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?