America needs a new energy policy desperately.
This nation is in grave danger due to our dependence on foreign oil for much of our energy which places us in economic jeopardy and threatens the security of if not the very survival of the republic.
Every year we send literally hundreds of billions of dollars overseas to pay for the oil and gas we consume. The monies used for this end up in the coffers of regimes that are at best only barely tolerant of us (Kuwait, Indonesia, Nigeria or Mexico), while others seem mostly ambivalent (Saudi Arabia and the Gulf States) or, and at worst, out right hostile (Venezuela and Iran). They are hostile not only to us, but to many of our allies as well.
Why does this present a problem? Why should we care what the “Oil Arabs” and the other less than friendly nations do with that cash? After all, it is their money now, right?
What does this have to do with us or our energy policy?
True enough that they sold the oil and we bought it and it is their money now. They have a right to do with it as they see fit, but why should we, the American consumer, bankroll those who may not have our best interests at heart? What could they be doing that is so bad as to warrant all this concern?
One of the many places oil revenue is used is in the funding of hundreds of “madrasa diniyyah” (religious schools) and mosques in many Muslim and non-Muslim counties throughout the world. This funding is done via so-called “charities”, many of which are bankrolled in whole or in part by our so-called ally, The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. While the funding of schools seems a noble venture on the surface, there is a very dark set of objectives underneath all those seemingly good intentions.
Most of these schools are built in Pakistan and other countries that have populations decidedly hostile to the west and to America in particular. In many of these schools and the attendant mosques that are built to provide “religious guidance”, the subject matter taught is decidedly not what you would expect to find in a school for young and middle school aged children in most of the rest of the world: reading, writing, arithmetic, the social sciences and literature.
Behind the establishment of the “institutions is a very ultra-conservative group who are adherents to the Wahhabi sect of Islam. They are found in positions of power within the ruling strata of the Saudi government. They even have control of the “religious police” who enforce the morality laws throughout the Kingdom, and are major sponsors of these schools. These Wahhabist are predominant in controlling much of the activity and influence in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. By virtue of this influence, they have access to the vast wealth of the kingdom. Because they have so much influence and have the access to the wealth of the realm, the Wahhabists continue to funnel large sums of oil revenue (via their “charities”) from the royal treasury to programs in the madrasas and mosques they have built throughout the world. Their teachings are an extremely conservative (read: intolerant and militant) form of Islam. This sect has an abject intolerance of any sect, faith, practice or government that doesn’t subscribe to their orthodox views. This is the attitude, enforced, encouraged and taught by the sponsors of these schools. This highly orthodox view has metastasized, becoming more rabidly militant in nature in recent decades, especially when issues involving the west, Israel, America, and democracy are made a focal point. Their view of America, Europe, western civilization and our way of life is viewed by the sponsors and instructors in these schools and mosques with a vehemence and hostility that is nothing short of utter hate bordering on the psychotic.
Any act is viewed acceptable from their religious point of view because some mullah or imam has decreed it so: it is the will of Allah…. The young take it on faith and the young mind is bent and twisted to this world view.
There is positive proof that the real mission of these schools is not just to teach basic life skills but to also indoctrinate the young with a militant, viral form of Islam. This indoctrination of these young, impressionable minds in these petro-dollar funded schools and mosques, include children as young as 6 to 8 years of age, who sit in small groups reading and reciting from just one book, the Quaran. These recitations go on for many hours a day, day after day in endless rote memorization sessions until they have it memorized. Additional “training” is also given by the imams in their version of what the meaning of the Quaran is, according to their orthodoxy and political views. The children, imbued with scripture and anti-western propoganda, become dedicated to program of demonization, dialing back, and the eventual expunging of all western influence in their region of the world. The corollary to this is the eventual stamping out of any freedoms or progress enjoyed by minorities and women and the destruction of the west and the killing or subjugating of all infidel populations and infidel lands. In their eyes, these are seen as prime objectives in the life of any faithful Muslim who is true to the faith. To see proof of your oil dollars at work, one merely has to view the videos of the teaching sessions in these institutions or the sermons given by the imams and mullahs in the mosques or the street protests in any Arab or European capitol containing these Islamist radicals. Read the signs and hear the chants calling for Israel’s destruction, our destruction, or for Shiria law to become the prevailing law in the west, and you will begin to understand the threat. The young people in these protests are either products of these radical teachings or are being lead by those who are.
They want our constitution, our freedoms and our way of life to be erased, expunged, destroyed…..
If proof of this danger is needed, one has but to merely look at a roster of the 9/11 hijackers who destroyed the World Trade Center in 2001: 15 of 19 were Saudis and the mastermind, Osama bin Laden is also a Saudi.
All this hatred and all the terrorism it spawns today is funded in large part every time you fill your gas tank.
To put it bluntly, we are financing the means to our own possible destruction. We are providing for the scholarship of those who are murdering our countrymen and subverting our civilization.
What can be done to de-fang this monster that has risen from the sands of the Mideast? What can we do to take from them the ability to fund their operations? The only way is to remove the seemingly unending cash flow that funds our detractors and enemies.
Can we accomplish these aims?
The only way to accomplish this is to eliminate our dependency on their oil, thus drastically curtailing or eliminating all together their one and only dependable, large scale revenue stream, and thus removing much of their power and influence over us and those they threaten.
To say that America and the rest of the industrialized world have become hooked on easy access to cheap and plentiful petroleum from a very hostile and dangerous part of the world is to belabor the obvious.
That paradigm must change if we are to survive as a free and ever progressing civilization dedicated to the freedoms we have fought and strove for over nearly two and a quarter centuries.
America, as a nation, has all the resources necessary and most if not all the technology needed to become energy independent if we choose to deploy the new and existing technologies we possess and to free up domestically available fuels and resources, and reallocating them for different uses.
In short, the key to our independence lies in the immediate construction of the next generation of nuclear powered electrical generating plants and nuclear fuel reprocessing facilities and then reallocation of fossil fuels once used in electrical generation to new and/or different purposes which can be replaced later as new and developing technologies come on line or become more commercially viable.
At the moment, America is using a patchwork quilt of coal, natural gas, oil, nuclear, wind, solar, and hydroelectric power to generate our electricity. This is a hugely inefficient and costly conglomeration of sources for the largest national power grid on Earth to rely on. It is also very inefficient when you view the support required to administer, operate, maintain, feed (fuel), and develop upgrades to these many varied systems. Coal and oil which make up a bulk of the generating capability are dirty and produce many toxic emissions that must be scrubbed from their effluent and the sequestered in some manner to keep it from contaminating the environment. Natural gas, the second most common of the fossil fuels used, is much cleaner but still produces some undesirable emissions. Hydroelectric, the cleanest high capacity source of power, had reached its limits unless capacity can be increased by improving generating technology at existing facilities. It is NOT a forgone conclusion that this can or will be done to any great extent. One can not depend or plan on regular advances in technology to increase output. Creating more hydropower capacity generally requires construction of more or larger plants and dams or would require damming more rivers which is environmentally undesirable. There are also issues with availability of water to drive the generating turbines. Draught and increased need for fresh water by agriculture and cities, especially in the far west, has already adversely affected the sources of water to many dams already in existence like Hover Dam in the southwest, and the many dams in the northwest especially along the Columbia River.
Nuclear energy is the only safe, dependable, large scale, clean, (no greenhouse gasses or other chemical pollutants) and readily deployable technology out there that can deliver the vast quantities of electrical power we need to sustain our Republic. France generates upwards of 70% of its electricity from nuclear power. It seems strange and indeed counter intuitive that America, the nation that was the pioneer in the development of this technology, should rely so little on it. Nuclear waste from these facilities, which is the single major issue with nuclear power, can be dealt with if we reprocessed nuclear fuel as the French have learned to do. Utilizing “Breeder Reactors” which create their own fuel with little waste or utilizing reprocessing technology like the French, we could solve most of the problems created such as the recycling of the vast quantities of spent nuclear fuel rods presently being stored in cooling ponds at the nuclear power facilities now operational and radioactive waste that would be created by the reprocessing operations in the future, which seem the only serious impediments to nuclear energy, will be greatly reduced in volume from what now exists. What technology we lack, we can acquire from commercial sources in Europe, especially the French, under license or we can develop here.
It is very conceivable that electric cars powered by electricity generated by relatively clean and plentiful nuclear energy make sense as a competing choice of fuel source to gasoline or other fossil fuels. If the increase in the use of nuclear technology doesn't turn you on, then CNG or “compressed natural gas” vehicles would be the next best thing. They can run with existing technology (internal combustion engines) modified to burn domestically acquired gas versus liquid fuels like gasoline or diesel made from imported oil. T. Boone Pickens, a well-known oilman and entrepreneur has advocated a plan much like this whereby the long and short haul truck fleet in the U.S. would be given grants or loans to convert their trucks over to burning CNG instead of diesel. The conversion of 6 million vehicles over to CNG would reduce imports by nearly half just by itself. The only issues that need addressing are CNG distribution and filling facilities for these vehicles. Fortunately, natural gas is available most everywhere in America. It isn’t a process that could occur overnight but it could be done within a decade.
For those locations where such service is not available due to logistical issues, natural gas, like propane gas, which is used for all manner of uses in more rural areas, can be delivered in a liquid form by truck and then put into tanks like propane and gasoline for future use. Another option for consumers who live in more urban and even suburban areas, home filling stations can be set up and even metered for public use in communal living areas like apartment complexes, thus making it easier to fuel your vehicle without having to find a commercial filling station like we do when using gasoline or diesel. Unlike gasoline, CNG vehicle can fuel anywhere there is a source of gas that can be compressed. They can even incorporate compressors in the vehicles to take gas at “line pressure” and compress it in the vehicle if the vehicle operator is not able to find a standard fueling outlet. That is the beauty of the technology: flexibility as well as being eco-friendly. One additional benefit seldom mentioned is the reduction in operating costs of vehicles powered by CNG or electricity. Trucks and cars powered with CNG burn cleaner thereby reducing the amount of contamination of the lubricating oil in the engines, reducing the wear and tear internally and reducing the need for frequent replacement of the lube oil. Engines would last longer and emissions would be greatly reduced. Operating costs would be reduced as well, further reducing costs to consumers who rely on trucks, which is every consumer in the country.
My reorganization plan is simple: Electrical generating plants utilizing natural gas could be decommissioned and their fuel reallocated to motor fuel purposes as new nuclear plants came on line. Coal fired plants could be decommissioned as well and their coal “gasified” or converted to liquid petroleum for diesel fuel, lubricants or for industrial material processing (petrochemicals and other materials made from oil like polymers). This would free us from foreign oil for the most part and make America far less vulnerable to supply interruptions, external threats to the logistical train that supplies the petroleum we import, and the extremes of pricing in the international energy marketplace. Money sent overseas to hostile or potentially hostile regimes and regions of the world would be drastically curtailed or even eliminated and used to invest in energy, industrial projects and development here in America. We could even become net exporters of energy for the first time in decades!
To sum it up, we need to convert the vast majority of our electrical production to nuclear and hydro-electric and utilize this energy for both transportation (electrified rail and electric vehicles for personal and fleet use) and to traditional industrial and residential uses. This would free up less polluting, more available and deployable domestically produced fossil fuels like natural gas as motor fuel while gasified/liquefied coal products can be used for other purposes. When other technologies like use of biomass, wind and solar become more advanced, thereby more economical and deployable, we can use them to fill the gaps in the power grid as its demands grow. Bio fuels may in time provide a competitive alternative to CNG/LNG / Electrical powered vehicles, but are at present vulnerable to inclimate weather and variations in agricultural output. There needs to be more development of the infrastructure to produce fuel from bio resources and development of the transportation infrastructure for biofuel product s to market as many can’t use the same facilities, equipment or pipelines as are currently in use for petroleum products.
Within a generation it may be possible that we could see the end of gasoline powered vehicles as the major source of personal transportation in America. If a plan like the one I have just outlined is implemented, they will slowly but surely disappear as they are replaced by vehicles powered from alternative energy sources. Like the “Stanley Steamer” of the early 1900’s, gasoline powered vehicles could be rendered museum pieces or collector items in a generation or two, and eventually become quaint curiosities like the horse and buggy within a century.
Only America has these many choices and the technical acumen and economic capability to make such a plan a viable reality within the next 10-15 years, but we must begin now to bring it about before circumstances force our hand.