Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Knollenberg Plan on Energy Seriously Flawed

Joe Knollenberg presenting an energy plan is like George W. Bush presenting a peace plan. Now that Joe Knollenberg is in a tough re-election fight, he's going all green on us. Since he's new to this game, he tries to sound like he has all the answers. Much like his recent women's health conference where he tried to make women think he was a friend of women's health issues, while being ranked with a 0 rating from the National Breast Cancer Coalition, Joe's record on energy issues is disappointing. I searched his web site, and couldn't even find the specifics of his energy plan. As always, the devil is in the details.

The first point of his energy plan is to drill in ANWR, which has been the holy grail of Republican energy policy for years.

It turns out drilling in ANWR solving our energy problems is a myth.

Unraveling myths about ANWR drilling: It just won't work

The first myth about ANWR is that we can solve today's oil problem by drilling there.

But the government says that, even under best-case scenarios, it would take 10 years to start production and the average net drop in price would be about 86 cents per barrel — 0.6 percent.

The second myth about ANWR is that drilling there would provide us with "energy independence."

But the government's most optimistic estimate is that peak ANWR production would be less than 1 percent of total world oil output — about 750,000 barrels per day in a country that consumes 19 million barrels per day.

In fact, the government admits that foreign-oil dependence would decrease only slightly, between the years 2022 and 2026, and would then return to pre-ANWR levels.

The fourth myth about ANWR is that we "know" there's an awful lot of oil just waiting to be pumped there.

But the government admits that "there is much uncertainty" about ANWR and "little direct knowledge" about the location of oil, how easily it can be recovered, the size of the fields and the quality of oil in them. What we "know" is little more than a guess, based upon some hypothetical, exploratory models.

The fifth myth about ANWR is that so-called "limited-footprint" technologies would minimize environmental harm.

But the government admits limited-footprint technology probably won't work and "full development of the 1002 area" would require infrastructure throughout the area.

And the government openly acknowledges the threat to what it calls "the most biologically productive part of the Arctic Refuge for wildlife," "the center of wildlife activity," and the only federal land that "protects, in an undisturbed condition, a complete spectrum of the arctic ecosystem in North America."

At the end of the day, ANWR simply doesn't live up to the mythology. It certainly doesn't seem worth the cost. So it seems the only real relief will come from the dreaded "nanny state" remedies — higher corporate average fuel efficiency standards, smaller cars, fuel conservation and slower driving speeds.

Under its own best-case scenario, the government admits that drilling in ANWR would produce a pitifully tiny effect on foreign-oil dependency — four short years of relief at most — and a trivial effect on gas prices.

And even then, it'd be 10 years before that Suburban and I felt a penny's worth of relief at the gas pump.

It's interesting too that Knollenberg voted NO in 2005 on increasing funding to Amtrak, which a logical person might think funding rail and mass transit would be a good way for our country to decrease dependence on foreign oil. In another flip-flop, only in the right direction in an election year, Joe voted yes for more Amtrak funding provided in the Passenger Rail Investment and Improvement Act.

Another part of his plan is to build more nuclear power plants. The problem is we still haven't figured out what to do with the radioactive waste from the plants we already have. The largest obstacle is lack of private investment. The liability is so high that no one on Wall St. will invest in plants. One catastrophe will eliminate the entire investment. Also, there is a shortage of uranium, so even if the plants are built, there may be no fuel for them by the time they're finally online.

On Joe's idea of allowing more refineries to be built, this is another Republican diversion. The fact is, the oil companies don't want to build new refineries. In fact, they haven't built a new refinery in 29 years. They always try to blame the environmentalists, which these days Joe might say he's gotten religion on the environment, but the fact is the oil companies are enjoying record profits partly due to the fact that there is limited refining capability. Only now that prices are at record levels are oil companies considering building new refineries.

In fact, there are internal oil comapny memos that show the oil companies have been purposely not building refineries so that they can keep oil prices high.

Knollenberg presents plan to fight high gas prices

by Greg Kowalski • Eccentric staff writer • June 17, 2008

Backed by a sign proclaiming the price of gas at $4.09 a gallon, Congressman Joe Knollenberg said, “These gas prices are totally unacceptable,” and unveiled his plan to bring them down.

Knollenberg presented “The Knollenberg Plan to Lower Gas Prices” Monday afternoon at the BP gas station at Maple and Crooks in Troy.

“Two things control what something costs,” Knollenbeg said. “Supply and demand.” Knollenberg’s plan addresses both. To increase supply he is proposing such steps as drilling in Anwar — the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge — in Alaska; demanding an increase in foreign output of oil; establishing a uniform national blend of gas; increasing domestic refining, investigating price gouging and halting putting any more oil in the national reserves.

On the demand side, he proposes investing in alternative fuels, hybrids and biodiesel; increased use of renewal fuels, use of nuclear power to generate electricity and the conservation of gas through better driving habits.

Launching the program with Knollenberg was U.S. Rep. Roy Blunt, House Minority whip. The Republican from Missouri praised Knollenberg, saying, “He’s been voting for more supply and ways to assist the auto industry.”

“I’m not saying my plan is a silver bullet,” Knollenberg said. “It’s not, but it will turn the tide.”

Recently Knollenberg launched the “Big Three” Act, which encompasses a range of proposals to aid the auto industry and promote fuel efficiency. It includes advanced battery research and development, hydrogen fuel grants and establishment of a new group to set CAFE — Corporate Average Fuel Economy — standards.

Knollenberg is in a tough re-election bid in the 9th U.S. House District against challenger Democrat Gary Peters. Both men have been holding events across the district.

1 comment:

MIKE said...

If you buy what Knollenberg is selling - I got a bridge I want to sell you too. FACT: the oil companies are artificially creating high gas prices. They havn't built a new refinery in decades. This keeps the supply short of demand. They are sitting on oil leases - they don't need anwar. Knollenberg's plan isn't just "seriously flawed" - it is a bamboozle. A con job pure and simple. More RepliCON rhetoric!!