(Updated 11:30 a.m. on the automobile industry bailout)
One of the resources oft-mentioned as potentially existing in large quantities off the coast of Virginia is natural gas, and exploration for that resource is one step closer to reality as the Minerals Management Service (MMS) announced yesterday that they would begin selling drilling rights.
As early as 2011, companies could begin extracting the resource for our energy needs here at home.
If you have been following the energy debate at all, you would know that natural gas falls in quite nicely with the “Pickens Plan“. This is the energy plan that has been put forward by billionaire T. Boone Pickens.
Pickens says that our biggest consumer of foreign oil and gasoline is the trucking and shipping industry. He claims that large vehicles cannot run effectively on battery power, such as hybrids. However, he does say they will run well on natural gas. Therefore, with an abundance of natural gas in the U.S., he proposes we can achieve Obama’s plan to import no more oil from the Middle East in 10 years if we convert our trucking over to natural gas.
With the federal government now taking the first steps towards drilling, perhaps we are on our first steps to energy independence.
Unfortunately, it looks like liberal interest groups might have the last say.
Gov. Tim Kaine is taking a weak approach, of course. By saying, effectively, “We’ll see what the Obama administration does.”
And, not surprisingly, the Sierra Club continues their opposition by saying any fossil fuels damage the environment.
Because Obama (along with Sen.-elect Mark Warner and Rep.-elect Glenn Nye) was initially opposed to offshore drilling early in his campaign, and only reversed course when prices went up this summer, the group feels Obama could change tack again.
Virginia is the only state where the MMS has begun this process.
One additional thing to consider is how this all ties into the automobile industry bailout.
According to The Heritage Foundation’s blog, “The Foundry”, they state that the surest way to ensure the auto industry retools to build vehicles, such as natural gas and hybrid, is to allow them to go bankrupt.
The biggest loser in an auto industry bankruptcy is not an auto industry company, or even the shareholders, argues THF, but the unions.
When bankruptcy is claimed, all the union contracts and benefits packages would be up for renewal…meaning the automobile companies might be able to become competitive again.
So, it will be any wonder if drilling for natural gas or any other kind of alternative power can come to bear when it is opposed by so many special interest groups, such as Unions and environmentalists.
Between drilling and not bailing out the auto industry, we might actually make progress on energy independence. But with Obama (et al) owing so much of their elections to these special interests, will they even be able to lead on this issue?