The Conservative Contrarian has a interesting post on how asinine the Kerry Energy Plan is, a subject I know a little bit about. Its nice to see people supporting drilling in the ANWAR, though its a bit disheartening that people are still confused on the issue. I thought I'd take this as an opportunity to elaborate a little on the subject.
We need ANWAR not for the oil, which isn't much, but for the access to natural gas, a major part of our nation's energy budget for which supplies have been dwindling and ANWAR actually provides a fair amount. Those dwindling supplies coupled with various environmental mandates forcing fuel switching (from coal to you guessed it, natural gas) are probably the main reason why electric prices have risen so much the last couple of years and the mid-western manufacturing economy has had such a hard time recovering.
There are really two simple solutions to much of the mid-western employment problems. We can delay implementation of many of the most aggressive Clean Air regulations (the health benefits of which are tenuous at best) and allow coal to remain as the primary source of electric generation or we can increase supplies of natural gas so that power plants have an affordable alternative to the use of coal. This is also the so many in DC have been fighting so hard for expansion of off shore drilling and construction of liquid natural gas (LND) receiving facilities (of which there are currently only 4 in the nation). We don't need more oil nearly as much as we need more natural gas - or are allowed to increase the use of coal.
Its easy for people to think our main energy use comes from driving cars, buts its really the production of electric needed to power our factories, run our computers, and air condition our homes.
Senate Democrats(and Northeastern Republicans) have successfully resisted each and every effort by the Republicans to solve the problem. For the Ds it puts the Republicans in a convenient catch 22. Dammed if you do (tone down Clean Air restrictions or allow drilling on public lands (ANWAR and elsewhere - the fight over ANWAR is simply the one they have used to frame the entire issue - its actually happening across the West and along the coasts), dammed if you don't (goodbye economy). Since most people don't understand (or have time to learn about) the complexities of the issue or the nation’s great thirst for natural gas, the Ds have been able to effectively confuse the issue for great political gain and preserved an opportunity to recapture the White House. The Northeaster Republicans - representing states that primarily get their power from Hydro (Hydro Quebec) Nuclear, and Oil with a small bit of Coal (emissions of which conveniently fall into the ocean, not their neighbor) see it as an opportunity to bolster the long depressed Northeastern Manufacturing base to the detriment of the mid-west.
Sadly, the Republican leadership simply doesn't have the balls to push for it and as a result have that much more difficult of a time leading an economic recovery.