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Energy back in the limelight

In his address to Congress Tuesday evening, President Obama pushed the subject of energy independence back into the spotlight.. So, you can bet that lots of federal dollars are about to be handed out to all sorts of energy-related projects and pilot programs.

To that end, I have a couple of suggestions for the President:

Dear Mr. President:

I applaud your announced focus on developing renewable energy sources and making America free from foreign oil. A couple of suggestions, if you will.

First, the idea of urging farmers to grow corn to make ethanol was a faux pas (translation: scam) of colossal proportion. It was passed with typical Congressional panic (remind you of any similar actions by Congress?) Moreover, the government’s mandate to continue to increase ethanol production to 36 million barrels annually should be repealed immediately. After all, ethanol hasn’t made us any more independent of OPEC oil. Moreover, it does little or nothing to reduce carbon emissions. But, it has screwed up (or has the capacity to) marine engines and fuel tanks, with the added benefit of producing food shortages for the world’s poorest people and higher prices for everyone!

 We now realize that the overwhelming majority of the products in our modern food supply, from beef to Coca-Cola, start with a single crop: corn. Last year, an estimated 35 percent of that crop was turned into fuel, not food. In 2009, that figure will go up more. In addition, as reported in Time magazine, the emphasis on biofuels has ironically created more greenhouse gasses, not less. Ethanol is not only responsible for higher food prices, it has caused food riots in Mexico, Pakistan, Haiti, Egypt and Ethiopia, among others. So, Mr. President, I’m sending you my new limited edition “Chuck Ethanol Now” button. I hope you’ll wear it when you call on Congress.

Second, we should immediately begin adopting some doable alternatives to ethanol. Here’s my suggestion: Drill! It’s a fact that we have enough crude to meet our needs in the United States already. Alaska, the Outer Continental Shelf, and the newly discovered Bakken Formation in North Dakota is an obvious place to start. Bakken is estimated to contain between 200 billion and 500 billion barrels of oil, which could increase America’s oil reserves by a factor of 10!

The Bakken Formation alone represents at least a 30-year supply of oil for us and would, in effect, free us from foreign producers. That would give America plenty of time to work out future energy technologies. Just as important, it would insulate us from OPEC oil price spikes which will surely come again, and keep gas prices at acceptable levels for all Americans.

And, here, Mr. President, is a real bonus: the safe extraction from these American oil fields will not only help solve our oil dependency but will pump a reported $18 trillion to the U.S. economy. That’s a real win-win!

Thank you, Mr. President.

Comments

16 comments on “Energy back in the limelight

  1. charles

    Look at Texas. No corp, no personal income taxes. Much of it thanks to royalties on OIL. California, which has plenty of oil to be drilled could be in same place if they would DRILL DRILL DRILL. !

  2. David Roberts

    Great! For a change, I agree with you about something – ethanol. You are absolutely correct. But the real win-win for our energy future are those energy sources presently called “alternative.” No carbon, dude. By the Pentagon’s own estimate, global warming is a greater threat to national security than terrorism. We need to get the carbon out.

    So like Obama said, we need to build windfarms, solar powerplants and anything else that we can do quickly, while researching the rest. Build the powerlines to carry this new energy and create a more flexible grid. For my part in this industry, I’m very interested in new battery technology. That’s the only thing that’s keeping us from building electric boats today. Plug-in power from non-carbon sources will eventually revitalize our industry.

  3. LARRY RODRIGUEZ

    IN BUSINESS WHEN YOU SCREW UP, YOU MAKE EVERY ATTEMPT TO “PULL THAT PLUG”, CAUSE YOU KNOW IF YOU DON’T CHANCES ARE IT WILL NOT ONLY COST YOU MONEY, BUT IN TODAY’S ENVIRONMENT, IT CAN RUIN YOU INTO CHAPTER 11!
    SO WHY DOES IT TAKE SO LONG FOR THE GOVERNMENT TO DO THE SAME? OBAMA PROMISED CHANGE, SO HE BETTER GET ON THE BALL SOON ABOUT ELIMINATING THE “CORN” FUEL IDEA FAST! FORGET ABOUT THE IMPACT ON BOATING, IT WAS A DUMB MISTAKE FOR ALL FROM THE BEGINNING, & IT STILL HASN’T GOTTEN OFF THAT LIST!
    HYBRID TECHNOLOGY, AS WELL AS DRILLING ARE THE QUICKEST ANSWERS FOR NOW. STEPPED UP RESEARCH ON ALTERNATIVE PROPULSION, NOT ONLY ON ALTERNATIVE FUEL, MAY PROVIDE SOME PRODUCTIVE RESULTS. HOWEVER THE AMERICAN PEOPLE NEED TO GET OFF THIS “POWER HUNGRY” TRIP WE’VE BEEN FOR QUITE SOME YEARS NOW, WITH HORRENDOUS RESULTS, INCLUDING THE WARMING ISSUE.
    IT WAS CRAZY WHEN I WALKED AROUND RECENT SHOW AND SAW A LARGE NUMBER OF BOATS WITH 4 AND 5 ENGINES, COME ON PEOPLE?

  4. Arch

    Anybody that thinks Obama will DRILL is Naive. Democrats and wacko environmental extremists have been blocking our efforts to drill for MANY YEARS. IF it wasn’t for them, we wouldn’t be in this situation right now. We can drill and be environmentally responsible. It’s done all the time here, and in Europe.
    If, by some miracle, we get the green light to drill, I’m sure the stipulation is that at least 50% of the oil workers will need to be African-American. Think I’m kidding, look at this recent video by Obama’s economic advisor. It’s a Fox News Neal Cavuto news clip, so it’s LEGIT and SAFE.
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nT1TkLgfinE&feature=related
    If you prefer CNN, here is a LOU DOBB’s clip
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=duQDVTczGbA&feature=related

    Absolutely unbelievable to me. And people wonder why the market is down over 20% since the election.

  5. Larry Keeter

    This ruukie duke bro is the greatest deceiver we’ve ever seen. He cares nothing industry and the capitalistic system we all knew. Get iti in your head that he is a devout Marxist who is out to control every aspect of our business and personal lives. You can cut the carbon crap and the alternative non-sense, but oil is the only way to go until demand within a free market can cost effectively produce it. I don’t understand why oil is constantly under assault and vilified?

    The only way we get our businesses and country back is to defeat these people

  6. Sunshine State

    The more the individual states face drilling the more they experience and learn;the challenges and impacts under the guise of “safe” & “environmentally friendly” are in fact often considerable …… ‘discussions’ such as this one lack any real insight. Look at the gains President Obama made in the interior west;many of our fellow land based sportsmen (the “extremists!!??) supported Obama due to concerns over harmful drilling proposals.Before we as as the boating industry give the collective middle finger to this conservation based user group cast by some as
    ‘extreme’ or ‘selfish’ we better realize that the bulk of the public could just as easily cast a negative eye to us.
    The well being of the industry is joined at the hip with an effective environmental ethic.
    We as an industry will never “defeat these people”.
    We need to direct our attention to lobbying;for example, effective energy policy should not focus on “boating” as was done in the 70′s with the weekend boating ban discussions.

  7. AnonymousBob

    Excellent comments Sunshine – very rational and pragmatic.

    The boating industry relies on conservationists to ensure our fish populations remain viable and our waterways remain clean. We are most definitely “joined at the hip”. We just can’t let the extremists on either side (conservationists and capitalists) be the only voices heard.

    If we can drill cleanly without disturbing the surrounding area too much, then we should consider drilling. Keep in mind, oil is a finite resource and drilling represents a depreciating investment because the return eventually drops to zero. Drilling is merely a band-aid measure that would let us function somewhat independently until alternative energy sources are fully developed and implemented.

    Obama is working with a system that is extremely screwed right now. We lived the high life for way too long and we all should know by now that hangovers are inevitable when you party too hard. I think the markets would clear up much quicker if the government let the free market work like it should. However, the pain that would inflict, in my opinion, would be a calamity. Consumers act in a herd-like mentality and there is no telling how bad off we’d be right now if people ran crazy without government intervention. The boating industry would probably be a shell of what it is now if that were the case. The Prez has only been in office for a month so to totally throw him under the bus is completely irresponsible. Everyone, and I mean everyone, is in a world of hurt right now because we ate high on the hog for so long. It’s time to push ourselves away from the table, pop a few Rolaids, and begin the work of getting ourselves back in fighting shape. It ain’t easy and isn’t something that happens overnight. Cut the guy some slack and pull together with some reasonable solutions. Name calling and finger pointing get you nowhere but only burn bridges.

  8. Schwarzel

    There needs to be balance. You can drill, mine, for energy, we just need to be responsable to do it in a clean way. Obama has no idea how to do this. I don’t want dirty air or dirty water BUT you can drill for oil and mine coal do it cleanly. For those of you who don’t all ready know, you can get oil from coal which the USA has many many tons of the stuff. Obama will not drill, will not mine because he is beholdant to the left wing “nuts” who want our industry and any other to go away. Just like a good marxist would. If you all as boat dealers, boat builders don’t stand up soon, kiss her all good bye! Yes Norm it would be great if “corn juice” would go away, my customers would have longer marine engine life boat gas tanks would last longer but boys it’s not going to happen. Wishful thinkin’. Vote for a Amreican not a MARXEST next time. At least SARAH would have drilled.

  9. Arch

    SUNSHINE STATE, you are INCORRECT when you imply the reasons for gains made by Obama in the interior midwest. Clinton won much of the interior midwest too back in the 90′s. Also, you have to consider the population shift out west from California to many of the neighboring states such as Colorado, Nevada, Arizona, Washington, Oregon. It is a younger, more progressive, and more liberal population than ever before, including when Clinton won. And Obama had the luxury of running after a very unpopular president, and he still didn’t win by large margins. In many cases, they were less than those Clinton won by, and about the same as Bush won by when he won.
    It’s also incorrect to say land based sportsmen supported Obama. Just because he won the state, it doesn’t mean sportsmen voted for him. I actually know for a fact that is incorrect.
    I’m sure environmentalist did though, no doubt.

    ANONYMOUS BOB,
    I”m not sure what to make of your comment about extremist Capitalists or Conservationist. Hopefully, you aren’t implying that either is bad, or that one can’t be both. Just about every sportsman I know is both a Capitalist and Conservationist. That is a GOOD thing.
    There is nothing wrong with name calling and finger pointing. If it’s deserved and a person feels that way, then they have the right to do or say anything they want. Exactly what brides are burned by doing that? I”m not saying I agree with it, but there is no harm in it if that is how they want to be.
    When it comes to Obama, he is making a TREMENDOUS amount of mistakes, enough to where many that supported him are now doubting his judgement. His own actions have caused this loss of confidence that has caused the market to drop over 20% since he was sworn in, and the bleeding hasn’t stopped yet.
    So, if I or anyone else wants to call him a name, or point fingers, it’s well deserved. But the interesting thing is that in this country, you can point fingers and name call anybody for any reason or no reason at all, whether they deserve it or not. I definitely don’t support that, and I think much lower of people that do it, but it’s their right.

    I just think it’s hilarious that Obamamaniacs get so offended when THE CHOSEN ONE is criticized. It just shows you how OFF BASE their thinking is.
    That doesn’t qualify as finger pointing and name calling does it? haha.

    I watched his speech the other night. As usual, it’s was BRILLIANTLY delivered. I was watching all the comments come in on CNN, live through their blog. 95% were about how incredible he is, how great he sounded, how inspirational, how proud Americans are to have him as President, how great it was to have a President that could complete a sentence, how elegant and handsome he was, how great he made them feel, etc etc. THESE are the people that elected him, THE YOUNG, THE NAIVE, and THE MINORITIES. That is a fact and every post election poll will tell you that.

    We will see how he does. So far, it isn’t looking real good.

    Ok, here is some good info on our new Commander in Chief from this very website…
    http://blog.tradeonlytoday.com/dealer_outlook/index.php/?p=175#comments

  10. Sunshine State

    Bear with me here since this does reflect on boating and our customer base…..
    Since 1980 the GOP set out to capture the “outdoor” vote (recall the full page ads in Field & Stream magazine” ‘Sportsmen-the choice is yours!’.
    In fact during the recent presidential campaign there was a “Sportsmen for Obama” effort.Go ahead and laugh, many were upset over actual drilling impacts at the Roan in Colorado and/or upset with Bush administration attempts at stepped up drilling efforts that circumvented or ignored prudent long standing outdoor interests.The popular focus instigated by the GOP has been “extremist” however they lost their own base…and remember this…affects the boating/conservationist community…..which includes much of our customer base!
    Per Saltwatersportsman.com Feb 2009:
    “I have profound respect for the conservationist legacy of sportsmen and women.Without the active engagement of hunters and anglers …it is likely that the world would have many fewer species of fish and wildlife today.Given this reality,it is hard to understand why recreational anglers and other resource users would be given last priority.I see this not only in marine angling,but in the management of the federal lands in the west,where the priorities of hunters and anglers seems to be given little consideration”- President Obama

  11. Doug Reimel

    Hello everyone. Capitalism creats wealth. Wealth is what will pay the way for viable alternative energy sources. Without wealth there is zero dollars available for conservation. If we are all broke, in the end there will be ZERO dollars for any of us to clean anything

  12. arch

    Sunshine state….
    There is also a group called the LOG CABIN REPUBLICANS.
    Obama had such an incredible grass roots operation that he had groups in every segment and niche out there. He had REDNECKS FOR OBAMA, he had Republicans FOR OBAMA, SPORTMEN FOR OBAMA, GUN OWNERS FOR OBAMA, and probably KKK FOR OBAMA. None of that means squat and it certainly doesn’t mean he supports the cause. He just wants their vote. Republicans do the same thing for the most part….for example: the head of the RNC is black. You think that is coincidence?
    My REPUBLICAN friends with waterfront homes on gulf coast in FL were MAD that McCain and Crist supported offshore drilling, yet an overwhelming majority of Republicans supported the idea. Everybody wants it, but not in their back yard. Ditto for environmentalist/conservationist in colorado or other areas where they were tlaking about drilling. Ditto for comments made by salt water sportsman. It has NOTHING to do with politics.
    The quote you wrote made me laugh. Halfway through it, I knew Obama said it. He can talk out of both sides of his mouth better than anyone in the history of politics. There are hundreds of articles about it, seriously. He tells people what they want to hear. I just haven’t figured out whether he does it on purpose or not. He is that good.
    Just look at his actions these first few months of his presidency. It’s pretty obvious that even though he works both sides of the table, he knows which side he’s going to when it’s dinner time.
    There are MANY that have become very disenchanted with him recently, and I”m not just talking stimulus related non-sense. You can throw that one out and I can still give you DOZENS of examples, all factual. I”m not just saying that because I don’t like him. I actually do like the guy, and I know he means well.

  13. Sunshine State

    Arch-
    “As the prop turns……..”-time will tell.I’ve got one foot planted knee deep in the marine industry and the other knee deep in the conservation/outdoor world and when I look down I see both feet are pretty much planted in the same substance.
    I have served in an upper level board position for a major conservation organization;fellow board mambers all NRA types and boaters…yet cast as the “anti”.I could list further qualifications for many column inches but to no avail on such a subject within this format.The power of accurate observation is sometimes called “extremism” by those that have not got it.
    On a positive note I recall one of the first outboards I sold was the 235 Johnson……what a beast!Soon after I was involved with pioneer efforts with Yamaha (Herb White’s Marine).It is fascinating to reflect on how far the industry has come in fuel efficiency and design.
    Cheers!

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