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GOP's Fred Thompson Open To Drilling In Parks for Oil

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Republican Fred Thompson says he'd consider opening up the Everglades to oil drilling if there were major reserves there.

The silliness of the 2008 presidential campaign has finally made it to the national park system, and in a very bizarre way. During a recent stop in Florida, Republican Fred Thompson allowed that he'd support drilling for oil in Everglades National Park if major reserves were found there.

"I don't think anybody really prefers to drill at all anywhere," the former U.S. senator from Tennessee told the Palm Beach Post. "Nobody wants to see $100 oil, either."

A bit later during his appearance Mr. Thompson added, "No one has told me that there is any major reserves in the Everglades. ... But maybe that's one of the things I have to learn while I'm down here."

Fellow Republican Mitt Romney, when told of Mr. Thompson's comments, was astounded. "In the Everglades? You're kidding. ... We're not going to drill in the Everglades," he told the newspaper. "There are certain places in America that are national treasures and the Everglades is one of those. It's environmentally extraordinarily sensitive. The people of Florida would never support such a thing."

While it is very early in the presidential campaign -- too early for my liking, frankly -- it's not too early to hold the candidates accountable on environmental issues, including their positions on the National Park Service and the national park system.

Can anyone forget George W. Bush promising during the 2000 campaign that he would wipe out the Park Service's maintenance backlog, which then was estimated to be around $5 billion? Well, today it's upwards of $8 billion and the Bush administration has yet to come up with a viable solution for paring it down.

Where do the candidates -- Republican and Democratic -- stand on the environment and the national parks? It's a question worth asking.

Comments

Just a tad bit more information-----

Re: the state of politics
Health care is far more controlled by politics and Big Pharma than the other way around. National funding for Medicare, Medicade, and many private funding sources supplementing HMO's, PPO's, state sponsored health care programs, abortion funding, and lest we all forget, insurance care for illegals comes directly from DC and your private health care premiums. Our runaway private care costs are the direct result of cuts in government subsidies and ridiculous judgements in malpractice suits, along with increases in equipment costs and profiteering layers of lawyers hired to protect providers against malpractice suits. Of course, I would be remiss in not stating that my own industry's safeguards against generic equivilents being produced prior to "research and discovery" costs being recouped plays quite a role in maintaining the high cost of care as well. And the mention of lawyers controlling the system is a bit redundant since lawyers ARE the system. Millionaire lawyer to be precise. Ain't no po' folk elected to federal office. Agriculture isn't on the map in Washington, as the current state of farming will attest. Less than 2% of all farmers nationally are private, small business Mom & Pop Shops. The economic sag in the late 70's / early 80's brought an end to that, and now corporate farming, akin to the sharecropper days in the early 19th Century, is by far the rule, not the exception. So to say that aggies have much of a say isn't quite the case. But I agree that Big Pharma is as responsible as Big Oil for the current political dilemma. I will stand by the evidence that oil's roots run far deeper than pharma's, however. It's been that way since the 1870's, and it's not going to change without one helleva fight from the oil barons.

Re: H2 fuels

Iceland does have a natural advantage in geographic location, but that same geography is also the reason they're producing fuels internally. Refinery and transportation issues internally, and the cost of importing "finished goods" have been major contributing factors in driving their populace to spearhead this program. And why others have turned to electricity to drive the synthesis is simple; it's available, relatively cost effective in most areas, and basically it was the path of least resistance for instituting the research and production facilities required to begin the project. While not a physical or synthetic chemist (though I play one on the radio) my training in organic and biochemistries, and in biotechnology allow for me to state with most certainty that there are alternative methods to extracting hydrogen from water (and the air for that matter) that require little or no fossil fuel usage, the methods are clean and inexpensive to operate and maintain (that's a contributing factor as to why Iceland jumped on board so eagerly), and produce a high energy, clean burning fuel source, readily renewable (let's see oil companies response to this one!) and produces environmentally friendly byproducts (this one too!). I can't help it that industry, as usual, decided on the path of least resistance and is utilizing non-renewable fuels to produce a renewable one. From the business perspective it makes perfect sense, unfortunately. But it does seem to defeat the overall intent.

Re: CO2 emissions

I again agree that automobiles are only one step in the progression. You'll find precious few imports in my residence, excluding items that just aren't economically feasible to obtain here. I own as fuel efficient an America-made vehicle as I can put my family into, enjoy my walks where possible, and apologize that extended biking is no longer an option due to destroying my knees during my sports career. Walking is cool, even backpacking in the canyons, but oh man, that circular motion just KILLS me. Solar panels and windmills are either not practical or not allowed in my area however, otherwise I'd be all over it. I did when I lived in Utah, and I just LOVE watching my meter spin backwards!

Keep up the good lobbying Frank.


Glad to hear you have an open mind on the subject Frank. The American geology cabal are the same folks who made fun of Alfred Wegener and his silly notion of continental drift (plate tectonics) well into the late 1960's. (He proposed the theory in 1915 in a paper titled "The Origin of Continents and Oceans", which suggested an original unified landmass or “pangaea” more than 200 million years ago which separated into our present continents by what he called Continental Drift.). Did western geoscientists really think that the west coast of Africa fitting perfectly into the east coast of South America was a just mere coincidence? After reading Wegener didn't any of them have a globe handy in their office?

The American science establishment (hooked on federal government funding like helpless junkies) has been a hand maiden of the military-industrial complex, Big Pharma and Big Oil for way too long. It's time we all woke up and began to question the orthodoxies that are foisted on us by these puppets in lab coats.


I fought my former county of residence for years to create a safe way for the kids in our community to walk ACROSS THE STREET so they wouldn't have to be provided a bus. I am totally serious -- these kids live less than 100 feet from school property and they are given a big yellow diesel monster to help them across the street. At another elementary school nearby the bus literally pulled out of the school driveway, came to a stop, and let the kids out of the bus. The pervasive American mentality is that bicyclists and pedestrians are impediments to smooth traffic flow, and should be discouraged at all costs. Meanwhile the kids are getting fatter and fatter each year as parents whose kids ARE provided a bus drive them to school anyway. Some people will just never cut back, conserve, or heaven forbid SACRIFICE one iota unless they are forced to. At the local high school they decided that sophomores wouldn't be issued parking permits because of limited space, and guess who stormed the school office and board of education? The parents did. So now they have a nice new 75-spot lot where trees used to be so that kids who are provided a bus can drive instead. Are we all just insane or what?


Wow, Beamis. That's some interesting stuff. I like the part about the Saudi oil field extracted so far is the equivalent of a cube of dinosaurs 19 mi x 19 mi x 19 mi. Totally changed my thinking on the subject.


This is related article from today's headlines which I thought many of you may find very interesting: http://snipurl.com/1rhy9

As someone with a degree in physical geography I have always tended to believe that oil is primarily abiotic, but, like the Russian scientists cited in the article, have generally been laughed at by the conventional scientists in this hemisphere. It's worth a read.


To say that the oil industry controls the entire political system is a bit simplistic and overlooks a variety of other powerful interest groups such as heath care, pharmaceuticals, agriculture, lawyers, and so on.

I previously stated that "The answer lies not in alternative fuels . . . . The answer lies in less consumption of energy." This is is my opinion, but it's not derived from cynicism (i.e. "jaded"), but from a realistic assessment of the current world situation regarding alternative fuels.

I've read about hydrogen fuel, and Iceland seems to have a great start, especially since they use geothermal energy in the production of hydrogen fuel. However, hydrogen fuel elsewhere is produced using electricity generated from fossil fuels, so it too provides no real solution.

"automotive fuels ... get the majority of the blame for the global warning issue".

While autos may get most of the blame, they don't account for most of CO2. Automobiles account for about 40% of oil consumption in the US, hardly the majority. And transportation accounts for only 28% of total energy consumption. As for global warming, a recent study found that, on a planetary scale, ocean freighters emit more CO2 than automobiles. These freighters bring our clothing, cars, and cheap plastic goods across the vast Pacific and return with our natural resources and used plastic (oil) to be recycled (burned) in Asia.

Merryland,
I applaud your efforts and have taken similar steps. I urge you to consider, however, that our energy consumption, even given these efforts, is dramatically higher than of citizens of most other nations. (And this isn't a slam, but I'm guessing the electricity to power your mower comes from coal-burning power plants.)

Only 14% of our energy consumption comes from non-fossil fuel sources. While it might be possible to increase that percentage (by manufacturing--using fossil fuel energy--nuclear plants and wind turbines), I repeat that a real solution is conservation and reduction of energy consumption, and this can start today in each of our homes.


From 1995 to 2001 I was able to walk to work or work at home, which was nice... and for a year there I didn't even have a car. Since 2001 I've worked a four-day work schedule (10 hours each day) which has cut back my potential commuting by 20%. I also moved 5 miles closer to work two years ago (15 mile commute now 10) so that's another 33%. Also recently bought a Toyota Yaris to replace the Ford Exploder so I've doubled my gas mileage. That has been a great feeling to get rid of the SUV. We also moved from a 2500-sqft house in McMansiontown (which had very few sidewalks) to a 1600 sqft house, replaced all the single pane windows in our house with new energy efficient dbl panes, got rid of the old furnace, and switched to an electric mower which not only doesn't need gas or oil, but is much quieter than the old toe-chopper I used to push around. So after all that, I feel I have a right to blame the politicians for not doing enough.


Jim-

Nothing personal I assure you. Unfortunately for the locals, the general connotation associated with DC is political, not the tens of thousands of residents who make the area their home.

Frank-

If you haven't noticed by now, Big Oil interests control the political situation in this country. Not, as many people think, by control of imports, but instead, and much more subtly, by what is known in the business field as creating your own aftermarket, thereby locking your clientele into your products and the associated (and VERY lucrative) parts and service portion of the business. There is absolutely NO real interest in increasing fuel efficiency in automobiles; such could easily have been accomplished decades ago. Yes, I know overall MPG has increased nominally in recent years, mostly due the lighter materials being used in production, not so much directly related to any marvel of modern engineering directly pertaining to the internal combusion engine. And we are all footing the tab for this "efficiency" and supposed reduced overall fuel consumption with the increased costs in gasoline, diesel, heating oil, asphalt, urethanes, lubricating oils, automobile prices, and all other petroleum drived products, including your precious plastics. Food costs are raised due to the increase in fuel and transportation associated fees incurred with bringing goods to market. It becomes the classic give with one hand and take with the other, but the general public isn't supposed to be able to figure that out.

I disagree with your jaded view toward alternative fuel sources however. But in one aspect I feel you're quite correct......E85 and biodiesel are not the salvation of the world. But, having said that, for a truly environmentally friendly (or at least tolerable) automotive fuel source, and automotive fuels seem to be all the rage since they get the majority of the blame for the global warning issue, I suggest that you do a bit of reading on the hydrogen-based fuels. There are a good many pros.....high energy output, virtaully NO emissions of ANY kind, light weight, easily adapted to current engine designs and requirements, excellent mileage per unit wieght volume, particularly compared with fossil fuels, an abundance of easily obtainable raw materials, no more environmental issues with drilling, fouled waterways, refinery fires, interruptions in production due to hurricanes, and best of all, no FOREIGN INTERESTS controlling our ability to obtain the stuff! The problem is, switching to this fuel puts Big Oil and the Texas Good Ol' Boys network out of power, so what are the odds that it'll happen? Very good for somebody, but it won't happen in this country, not in our lifetime.


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