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LJWorld.com weblogs Science Becoming Religion

Tell Congress Authorize Drilling Now

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We need to tell our Representatives and our Senators who are running for reelection this year we won't vote for them unless they vote to authorize drilling for oil in Alaska, off shore, in national parks and in my back yard. I doubt that anyone would want to drill for oil in my backyard, but Congress shouldn't prevent oil companies from drilling for oil where ever it may be.Drilling for new oil is part of the solution for the emerging fuel shortage. Another part is development of alternative biofuels.Backward Democrats oppose drilling for new oil because it might take 10 years for new wells to produce oil. The amount of time required to produce oil is the reason Congress must authorize drilling now. If Democrats had authorized drilling the last time they controlled the White House and Congress in the early 90's, oil prices wouldn't have gone up so fast this year. Drilling new wells might take 10 years, but replacing technology that relies on oil would take 20 to 30 years. Wealthy members of Congress who can buy any new technology that comes out don't understand that most of us cannot do so. Americans own 197 million motor vehicles (including motorcycles). New vehicle sales are only projected to be grow to about 18 million per year in 2017. Many of those sales are to first time owners (especially youth) or to buyers who are purchasing an extra vehicle for specialized use such as an RV for weekends.Motor vehicles aren't the only users of petroleum products. Residents of northeastern states use fuel oil to heat their homes. Petroleum is used for plastics, asphalt pavement and other purposes including lubricants.Increased production of biofuels will eventually reduce the need for petroleum, but not eliminate it within the next few decades. Congress should encourage production of biofuels by funding research or encouraging use of developed technology.For example, Congress can prohibit states from blocking construction of new clean coal electric generating plants that include algae reactors. Congress should consider requiring new coal plants to have algae reactors. Algae can provide a much more productive source of biofuels than food crops. Glen Kertz president and CEO of Valcent Products says that algae can produce 100,000 gallons of oil per acre compared to 30 gallons of oil from corn and 50 gallons per acre from soybeans. Processes such as thermal depolymerization can convert biowastes (including paper) and plastics to a synthetic oil. Companies such as Changing World Technologies are already converting biowastes to oil. Congress should consider eventually requiring companies that produce biowastes to have those wastes converted to oil or other purposes. Once the technology is sufficiently developed, Congress could prohibit cities, especially larger cities, from disposing of material in landfills that can be converted to usable oil.

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