Our oil companies haven’t built a new oil refinery in this country for more than 30 years. Ever wonder why? We’ve sat by and let environmental activists dictate to us through their frivolous lawsuits and creating controversy to the point where we cannot build a new refinery.
Environmental regulations required for an oil company to construct a new facility are so complex and so cumbersome that the “Big Oil” companies won’t attempt it.
As I waited in the barber shop the other day, I picked up one of my favorite magazines, Popular Science. In it I read of a huge oil find in the Gulf of Mexico by Chevron of 15 billion barrels. The article went on to say that experts are estimating the reserves in the gulf total around 553 billion barrels.
After getting back to work, I began my search of oil finds in the past couple of years. In March 2006, Mexico announces it finds 10 billion barrels. In the National Ledger of April 6, 2006, Israel estimates it finds 484 million barrels. China in April finds 25 trillion cubic meters of natural gas, as reported by Bloomberg. Royal Dutch Shell says Nigerian reserves total in excess of 66 billion barrels. Estimates of worldwide oil reserves are guessed at 1.28 trillion barrels. Murphy Oil of Little Rock, Ark., finds 1 trillion cubic feet of natural gas off the coast of Malaysia. With oil oozing out of the ground, I wondered what is going on.
The number of exploratory wells is near a 10-year low. Something doesn’t smell quite right. Notice too in the paragraph above I mentioned nothing about the Alaska National Wildlife Refuge. So, without counting the oil in Alaska or off the coasts of California or Florida, we’ve got oil running out our collective ears. What gives?
Witness the clogged gasoline stations around the East Valley. Nearly every pump has a vehicle at it and is doing what I’m there for — putting gas or diesel in the tank. Diesel is near $4.25 per gallon, gasoline’s low grade is $4.09 and I continue to see monster trucks muscling their way through traffic like someone else is buying their fuel. So, it appears at least for the moment, fuel prices aren’t high enough to force people to change their driving habits.
What can “we” do? We could sit down and send an old-fashioned letter (or e-mail, or phone call) to our congressmen and tell them to get out of the way of progress and let the free market work as it’s supposed to. Tell them too that you’re tired of paying too much for a gallon of gas and to allow exploration in this country — and while you’re at it, tell them to cut the red tape and allow new refineries to be built, starting tomorrow!
We’ve 535 members of Congress, and nearly all of these individuals have caused the U.S. to rely on foreign oil to the point where a good portion of us cannot afford it. Tell them to fix it or we’ll fix them by throwing them out of office. Tell them to do what’s in the best interest of this country and not in “their” best interest.
Congress does have it within their power to fix it — we need to remind them.
Bob Hisserich is a Mesa resident.