Social and Political Commentary

All opinions expressed in this article are solely those of the author, and do not necessarily reflect opinions of others or the organization as a whole.

Idealism unfettered

... Fossil fuel dependency

by Leonard Dalton

Tonight a young man rang our bell and spoke to me at some length in the interest of signing a paper condemning any efforts involved with exploring and drilling for oil in the Alaskan Wildlife Refuge on the shores of the Beaufort Sea off northern Alaska. In the interest of conservation, he made several statements that were either not at all accurate, or just plain fibs, to make his case. Most people are not versed in the give and take of this argument.

People in this effort to lobby against oil exploration in this part of Alaska are telling the unknowing that the Prudhoe Bay area has experienced a lot of pollution as a result of the development of oil fields there, and, as one result, they argue that the same will happen to the pristine Alaskan Wildlife Refuge. That is just one of the efforts to propagandize the hostility toward any exploration in the Refuge.

Why these people decide to lobby against development in Alaska and fail to address real and existing problems in the lower states is a mystery. It involves the 'License of Righteousness' which they think allows distortions and lies to make their case. To illustrate, why don't they take some interest in the sloppily built and used dams around the country which are an environmental disaster? Why not attack the failure of the government to stop rampant air pollution by industries and electricity generators? That air pollution is now a threat to coastal areas as the levels of the oceans rise. In this century, levees may be required around cities like New York, just to mention one case. Maybe that will come later as the idealists propagandize their causes.

As for fossil fuels, as that supply diminishes, these people will cry for more exploration for oil no matter where it is as long as they can have their heat and power. The worm turns!

With any luck, science will refine the processes of nuclear fusion. This energy would allow hydrogen to be extracted from sea water and then be used to create all the heat and electric power any sized population could use with the sole by-product of pure water! In the scenario of nuclear fusion, a couple of plants would heat every home in eastern Massachusetts and at the same time offer unlimited electricity at bargain basement prices. Homes would be heated by the electricity and commerce would use the heat by-product. Then only miniscule quantities of petroleum would be needed anywhere.

My point is to limit the dishonest efforts of conservation people to keep the world's burgeoning population from enjoying modern technology. It is a 'me first' concept. In this 21st century the population of the world, now at almost 7 billion, will go to 12 billion or more and the resources of the world must be used and developed. Oil in the Alaskan Wildlife Refuge must be made available.

Recent discoveries of oil fields in the northern Caspian Sea have virtually doubled the world's oil reserves. After development, these fields will equal the reserves in Saudi Arabia! At the same time the continental shelf from the Island of Trinidad south through Brazil hold enormous promise for the future.

March 17, 2001

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