Trying to be an active participant in our American democracy, I subscribe to newsletter updates from my Senators and Congressional Representative. All three of them are very conservative, more so than I am on most issues, so their newsletters often provide an opportunity for me to write them with an opposing viewpoint.
I do have to give credit to Representative Jerry Moran, though, who has started posting video responses to questions from his constituents. At least he gives clear statements about his position on issues. Representative Moran recently posted the above video, ostensibly in response to a question from a constituent, “What do we need to do to get President Obama to let us drill for oil and natural gas here in the U.S.? It would certainly decrease our dependence on foreign oil.”
I shared my thoughts with Representative Moran through the following email:
Dear Representative Moran:
Just finished watching your video about drilling for oil. I appreciate you providing this kind of clarity on your positions; please continue doing so. Regarding your answer, though, I have two concerns as a constituent and pragmatic American:
First, you describe this as a “battle we must win” against the Environmental Protection Agency and the Obama administration. I disagree that it is a “battle”. The EPA continues to play an important role in protecting our fresh air, our clean water, and our natural environment. Perhaps you noticed the Gulf of Mexico oil spill last year? Perhaps you have read the considerable scientific concern about fracking? Fossil fuels are dirty forms of energy and their extraction comes with costs to our environment. The EPA plays an important role in us considering the bigger-picture and longer-term costs, not just reacting to the price of gas at the pump.
My second concern is that you seem to be giving short shrift to non-fossil forms of energy. Sure, you mention them twice in your video but both mentions seem to be an afterthought. Any way you cut it, fossil fuels are a finite resource. We can’t drill, mine, or frack our way to national security and energy independence. We need to be encouraging more investment and research in renewable energies because that is ultimately going to be a necessity in the future. China is already surpassing us in green energy technologies. Surely you want the US to remain competitive?
More drilling off the coasts or up in Alaska, more digging up of the northern plains, more fracking of the rocks beneath Pennsylvania and Ohio – all of these are very short-term, costly, and dirty fixes to our problems. It is time for a smarter, longer-term, more sustainable approach to our energy needs.
I’m curious, what are your thoughts about the U.S. energy policy? What should we be doing differently in order to ensure energy security?
i’ll tell you right now that i agree with you in terms of green energy. and it disappointed me to see that the republicans haven’t been too concerned with making that a big priority. instead, shifting their biases towards the conventional sources (gas companies) that in turn, create their mainstream agenda – corporate welfare. i’d like to think that our government is doing this while prodding these companies silently to come up with fuel innovations using the financial and intellectual capital that they, in effect, are subsidized with.as for drilling here..i’m thinking it’s a good idea for the short term. but with the turmoil that’s sure to have a worsening effect on the oil markets, maybe it’s a good idea for us to shore up our SPR for the sake of diplomatic/economic insulation.
In the long term, everything on earth must be recyclable. This is because the Earth is basically a giant spaceship. Imagine what you would do if you were inside a spaceship completely isolated from Earth, that is, there will be no supplies coming from earth or any other source. In this case, the only way to survive is to recycle everything.
I support your views and always have tried to be heard by the political figures down here. At least Florida Power and Light has several large solar panels in stages from complete to just beginning. They are place in areas that do not hurt the environment. I look to wind power also. Arizona is an example. I think it is estimated that if 1/6th of the state that is not inhabited was to become wind resources the power generated could cover the entire West Coast and possibly the East also. There are alternatives but we refuse to move. It is like trying to get a sleeping giant awake and then to move!
I agree with you completely. We need to get serious about clean energy sources. Enough with the politics — the time is NOW.
I think all politicians talk with tongues in cheek. No one seems to be getting serious about the poor man’s fight, be it jobs, gasoline prices, food on the table and education.
Amen to your letter. We need to wean ourselves off fossil fuels – the sooner the better! I am a big supporter of the EPA. If there had been a strong and active EPA back in the 1960s there wouldn’t be the need for “Superfund” cleanups. It infuriates me when politics pulls the teeth of the EPA and we slide toward the horrors that China has in their food safety and environmental quality…
I’m thinking big… like “New Deal” big. I want to see the government come on board, supporting environmental technologies, producing new transportation systems (perhaps high speed electromagnetic rails) or enforcing a reduction and eventual phase out of fossil fuel sources. I want to see jobs created supporting the build up of such infrastructure and technology.