more clean-coal, speed processing and approval for more nuclear energy plants and refineries, and incentivize alternative energy innovation.

The Democrats keep saying drilling today will take ten years to make a difference. That’s what Democrats said twelve years ago. In 1996, President Clinton vetoed a bill that would have opened valuable domestic oil reserves. If not for that veto, recent estimates indicate that we’d have an additional one million barrels of oil per day for at least the last two years! It’s going to be 2018 anyway; let’s get started drilling now!

Environmentalists shout, “Catastrophe!” But Brazil, Britain, Norway and other countries drill safely offshore. When Hurricanes Katrina and Rita roared through the Gulf’s 3,000 offshore oil and gas platforms, no major spills were recorded. As for ANWR, herds of caribou seem to travel past the Alaskan pipeline without even a glance. France generates 80% of its energy needs through nuclear power and safely handles the waste; so can we!

Senator Barack Obama seems not overly concerned about $5 gas; it’s the price of changing our oil dependence! Obama has called for more taxes and more regulations! He wants a rerun of Jimmy Carter’s "windfall" profit taxes on our oil companies. According to the Congressional Research Service, Carter’s taxes increased the cost of gas and decreased domestic production by 3-6%. It didn’t work then and won’t work now.

Obama also wants to require auto manufacturers to produce 50 mpg vehicles. If auto companies had any way to produce millions of cars with that kind of mileage, they’d be flying off their lots! Auto companies are already scrambling to create what Obama wants to require! They don’t need more regulations; they need targeted incentives to produce cost-effective, carbon-free energy options that work!

Until all-electric or hydrogen-powered cars can be mass produced at a reasonable price, most low-income Americans will need gas. Democrats claim that added US oil production won’t significantly decrease the price at the pump, but it could help stabilize future gas prices until we can make gas-powered vehicles obsolete.

Surveys of Americans indicate overwhelming bi-partisan support for increased drilling balanced with investment in innovation. It’s time to pass a “No Excuses Energy Act” that supports outer-continental shelf exploration, drilling in ANWR, clean coal production, new refineries, wind and solar power, natural gas, new nuclear power plants and incentives for carbon-free innovation. Not only would we be making important steps towards more energy independence, we’d be creating good-paying American jobs instead of sending hundreds of billions of dollars overseas to prop up countries who often support our enemies. Get those letters, e-mails and calls headed to your favorite politician!

Freed to act, American ingenuity can work for energy independence faster than Democrats predict. John McCain has taken the lead for a balanced plan by moving to the front of the charge! He’s for good conservation and environmental stewardship, but he hopes to provide the adult supervision necessary to keep environmentalists from drifting towards anti-capitalism extremes. Support his plan. If gas prices continue to rise and the Democrats refuse to act, you can expect John McCain to ride this energy crisis into the White House.

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Terry Paulson

Terry Paulson, PhD is a psychologist, award-winning professional speaker, author of The Optimism Advantage: 50 Simple Truths to Transform Your Attitudes and Actions into Results, and long-time columnist for the Ventura County Star.

 
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