from the Congress Action newsletter

What Energy Crisis?

by: Kim Weissman
March 25, 2001

It is reported that the fiscal 2002 budget resolution being created by the republicans in the House does not include any provisions to implement President Bush's proposal to open the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge (ANWR) to exploration and drilling for oil and gas. Could it be that skittish republicans are afraid of being branded despoilers of the environment by environmental zealots and their megaphones in the left-wing media, for obtaining domestic fuels from a plot of land the size of Kennedy Airport, because that plot of land happens to be located in a vast wilderness two-thirds the size of the entire state of New York?

Or could it be, perhaps, that the republicans in the House have decided to wait until California's energy crisis becomes so acute that it becomes obvious to even the most dim-witted leftist that the blame for the energy mess in this country should be laid squarely at the doorstep of radical environmentalists?

Could it be, in other words, that republicans have decided to let the environmental zealots stew in their own juices (or shiver in their unheated hot tubs, as it were) for a little while longer?

While this might be satisfying to people who are tempted to say to those radical environmentalists — You wanted to drive our society back to the stone age, now how do you like it? — such a tactic poses problems that go far beyond California. Our economy is now experiencing the Clinton recession, and the Clinton bear market has wiped out trillions of dollars of private wealth. Yet despite the gloom of many stock market and economic pundits (to listen to some of them, one might think that they actually believe we'll all be living in caves and communicating by smoke signal within a decade), what our economy and stock market are experiencing is nothing more than the usual ebb and flow of the economy and the market.

It has happened before, and it will happen again, and within a year or two we will look back at this period as a mere blip in our economic growth, and as a wonderful stock buying opportunity. Unless we fail to restore sanity to the energy policy of this country. If our energy policy continues to be dictated by environmental zealots, California's economy will continue to nose-dive, and because of its enormous size and influence, it will take the rest of our national economy with it. Short-sighted and self-important Californians, the ones who accede to policies driven by radical environmentalists, want abundant electricity, but not the power plants to produce it; love their cars, but don't want to produce the oil to fuel them; cultivate lush lawns and acres of agricultural land in the desert, but want to tear down the dams that supply the water; and are threatening to drag the rest of the nation down the sewer with them.

Unless we restore sanity to our nation's energy policy, and quickly, this minor economic slowdown could turn into a serious recession, perhaps even a depression. Which would most likely result in the re-election of democrats and socialists to control our national policy — the re-election of the very people who had a large hand in creating the problem in the first place. The massive expansion of federal power concocted by Franklin D. Roosevelt's New Deal in response to the last Great Depression (a New Deal that in the end did absolutely nothing to get us out of the Great Depression — it took the Second World War to do that) inflicted severe damage to the nation's Constitutional balance, impaired individual liberty, and advanced the cause of socialism. We are still experiencing the deleterious effects of that New Deal to this day. One more such experiment in central planning by the closet socialists on the left, and whatever small portion of our Constitutionally protected liberty that still remains will be but a dim memory.

Which brings us back to drilling for oil and gas in ANWR (and a host of other common sense proposals, such as revitalizing the nuclear power industry).

Unless we are able to arrive at a more rational balance between environmental preservation and self preservation, we will have neither before too much longer. Because the evidence from around the world and over decades of time has clearly shown that the greatest creator of wealth in a society is individual liberty, and that the greatest preserver of the environment is a wealthy society. Anyone who doubts that has merely to examine the environmental record of any socialist totalitarian society around the world. You want to see some of the dirtiest, most contaminated places on earth? Visit the former Soviet Union or communist China, where environmental destruction is the legacy of socialist central planning.

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25 mar 2001