Congressman Rogers’ Energy Independence Plan

August 8, 2008

By pure coincidence, as I was replying to comments on Offshore Drilling:  Do We Need It?  How Much?, the mail man arrived with a flyer from my congressman, Mike Rogers, touting “Mike’s Energy Independence Plan.”  The stated objective of the plan is to achieve energy independence by July 5, 2015.  The following is a copy of the flyer.  (Click the image to view it more clearly.)

First of all, let’s give Congressman Rogers’ credit for recognizing that achieving energy independence should be a high priority.  There’s some good stuff here.  Congressman Rogers has also been strongly opposed to any immigration “reform” that smacks of amnesty. 

However, this plan falls woefully short of achieving energy independence (which he seems to define as eliminating our dependence on foreign oil) by 2015.  Even the draconian measures I proposed in the above-mentioned previous post would be lucky to achieve such a goal by 2050.  By comparison, Mike’s plan is extremely timid.  Overall, each point in the plan seems more designed to pander to Michigan voters than to make a serious attempt at breaking our dependence on foreign oil. 

Let’s analyze the plan.  We currently import about 13 million barrels of oil per day.  Since Mike’s plan contains no provision for reining in population growth, then we have to assume that the population will continue to grow at its current rate of about 1% per year.  By 2015, this will add 22 million more oil consumers, adding about one million barrels per day to our imports.

Mike proposes:

  1. Increase production of American energy.  This will add nothing by 2015 since all experts agree it would be at least ten years before new offshore oil fields or even oil fields in ANWAR could begin production.  And at best, their yield would be more like 1.5 million barrels per day, not 3 million, and that’s assuming that offshore fields on the east and west coasts as well as a field in ANWAR each yielded as much as the Gulf of Mexico.  (By the way, I’ll hold my nose and agree to drilling off-shore, but remain opposed to drilling in ANWAR (Arctic National Wildlife Refuge).  We’ve compromised away as much of the environment as we can afford. 
  2. Loan guarantees for green technology.  He’s assuming we can reduce oil consumption by 2 million barrels per day through improved automotive technology.  That’s about 10%.  Sounds reasonable.  Let’s give him that one.
  3. Research into tomorrow’s fuels.  We certainly need to do it, but it’s not as though no research is underway.  We’ve been researching nuclear fusion for decades (with little to show for it).  Fuel cell research is well advanced and may appear in cars in a few years but, guess what?  Guess where the hydrogen will come from.  Few people realize that it will be stripped from the carbon chains that make up oil and natural gas.  So it won’t do anything toward reducing oil consumption.  I’m afraid we can’t bank any oil reductions by 2015 from this step.  This is a step to appeal to the Michigan universities.
  4. Tax credits for the purchase of clean, new cars.  This would be taking credit again for step 2.  Sorry.  No additional oil reductions here.  Tax credits may help to get these cars on the road faster, but we’ve already taken credit for that.  Again, this is a step to appeal to Michigan auto-workers.
  5. Switch military jet fuel to run on coal-to-liquid.  Fine, but the oil reduction would be miniscule.  Too small to count.
  6. Intelligent Transportation Systems technology.  He seems to be saying we can find ways to make traffic flow more smoothly.  Highly doubtful.  With 22 million more Americans on the roads by 2015, traffic congestion can only get worse, not better.  No oil savings here.
  7. Promote wind, solar and nuclear energy.  Yes, we definitely need to do this but, since most electricity is generated by burning coal, it will do little to reduce oil consumption.  It will go a long way toward reducing our carbon emissions by eliminating the burning of coal, but won’t do much to stop the burning of oil. 

All told, there’s only about 2 million barrels per day of reductions here, compared to the 14 billion barrels per day that we’d otherwise be importing by 2015.  Nice try, Congressman, but much more is needed.  Even to achieve energy independence by 2050 we need dramatic action to:

  1. Eliminate illegal immigration and reduce legal immigration by 95%.
  2. Implement a population plan that will reduce the birth rate sufficiently to reduce the population by 0.5% per year.  We need to reduce our population to less than 250 million by 2050.
  3. Reduce the per capita consumption of oil by at least 3.6% per year.  This may mean forcing the cuts by rationing, forcing people to change their life styles.
  4. Increase domestic oil production with offshore drilling, as you’ve proposed. 

Again, I give Congressman Rogers credit but he clearly doesn’t have an appreciation of just how very difficult it will be to achieve energy independence with more drastic measures, including reducing our population. 

By the way, I’ve challenged him on the population issue and the response was predictable.  He sees the people of Michigan as a valuable resource in finding ways to solve our problems.  Whenever I hear this response (it’s the same response used by all pro-growth folks), I think my head will explode!  Perhaps only when every Michigander is telling him the same thing:  “We need to address overpopulation!”, will he realize that maybe his “resource” has already, in fact, come up with the solution!

We DO NOT Import $700+ Billion Worth of Oil!!!

July 30, 2008

This is starting to drive me nuts.  T. Boone Pickens, in his ad about our dependence on foreign oil, included a statement that we are sending over $700 billion to foreign countries every year.  That’s true, but IT’S NOT ALL FOR OIL!!!  Less than half is for oil.  The rest represents our trade deficit in manufactured goods. 

Now I’m hearing this repeated everywhere.  During a campaign stop today, even McCain repeated this misunderstanding – that we’re sending $700 billion to foreign oil producers, “much of which can end up in the hands of terrorists,” he said.  Unbelievable!  Even one of our presidential candidates doesn’t understand even the basics about our trade deficit.  He gets his economic information from ads on TV, and it’s not even accurate. 

Everyone, please, watch the Pickens ad carefully!  You’ll see that he doesn’t say that this money is spent on oil.  Is that any reason to be less concerned?  Actually, we should be much more concerned!  At least the deficit in oil doesn’t also include a loss of eight million manufacturing jobs! 

Our trade deficit is, by far, the single greatest factor behind the destruction of America’s economy.  It merits enough attention for people to at least understand the very basics of the problem.

Rising Food Prices

February 12, 2008

Add this article to the litany of reasons for stabilizing our population.  Already the U.S. imports more food than it exports, a sad story considering that the U.S. was once known as the “bread basket to the world.”  And the acreage of land under cultivation is steadily shrinking as it is gobbled up for development.  Just two days ago I drove through a rural area east of Indianapolis and, in spite of the collapse of housing prices and tight credit, it’s amazing to see countless new subdivisions springing up in what used to be farm land. 

The march of urban sprawl is relentless.  When will our leaders wake up to what our immigration policies and population growth are doing to us?  With each passing day, the solutions to our problems – rising unemployment, dependence on foreign oil, global warming, rising food prices and declining food quality – are just that much further out of reach. 


Will The Energy Bill Move Us Toward Energy Independence?

December 19, 2007

No.  See the following article about the energy bill that was approved by Congress yesterday.

Don’t get me wrong.  This legislation is badly needed to stem the growth in our dependence on foreign oil.  But consider the following:  If our average fuel economy improves from 27.5 mpg to 35 mpg by 2020, then it will have improved by 27%.  So our use of oil will decline by 27%, right?  Wrong.  If our population continues to grow at its current rate, our population will grow by 14% by 2020.  By 2029, our population will have grown by over 27%.  So, nine years after this law takes effect, we will be even more dependent on foreign oil than we are now.  And we will have made no progress at all in reducing emissions. 

Improving energy efficiency is meaningless unless we also couple it with stabilizing our population.