Editor's Log: Acts Of Nature

May 2012, Vol. 67 No. 5

But this future is based upon the theory that strategic use of our oil and gas resources is a good thing. Unfortunately, the prevailing winds in Washington still associate anything petrochemically based as inherently evil. It makes developing a comprehensive energy policy that includes any kind of long-range utilization of oil virtually impossible despite market/economic/environmental realities. We can only hope that common sense will emerge after the next election.

President Obama’s goal of using alternative energy for 50 percent of our country’s needs by 2030 is a grandstanding fairy tale. Yes, alternative energy is, and will be, a good thing. But to think that our existing research will yield such demanding results by 2030 is dismissed as highly impractical by even the greenest of researchers. In fact, many of those researchers admit that a true alternative resource to replace oil and gas may not even be discovered yet. Research is not linear: it takes all sorts of twists, turns and steps backward before progress can be made. Often we discover after costly research that new technology is not feasible and have to start over in a different direction.

We should absolutely embrace shale. Yes, be cautious and concerned with the technology (such as fracking), but believe the science when it is proven safe and effective. Don’t condemn the fuel because it is a petrocarbon.

We should absolutely embrace alternative fuels. But don’t continue investing billions upon billions of dollars into technologies that work only with exclusive tax breaks and heavy doses of government subsidies -- technologies whose long-term future is suspect at best.

Lest we forget, natural gas and oil have served this country well. With due diligence and proper stewardship, oil and gas will continue to do so for decades to come until we discover that mythical, all-encompassing, 100 percent environmentally-friendly alternative fuel – whatever that may be.