Impossible Standards, Set Very High, Perfectly So

By September 13, 2006Energy

It’s not only environmentalists who play perfection bait-and-switch, holding out some public policy choice as “perfect” until it might become reality. (See this earlier post about the left turning against previously sanctified energy sources such as biofuels and wind.) Some newspaper editorialists engage in the same rhetorical game.

Last week FloridaToday — of Melbourne, Fla., on the Atlantic coast — reiterated its opposition to two versions of pending legislation to open up portions of the Gulf of Mexico to oil and gas development. The editorialist at least called the Senate bill the “lesser of two evils” because it made a smaller area accessible than the House alternative. The paper offered several reasons for its preference, including this:

From a consumer’s perspective, further concentrating the nation’s oil supply in the Gulf, which is a hurricane magnet, makes no sense, says Mark Ferrulo of Environment Florida.

Gas prices start to shoot up the moment even a tropical wave forms anywhere near the Gulf. That means consumers could get gouged at the pump more often if the U.S. becomes more dependent on Gulf wells for its gas supply.

Well, fixed costs argue against that point, as the Gulf already has much of the infrastructure in place to make new production there marginally less expensive. Still, we acknowledge the merit of a dispersed domestic energy supply, which gains redundancy by being spread around the country. That’s what the paper wants, right, geographic dispersal of energy development?

Guess not.

Don’t open ANWR
Arctic drilling no solution to high gas prices, energy crunch

That’s the headline of a May 30th editorial. Taken together, the two appear to argue for drilling everywhere except where there’s any energy. And probably not there, either.

Rather than insisting on perfection, Floridian newspaper writers might want to ponder a few of these points about Florida’s heavy and growing energy consumption posted in the extended entry below. And then support quick action by Congress to increase the nation’s energy supply.

Florida Natural Gas Facts

“According to a 2001 study by the United States Energy Information Administration, Florida ranks third nationally in total energy consumption. Florida’s demand for electric generation is expected to grow by approximately 58 percent between 2002 and 2020.” (“Florida’s Energy Plan,” Florida Department of Environmental Protection, January 17, 2006, p. 13, emphasis added).

“Forecasts indicate that electric utility generation will cause a 92 percent increase in natural gas requirements over the next ten years. Increased dependency on natural gas could affect the reliability of electric utility generation supply in Florida. The primary threat to reliability is the possibility of natural gas supply disruption.” (“Florida’s Energy Plan,” Florida Department of Environmental Protection, January 17, 2006, p. 21, emphasis added).

“Presently, Florida’s electric generating capacity is based on a variety of fuels: natural gas represents 39 percent of installed capacity, coal represents 23 percent, and oil represents 24 percent. In the future, new generation capacity additions are forecasted to be primarily 80 percent natural gas-fired and 19 percent coal-fired.” (“Florida’s Energy Plan,” Florida Department of Environmental Protection, January 17, 2006, p. 15, emphasis added).

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  • James Wachai says:

    The Florida Today argument is very misleading. First Hurricanes come and go, and of course with new technologies sprouting out everyday, the adverse effects of hurricanes on gas and oil drilling in the Gulf Coast can be easily mitigated.

    Every effort must be made to increase locally produced energy. One organization that has been pushing for energy independence has been the Consumer Alliance for Energy Security – I totally agree with what this organization stands for.