J. R. Dunn has a terrific article over at American Thinker about how America’s energy policy has come about, literally, in response to accidents.
One thing consistently overlooked is that American energy policy is literally the result of a series of accidents. Each of these incidents set off a blizzard of activity intended to “rationalize” the energy industry and its practices, prevent further mishaps, increase government control, and not the least, usher in the new Green Age. Each thrust American energy policy deeper into stagnation.
The accidents Dunn lists are:
- The Santa Barbara Union Oil oil spill of 1969, caused by a USGS-approved deviation from standard procedure for piping in 1969. The aftereffect was to ban drilling for oil off the East and West coasts of the US.
- The Three Mile Island nuclear meltdown of 1979, which caused a minor release of radiation but nothing major since the safety systems at the plant functioned according to plan, happened a couple of weeks before The China Syndrome came out, and not a single nuclear plant has been built in the US since then.
- In 1986, technicians at Chernobyl nuclear plant in the Soviet Ukraine experimented with shutting off the plant safeguards and running the reactor at its most unstable point, at which point the roof blew off and dozens of people were killed. This was a major nuclear accident that irradiated a large area of the Ukraine.
- In 1989, the captain of Exxon Valdez was drunk when he piloted his supertanker onto a reef off the Alaska coast and dumped 11 million gallons of crude into the Arctic Ocean.
Rather than addressing the obvious management failures in these accidents and filling the gaps in official policy, the US legislature and judiciary have passed or reinterpreted statutes to cripple the US energy industry. The result is what we have today, with US gas at $4 and going to $5 and the US sending $700 billion to terror sponsoring states for their oil every year. Corn ethanol is a boondoggle that has doubled the price of raw food ingredients such as grains, meat, and dairy. This is a Potemkin kind of environmentalism, with the location of the mines shifted to another part of the world and inferior technology and work habits used to extract the oil from the Earth. CO2 production is higher from Iranian or Venezuelan operated mines than it would be from US mines. By shifting production from the US to other countries, the ManBearPig environmentalist movement has actually increased world-wide CO2 levels. (Not that CO2 levels drive global warming, they actually trail global warming trends by some number of years [if I recall correctly, 500 years], showing they are a result of global warming rather than a cause.)
Read the whole thing. It’s worth it.
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