Mom & Dad save the world
My parents still take President Bush seriously. In the absence of an Alzheimer's diagnosis, I have concluded that their mental processes have been clogged by a steady diet of faux facts from Fox News and talk radio. When Bush used his famous oratorical skills to call on Congress to cooperate with his proposal to drill for oil in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge, Mom and Dad cheered. The oil underneath ANWR, you see, is the answer to our energy problems:
“We have all the oil we need up in Alaska,” declared my mother. If only ANWR were opened up for use by American oil companies, our national dream of energy independence would be realized overnight.
Interesting. I asked Mom where she got this information. She advised me that it was general knowledge. I asked if she knew how much oil had actually been found in ANWR.
That's quite reassuring, I admit.
Dad was angry at the Senate Democrats for blocking ANWR oil exploitation. I've heard this complaint before, back in December, when a Democratic filibuster defeated an effort by Sen. Ted Stevens of Alaska to attach an Arctic Refuge drilling amendment to the defense appropriations bill. Dad pointed out that gas prices would be much lower right now if the Senate has enacted the Stevens amendment last year. For someone who routinely scoffs at government, my father has a powerful selective ability to believe in instant gratification. Even our lameduck president has never been so bold as to predict instantaneous relief from high oil prices: “The Department of Energy estimates that ANWR could allow America to produce about a million additional barrels of oil every day.... It would likely mean lower gas prices.”
That sounds like a lot of oil. How much oil does the U.S. use every day?
According to the U.S. Department of Energy, the nation uses nearly 21 million barrels every day. The president therefore suggested that ANWR could provide perhaps 5% of our current oil consumption. And that's not taking into account the likelihood of increasing demand.
No, ANWR is not the solution to our problems, even assuming that the estimated million barrels a day is even possible.
Did my parents know ANWR's estimated production capacity? Did they know how much oil the U.S. uses every day? No. And no. But Fox News and the president say the Arctic Refuge can solve our problems. Why won't I accept that?
I could be paying too much attention.