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Democrats Don't Care About Saving the Planet

By Betsy Newmark

Charles Krauthammer does today what he does best - apply logic and intelligence to the prevarications and illogic of politicians. He takes on the Democrats' avowals that they are, as Nancy Pelosi vowed, trying to save the planet. As he points out, just because we limit exploration for American oil does not mean that we will be limiting the world consumption of oil. So, in order to protect American landscapes, the drilling shifts to areas of the world that won't be as concerned with protecting the environment.

A lovely sentiment. But has Pelosi actually thought through the moratorium's effects on the planet?

Consider: 25 years ago, nearly 60 percent of U.S. petroleum was produced domestically. Today it's 25 percent. From its peak in 1970, U.S. production has declined a staggering 47 percent. The world consumes 86 million barrels a day, the United States, roughly 20 million. We need the stuff to run our cars and planes and economy. Where does it come from?

Places such as Nigeria, where chronic corruption, environmental neglect and the resulting unrest and instability lead to pipeline explosions, oil spills and illegal siphoning by the poverty-stricken population -- which leads to more spills and explosions. Just this week, two Royal Dutch Shell pipelines had to be shut down because bombings by local militants were causing leaks into the ground.

Compare the Niger Delta to the Gulf of Mexico, where deep-sea U.S. oil rigs withstood Hurricanes Katrina and Rita without a single undersea well suffering a significant spill.

The United States has the highest technology to ensure the safest drilling. Today, directional drilling -- essentially drilling down, then sideways -- allows access to oil that in 1970 would have required a surface footprint more than three times as large. Additionally, the United States has one of the most extensive and least corrupt regulatory systems on the planet.

Does Pelosi imagine that with so much of America declared off-limits, the planet is less injured as drilling shifts to Kazakhstan and Venezuela and Equatorial Guinea? That Russia will be more environmentally scrupulous than we in drilling in its Arctic?

He goes on to point out the damage that we're doing with the congressionally mandated use of biofuels. We're driving up the prices of food which adversely affecting poor people around the world. And biofuels are not the panacea for the environment that supporters would like to contend.
The other panacea, yesterday's rage, is biofuels: We can't drill our way out of the crisis, it seems, but we can greenly grow our way out. By now, however, it is blindingly obvious even to Democrats that biofuels are a devastating force for environmental degradation. It has led to the rape of "lungs of the world" rain forests in Indonesia and Brazil as huge tracts have been destroyed to make room for palm oil and sugar plantations.

Here in the United States, one out of every three ears of corn is stuffed into a gas tank (by way of ethanol), causing not just food shortages abroad and high prices at home but intensive increases in farming, with all of the attendant environmental problems (soil erosion, insecticide pollution, water consumption, etc.).

Given the illogic of the Democrats arguments about how they're trying to save the planet while causing unintended consequences that harm the planet, we're left to wonder what is really going on. I think that they are so dependent on environmentalists who oppose any increase in America's oil exploration that they don't care about what happens elsewhere. They just don't want to give Republicans a victory on this since they've been opposing expanded drilling for so long. Instead they'll make accusations about speculators or oil companies somehow holding off on exploiting the leases they already have. These accusations make no economic sense, but they sound good in soundbites and give the Democrats something to say when people complain about oil prices. Their arguments are phony, but who cares if they can make a good soundbite in an election year?

Betsy blogs daily at Betsy's Page