About Offshore Drilling

Since it's in the news that Bush will lift the executive order banning offshore drilling in an attempt to push Congressional Democrats into doing the same, I thought I'd make a suggestion or two.

First of all, let me say that I'm a cynic on this--I have absolutely no faith that Congress will, in the long run, maintain the ban on either offshore exploration or in ANWR, barring some earth-shattering development in energy production and/or storage. There's too much money involved and not enough will to force us as a nation to adjust our lifestyles to avoid it. I fully expect that sometime in the next ten years, the pressure to drill while we inevitably move from a carbon-based energy system to a clean, renewable system will become overwhelming, and even states like Florida and California, which depend on tourism-friendly pristine beaches, will be forced to give in. Come down here and take your pictures now is what I'm saying, because it won't last.

But if it is inevitable, then I think at the very least we should get something in return. So here's a wish list.

1. End subsidies for oil companies--all subsidies. Not one tax penny goes to oil companies--no tax breaks, nothing. Some of these energy companies will still get government money, but it will be in the form of...

2. Investment in clean and renewable energy systems. I'm talking wind, solar, tidal primarily. No nuclear, not because I'm afraid of the technology--I am, a little, but not enough to freak out over--but because it's the same problem as fossil fuels. Limited quantities of the stuff cause great hardship and death to the people who happen to live in the area where it happens to exist. I'm tired of resource wars over stuff that comes out of the ground. The coming water wars are going to be bad enough as it is. Money into desalinization technology while we're at it.

3. Universal health care. Hey, we have leverage on this, so we might as well use it. Let's do some vote trading--you want offshore drilling, we want single-payer universal health care.

4. Finally--more space exploration. We're using up the resources on this planet, and we're not going to stop. That's a sad truth. So we need to find other places to support human life, and we do that by exploring space. That takes money, and since Florida's economy will be heavily impacted by offshore drilling, and since we have a strong space program already in place, it seems like a fair trade.

So, what would you want to get in return for offshore drilling?

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