Should the US allow more oil drilling?

Rapidly rising gas prices might pose a problem for the United States, but tearing up nearly 2,000 miles of American wilderness to build the massive oil pipeline known as Keystone XL is certainly no solution.

Many Republican presidential candidates hope to pump $7 billion of taxpayer money into the pipeline’s construction. Instead, the federal government should invest that money into fuel efficiency, alternative energy and support for Americans who are hit hardest by the high cost of gas.

Nick Cimarusti | Daily Trojan

The global energy crisis demands a solution far more comprehensive than simply improving American access to oil.

There will come a time when that demand for oil cannot be met, no matter how much drilling we do at home. When that happens, we need to have a well-developed alternative energy sector and a minimal dependence on oil.

Keystone XL, a pipeline designed to carry the heavy crude produced by Canada’s oil sands to refineries around the Gulf of Mexico, offers no other benefit. The expansion of off-shore drilling, another Republican proposal, demonstrates an equally narrow focus.

Construction of the pipeline would threaten the environmental welfare of regions such as Nebraska’s Sand Hills and the Ogallala Aquifer. Proposed passage through these areas prompted significant resistance to the pipeline’s initial route.

The controversy culminated in President Barack Obama’s rejection of the pipeline’s construction permit last month — at least until a new route can be negotiated.

It is better to abandon the project entirely. If we want to lower gas prices and to decrease dependence on foreign oil, we should concentrate on improving our nation’s fuel efficiency rather than depleting our natural resources.

At the height of the energy crisis in the 1970s, President Jimmy Carter urged Americans to take steps on an individual level to reduce their use of fuel. Four decades later, the hike in gas prices demands a similar lifestyle change.

By subsidizing the alternative energy industry, backing technology and engineering education, improving public transportation, and providing tax breaks to companies manufacturing fuel efficient products, the government can curb the demand for gas. The government should not force itself to meet it. The distinction between these two alternatives is vitally important.

Attaining such stability takes time, which is why we need to begin working toward it immediately. In the meantime, initiatives like the payroll tax cut can help support Americans struggling to afford expensive gas. Educational and industrial development will create benefits for up-and-coming generations through the creation of jobs and the enhancement of technical and other modern fields of study.

The price of gas is steadily becoming a huge issue in the 2012 election campaign. Voters should support a candidate whose solution to the problem considers the long-term health of the nation.


Francesca Bessey is a freshman majoring in narrative studies. 

Point/Counterpoint runs Fridays. 





3 replies
  1. Reggie
    Reggie says:

    Something is amiss when we can consider the movement of 200,000 barrels of oil a day and several thousand jobs a “. . . narrow focus . . .”
    Advocacy for a global solution has a nice ring to it — but is wildly impractical. Energy cost and distribution is a “wicked problem” which means since we cannot agree on the causes, or even the symptoms, we will never agree on a set of solutions. It seems to me the problem from the U.S. perspective will require a series of meaningful steps, including pipelines and expanded exploration and extraction — and it is the high price of gas that will make those things economically feasible — including the endless quest for alternative forms of energy. Ultimately, though, we will need to trust technology. In a recent article, solar panels have been found defective and causing fires in homes where they were installed. Wind power kills large numbers of migrating birds. I believe we can make aircraft that fly and pipelines that don’t leak — and ultimately we must trust technology.

  2. Christopher Ganiere
    Christopher Ganiere says:

    Presently we have a crushing government debt on our economy. One way we can reduce the debt is to develop our oil & gas resources and sell the resources or products. China has plenty of dollars to spend, why not sell oil & gas to them and pay down our debt in the same transaction?

  3. John S Colorado
    John S Colorado says:

    Our nation increasingly embraces Fascism at every level as government and big business seek to take liberties from its citizens with mandates and government takeovers and selection of winners and losers by this Administration.

    Consider that Canada gave USA the “first rights” so to speak on the pipeline and this Administrations abrupt denial after 4 YEARS. Canada has now opened the door for China (who recently invested nearly $1 Billion to develop new tar sands in Alberta) as Canadians are now working to approve a pipeline to Canada’s west coast and a new terminal to ship oil to the Far East. Canada is now moving to decouple its energy relationship with USA.

    Secondly, USA is one of the leading refiners of oil and actually exports, you see we take crude from USA, Venezuela and Canada that cost $100/barrel and we refine it and then we sell it for upwards of $250/barrel. As with most American industries, we are able to “value add” products and make a market and a profit and we can emoy our citizens. This society is oil based and shall be as long as it is the most efficient available commodity. Mankind never ran out of copper in the Copper Age or Iron in the Iron Age or Coal in the Industrial Revolution nor will we run out of oil as you see man is the greatest of Gods creatures and we are blessed with the ability to innovate, something that is not typically found in the animal kingdom. We will not run out of oil but it does not preclude oil commodity prices rising as demand and supply determine pricing and easy oil is not so easy anymore.

    Thirdly: are you even awake at the wheel? Hello? Solyndra? “No wind farms in my back yard” especially if your a Kennedy in Cape Cod… We have to get away from the hypocrisy of “Do as I say, not as I do” and get back doing what is best for USA. (Consider just how important USA is to the world, we get an economic “cold” based on unaffirdable mortgages to the masses and the entire world goes in to recession.

    Consider that the Arab Spring had its roots in the inability of Egypt and Tunisia being able to economically feed it’s own people on $2/day because the price of corn had doubled because the America had diverted substantial amounts of corn to ethanol production. Our action to be more green had significant ramifications to other parts of the world. Consider that corn based ethanol is 20% as efficient as cane sugar ethanol yet we subsidize corn production, why?

    The USA needs an all inclusive energy strategy including clean(er) coal, oil, nuclear and increased efficiency in wind, solar and geothermal as well as a “Going to the moon in this decade” development effort fir fusion energy so that some time in our lifetime fusion energy can be economically developed-that is the Holy Grail.

    It is too bad that education today is not balanced, that ithe educators agendas are not understood by the consumers-students. In Business, society and law there are incredible ramifications of DISCLOSURE, Educators need to be honest and disclose their agendas so student can separate opinion from facts and make honest decisions in their lives and in the end for our country’s future. It is perfectly fine to have an agenda but it is dishonest not to properly disclose it and I fear that this generation of educators and students have been duped about the realities of life in 2012.

Comments are closed.