I remember when gas prices were thirty cents a gallon. I also remember the long lines and gas rationing of the 1970’s, the talk back then of developing renewable energy resources, and watching in the years interim as we did nothing. The news outlets are starting to compare today’s gas price hikes and shortages with the one of that era. And well they should. Because what’s happening today in the gas industry really only shows one thing…we didn’t learn a thing from our last great gas scare. And it’s pretty evident that we’re not going to learn what we need to from this now.
Indeed, there’s evidence we’ve already slid back into our abyss of denial. The Chairman of the House Energy Committee, Rep Joe Barton, was on TV this morning singing the same old tune. He cried about how refineries can’t be quickly built (because of Environmental Protection Agency restrictions) and that we are losing capacity because of environmental restrictions along parts of our coasts where residents would instead like to have clean water and can’t drill more in Alaska, even though we’ve already opened ANWAR to drilling. In short, the Republicans intend to use this as an excuse to rape the environment even more than they already have. I would ask you not to listen to them. It’s a shortsighted policy that won’t do anything more than delay the inevitable. Because ladies and germs, the inevitable is coming.
The long-term answer to this problem is the same it was 30 years ago. We need to develop renewable, inexpensive, and environmentally friendly energy sources. This is not going to happen while the current oil and gas magnates are entrenched, and there they will remain until the American public feels enough pain to insist we develop the technologies we need. But until then, we will continue down this road, leaving ourselves economically vulnerable to any gas disruption in this country by nature or man (and you can be that all the publicity about the pipelines probably has not escaped the attention of Bin Laden and his lot), to the fireball politics of the Middle East, and the greenback politics of Washington, D.C.to believe