I see six competing dynamics on the question of drill or not drill:
1. Environmentalists — They oppose every effort to drill, create nuclear power plants or improve on carbon emission power sources. This insures America’s dependence on foreign oil.
2. Congress — Members of Congress tend to be doctrinairre, have little business experience and beholden to pressure groups. Decisions are often made in an ideological (and informational) vaccuum.
3. Alternative Energy Sources — It’s well established that wind, geothermal and solar will never amount to more than 5% of America´s total energy requirement.
4. Dependency — America is in trouble. We are heavily dependent on foreign oil. We are paying more and more for gas and heating oil. And the prospects for an interruption of our carbon fix is a daily worry.
5. American capability — The U.S. could be free of its dependency if it shifted to natural gas – a relatively clean (or at least cleanER) energy source. America has a 150 years worth of natural gas reserves lying near the surface. As to oil – we have substantial reserves which go untapped.
6. The Future — We need to examine alternative energy sources and employ them when and where feasible. But wind and solar are not the answer (at least not in current configuration). Nuclear is a viable option so long as safety is assured. But for now, America is desperate. Most Americans believe in water and energy conservation, recycling, reducing (eliminating) pollution, reutilization of goods, and so on. With this positive base of consensus, it would seem logical to have constructive dialogue on the issues and consider compromise on moving forward.
But it’s a hot button topic where I see intractable behavior on the part of environmentalists who refuse under any circumstances to consider or even discuss the most logical, economic and least harmful options. And to me, this is where the problem comes in.