Obama Disappoints With his Version of “Drill, Baby, Drill”

I’m sure President Obama doesn’t want to go through the pain of seeing another major reform take a year or more to pass, and risking not to see anything else pass if Republicans gain more ground after this year’s mid-term elections in November.

But his decision to go ahead and – to use a Republican tune – “drill, baby, drill” off U.S. shores is probably the most disappointing decision of his presidency so far.

It’s a true 180 degree flip from what he said during the 2008 presidential campaign and in several other occasions, as is clearly shown in this video. He has justified opening wide stretches of U.S. coastlines to offshore exploration and drilling as “part of a broader strategy that will move us from an economy that runs on fossil fuels and foreign oil to one that relies more on homegrown fuels and clean energy.”

What’s the difference between foreign fossil fuels and homegrown fuels? How long is it going to take to switch to clean energy? Why are we wasting time and money to go drill in areas that might not have that much oil after all, instead of investing time, energy and money to study, develop and build renewable sources of energy now?

Scientists have come close to recreating the Big Bang, for crying out loud. Why aren’t we able to find clean, long-lasting and efficient alternatives to coal, oil and nuclear power?

Don’t even get me started on nuclear power.

All this talk about how it’s cost-effective and safe and efficient is total nonsense.

First of all, there’s nuclear waste involved, and we don’t really know where to store it and Obama has decided the Yucca Mountain facility in Nevada won’t do.

The waste stays for hundreds, thousands of years without going anywhere. How much nuclear waste can we pile up before we start seeing a problem with overflow? Do we have to risk having tons of nuclear waste sitting idly at the doors of our major cities?

And what about safety? The risks of having the Three Mile Island or Chernobyl disasters repeat themselves is minimal, almost non-existant, some say. But still, it’s there.

I counted 66 operating nuclear plants on the U.S. Energy Information Administration’s website. A little note in italics reads: Note: Many power plants have more than one reactor.

Every reactor produces waste and that waste needs to be transported somewhere else. That’s also a risk, on many levels.

And what about natural resources? Oil might run out sometime in the next century and nuclear power needs enriched uranium, which isn’t unlimited and might soon run out, too, like all the other natural resources we are gobbling up without much remorse.

What isn’t going to run out, at least for a few billion years, is the sun. We need to use its energy.

What isn’t going to run out is the natural energy coming from the ground, through natural gases and volcanoes. We need to learn how to use that energy.

Finally – and hopefully – we’re not running out of smart and hard-working scientists and researchers, who might soon come up with a revolutionary way to make large amounts of energy in the cleanest way.

The government’s money needs to go to these scientists. Not to big oil corporations flying over Washington D.C. like vultures waiting on their prey.

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