Friday, May 09, 2008

Sovereignty and Energy Independence

A sovereign state is one which governs itself independently of any foreign power. It is supreme authority within a territory. The energy situation America finds itself in is an example of how we are losing some of our sovereignty. We have allowed certain oil-rich nations in the Middle East, Russia, Nigeria and Venezuela to take an upper hand in our way of life.

As the price oil continues to increase, people and businesses will adjust. Energy demand will decrease. We will think twice about taking certain trips, from scout leaders planning their camp-outs and schools scheduling games against other schools to family vacations requiring extensive air and road travel and businesses no longer giving their sales and management teams unbridled travel leeway. We'll see the volume of SUVs and trucks being sold by GM, Ford, Chrysler, Toyota and Nissan diminish drastically -- the American companies taking the bigger hit.

As we dedicate a greater portion of our income to food and fuel, fewer will dine out. As disposable income decreases, tickets to ball games, motor races, movies, out-of-town marathons/triathlons/bike rides/races, ski resorts and golf courses will decrease, as will all associated equipment.

The U.S.A is an energy dependent economy. Everything we do depends on "affordable" fuel. Yet our elected officials have done nothing to encourage or obtain energy independence. Everything they do encourages dependency on foreign suppliers. These foreign suppliers are the ones that take our money and invest it into their ventures (domestic and foreign). These investment come with ties, as they try to protect and increase the value of those investments.

Our elected officials, as well as every one of us (as their constituencies), should be encouraging energy-independent policies. Instead of making the energy companies, namely the oil companies, the bad guys, policies should exist to encourage their success. Instead of wanting to tax them into submission, we should be giving them tax breaks for investing into new sources and technologies.

America sits on a huge supply of coal, comparable in scope to the Middle East's oil reserves. We have our own supply of untapped oil reserves. We have ample opportunities for alternative energy supplies from geothermal and wind to productive bio fuels -- not corn-based Ethanol and without impacting productive farmland. It is our elected officials, being held hostage by special interest environmental groups, that are limiting us from protecting our sovereignty and gaining energy independence.

There are ways to regain our sovereignty but it requires a compromise on all sides. Environmentalists can't just say no to new drilling and hope to live in a modern society. Energy companies can't just "cut and burn" their way to prosperity. How about a wind turbine for every home (that has a regular supply of wind)?

The days of affordable fuel are history. The gas lines of the late 70s, although painful (I was a college student driving a motor cycle and riding a bicycle in So. Cal), were short term. Economics did not motivate change. Cheap oil quickly became the norm. Thirty years later, gas lines are replaced by high prices, as there seem to be plenty of supply. We'll adjust to $5/gallon gas. We'll adjust to $10/gallon gas. But what do we need to give up in order to do so?

One thing we have lacked for years are politicians that have a vision. None are able to inspire (sorry you Obama lovers...but his hope messages is as empty as it gets). We spend billions every day on a war in Iraq. We spend billions on useless government programs. What would really happen if we just cut in half the Departments of Education, Labor, Housing & Urban Development, Interior and Commerce? Why not inspire Energy and Agriculture -- both public and private entities -- to achieve energy independence with using our renewable and non-renewable resources?

The government has stood in the way of American ingenuity. We can solve our energy problems within 10-20 years. We just need leadership, which has been lacking for a couple of decades. It is not going to come from Obama or McCain. It needs to come from Congress, namely through its grassroot constituencies.

If we do not take matters into our own hand, we will be giving up more and more of our sovereignty.

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