BIG OIL? A few years ago I remember the controversy that arose when gas went up to 3 dollars a gallon. Many blamed Bush for not having an effective energy policy in place- yet many of these same dissenters were also responsible for stopping the drilling for oil off of our coasts- places like Alaska were deemed off limits, not just off the coast, but on land as well. While these issues are highly volatile- many on both sides once again seem to only see their side of the argument- yet we do need to seriously look at our countries long term strategy when debating this issue. The other day I caught an interview between two governors- Montana’s and Indiana’s. They were discussing the effectiveness of their fiscal policies [Montana Dem- Indiana Repub] and the Montana gov. defended the union side of the uproar in Wisconsin. He shared how he has worked within the collective bargaining system and has still kept his state in good fiscal condition. I did find it ‘less than honest’ that one of the main reasons the economies of Montana’s area [Northern, central part of the country] are experiencing a sort of boon is because of- well yes- big oil! You know- that smelly disgusting man made product- O wait- I forgot- it actually is not some chemical product of man- it actually is a ‘natural resource’ yes- did you ever think about the fact that oil [unrefined] is in the same category of sand, water, air- yes- it comes from the earth- not from a factory! When we were seeing the B.P. disaster play out on screen- did you [do you now?] see it as some type of 1970’s chemical spill that used to regularly take place in our country? You know the factories used to get away with pouring their chemicals into the rivers and oceans- thanks to environmentalists action- these things have stopped. Yet when we all sat in awe, day after day, watching the B.P. oil spill [yes- it was as fixating as the present Medias obsession with Charlie Sheen] we simply ‘saw it’ as a factory type spill- not an actual natural- earth produced resource- spilling into the gulf. Now- I do understand that man had a hand in the thing- for instance it’s not natural to stick a pipe into the ocean floor and then spill millions of barrels of it into the gulf- yes that was bad- a ‘pollutant’ in the sense of it being a man caused disaster- yet the ingredient itself- oil- is a natural thing- like all other natural resources. So- in the governor’s debate- they never mentioned that the only 2 states that are not facing budget deficits are Montana and North Dakota [they sit side by side on the U.S. Canadian border]. Why? I heard a report the other day on North Dakota- it was an interesting story about the unemployment rate in the state- a little over 3 percent. The report noted how many of the towns can’t keep the shelves of the stores stocked fast enough- people are buying goods left and right- some workers are complaining that after work there are not enough women in town to go out on dates with- the male workers are outnumbering the women by huge majorities. Why? Over the last few years the oil field companies have developed a new way to dig for oil- and this new engineering [not high speed rail!] is creating thousands of jobs in digging for oil. That’s the reason for the boon- for the good fiscal condition of these 2 northern states- its creating jobs- helping our country to not be so dependent on foreign sources- and it’s natural! Yes- the refineries ‘refine’ it- but it’s still a wonderful product. It has been estimated that if we opened up the Alaskan waters for drilling- it would create around 55 thousand jobs- and the oil that we would get would replace the entire amount of oil that might be lost if Libya goes under as an oil producer. The point is we need to be responsible [yes- burning oil is not natural- from vehicles and factories and wherever, and this process does indeed cause air pollution that does contribute to global warming] we need to have policies in place that protect the environment- which is a very valuable natural resource- we don’t want to destroy our land. Yet we also want to look at the reality on the ground- our economy is simply not ready for a massive switch from oil to other products- T. Boone Pickens invested millions into wind mills, made a serious effort at the thing. He has since said it was a huge mistake- why? Because he now realizes that the country does not have the infrastructure to switch over. Some company invested millions into solar roof panels- the same thing happened- they were too expensive and many people simply did not want them. So until we get further down the road in transitioning into a society that uses clean fuels- we’re stuck with oil- you know- that wonderful, natural, earth produced good. I’d rather drill for it off our coasts, then have our kids die for it off Tripoli’s.