Energy: The Solution Sits Just Off the Coast

By April 24, 2006Energy

In the President’s Weekly Radio Address, he touched on the issue of energy, saying

“[M]any of you are asking how we can meet our growing energy needs while protecting our environment. The key is technology. So I have proposed the Advanced Energy Initiative to change the way we power our homes, businesses, and cars. …My Advanced Energy Initiative will also help improve hybrid vehicles — cars and trucks that run partly on electricity and help drivers save gas. We’re funding research into a new generation of plug-in hybrid vehicles that could be recharged in electrical outlets and could allow many drivers to make their daily commute using no gasoline….By developing these and other new sources of clean renewable energy like ethanol, we will continue growing our economy, reduce energy prices and protect our environment, and make America less dependent on foreign oil.”

OK, so far, so good.

The Democratic response was done by Sen. Bill Nelson of Florida. In fairness, he likely had no idea what the President might say, so he spent his time talking about energy as well. He talked about conservation, technology and producing synthetic fuels form coal. Right.

OK, so here’s the rub: All of this makes sense. There’s nothing objectionable about Sen. Nelson’s plan, except to ask, “How’s that going?”. In other words, we’ve been about the business of conservation here for some time. We continue to pursue alternative fuels. There’s nothing like $3/gallon gasoline and the highest natural gas prices in the world to encourage conservation by manufacturers.

However, 420 trillion cubic feet of natural gas sit off the coast in the Outer Continental Shelf (OCS). Sen. Nelson, among others, has been reticent to allow exploration — even through Fidel Castro can explore only 45 miles off of our coast.

And so we agree with Sen. Nelson that all of these other ideas are just swell, but they ain’t getting the job done. There is supply and there is demand. It’s an immutable law, as old as the hills. Let’s hope that if Sen. Nelson is really serious about reducing our dependence on foreign energy and in driving down energy prices, he begins with a solution that is very close to home.