Tuesday, July 08, 2008

Do nothing now!

The news on the radio this morning featured a spot about Jon Corzine, the Governor of New Jersey, holding some sort of press conference down the Shore with Sens Menendez and Lautenberg and Representative Pallone. This quote kind of stuck out at me (and forgive me if this isn't precise, as it was radio).

Gov Corzine: "The Bush-McCain team is on the prowl, looking for ways to increase our oil dependency... We stand here in solidarity to say no."

The above is, to me, completely bonkers.

"Bush-McCain team" - how often has Maverick butted heads with his own party in general, and the current administration in particular? How are they possibly a team now when W is leaving office for good in six months? But, hey - good strategy running against the guy you already lost to twice, and who is not running any more.

"is on the prowl" - OK, red meat for the partisans, but stupid nonetheless.

"looking for ways to increase our oil dependency" - OR, looking for ways to produce domestically what we currently buy dearly from foreign sources. Thus, reducing our dependency on others and our trade defecit and etc. etc.

"we stand in solidarity" - he makes it sound as if they're John Paul II, Lech Walesa, Ronald Reagan, and Margaret Thatcher, and he's telling Gorbachev to tear down the wall. You guys are talking about oil rigs 50 miles offshore, right?

The Star-Ledger story does not have this quote. It starts with Pallone, who has opposed offshore drilling for many a year. At least he has a principle at stake in this, though I think that he may be mistaken. For example, he says, "Every time we try something to create energy independence, we are fought tooth and nail by these oil guys." Strictly speaking, this is claptrap, because the moratorium has nothing to do with energy independence - rather, it has guaranteed the reverse, because the same cast of characters has opposed nuclear power pretty much my entire lifetime.

(By the way, got a letter in the mail the other afternoon, offering me beaucoup savings if I covered my roof in solar paneling - I can even sell the excess power back to JCP&L. Those darned oil guys!)

The story also has this bit, I think from Corzine, though the article makes it tricky to follow who's saying what: "We are really talking about something that is irrelevant to the overall dependency on oil." [oh, so it isn't a way to increase our dependency? It's irrelevant?] "What we need to do is (to) be moving to alternative energies and most importantly (to) conservation."

Agreed, but what do we do in the meantime? Do we light our homes exclusively with hand-cranked generators, candles, and a roaring fire? Buy horses for the hour commute? Build more nuke plants? (Eeeeeek!)

Corzine, again: "I can't think of an idea whose time is less appropriate than this one."

The appropriate time would have been fifteen years ago, so it would be making a difference now, right? Even less appropriate: waiting fifteen more years, or thirty, or when it's the only possible oil to be had. So what's wrong with doing it now even if it takes another fifteen years to see the benefits? Remember, these are the guys passing green legislation on the hopes that it will might hopefully make a difference (possibly) in the future, even if there's no noticeable effect now (or then).

"For New Jersey, where we have a $38 billion economy in tourism ... it makes absolutely no sense for us."

I almost didn't believe it when I read it. People reach the shore BY DRIVING. Jon Corzine wants to preserve the $38 billion tourism trade in New Jersey by NOT drilling the oil that could be the gas that future tourists use to get here. And what's worse is that he is full aware of this, considering the concurrent news that the state wants to sell the individual lanes of the New Jersey Turnpike to raise cash. (And how is a state with a $38 billion tourist trade somehow broke?) They wouldn't do that if people weren't using the (already tolled) highway. (The money will be used to expand the highway, because we need the capacity, because of all that driving that people aren't doing anymore because of expensive gas.)

The stated threat to New Jersey's beaches was the possibility of a tanker or rig accident. Fair enough - but you guys, again, cited the medical waste fiascos of the mid-80's as a precedent... an event that hurt for a little while, until New Jersey's ruined tourism trade pulled in $38 billion.

In other words - yes it's a risk, but we can clean it up and then people will be back.

Senator Lautenberg: "A plan to drill here is no plan at all. It's a handout, simply a handout to the oil companies," he said. "It's a terrible idea. And drilling will do nothing to cut today's gas prices."

I shouldn't pick on the guy, but I can't emphasize this strongly enough - this is exactly why I don't trust any of these guys. To them, it's a handout when a private enterprise risks enormous sums of their own money to gather a valuable resource, process it, and then sell it to people who need it. At heart he really does think that it all belongs to the state to dole out as it sees fit.

Drilling today won't result in $1.50 gas next Friday. Neither will anything else we do today. To say "no drilling" because it won't be an immediate panacea amounts to an admission that the politicians don't care if they won't be around to take credit for it.

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