Louisiana residents have been hit hard. In his first Oval Office address, Obama refers to the aftermath of the recent explosion aboard the Deepwater Horizon offshore rig as “the worst environmental disaster America has ever faced.” Still, the “man-made disaster” that Washington bureaucrats have inflicted in its aftermath may prove more damaging to the economy.
At the end of his speech, Obama turned calamity into political opportunity:
“Now is the moment for this generation to embark on a national mission to unleash America’s innovation and seize control of our own destiny…”
Obama wants more spending and the passage of a sweeping cap- and- trade bill. The Washington Times claims this
“would represent the greatest expansion of state power in U.S. history. The government would directly regiment and control industry… [and effectively erect] a green nanny state based on central planning and bureaucratic corporatism…”
We already have unsuccessfully tried the move to greater energy independence with ethanol, says Charles Krauthammer. He also reminds us that Obama repeatedly cited Spain for its blossoming clean energy industry.
“Spain, now on the verge of bankruptcy, is pledged to reverse its disastrously bloated public spending, including radical cuts in subsidies to its uneconomical photovoltaic industry.”
The fact is that petroleum is very portable and energy dense. As of now, we have no renewables nearly as efficient as fossil fuels.
Still, Obama declared that we’re desperate:
“Part of the reason oil companies are drilling a mile beneath the surface of the ocean is because we’re running out of places to drill on land and in shallow water.”
More like running out of places the government will let us drill.
“Running out of places on land? What about the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge or the less- known National Petroleum Reserve- 23 million acres of Alaska’s North Slope, near the existing pipeline and designated nearly a century ago for petroleum development- that have been shut down by the federal government? Running out of shallow water sources? How about the Pacific Ocean, a not inconsiderable body of water, and its vast U.S. coastline? That’s been off- limits to new drilling for three decades. We haven’t run out of safer and more easily accessible sources of oil. We’ve been run off them by environmentalists. They prefer to dream green instead…”
If government would just get out of the way, the free market would guide us to a better energy future. As Hayek warned us, policy application of this magnitude fails because of the inherent limits of human knowledge.