AN OPEN LETTER TO PRESIDENT BUSH
Dear President Bush,
A crisis exists in our nation.
This letter is not about the crisis facing just
our schools or financial institutions, as real and serious as though problems
in fact are. This is a crisis which threatens us all, rich and poor, young and
At it's heart is the question of whether the
people of this nation and in truth around the world, can continue to expect
that the machine of industry can provide economic security for their families,
maintain their way of living, and enable themselves even to find food to put
on the tables of their children and other loved ones.
The crisis we are addressing within, is about
which road we will chose to take towards assuring a secure energy future to
power our economy and sustain our food supply.
We the undersigned believe our nation is at a
crossroads. One direction will take us down a path towards a future built on a
solid foundation of resources which are both abundant and sustainable. The
other will commit us to an inevitable collision between our growing demand for
food and energy and a forced reliance on finite resources which are
rapidly depleting and have become demonstrably unreliable, both with respect
to supply as well as the financial impact they represent for the people
who depend upon them.
It is no secret that available supplies of fossil
fuels are both volatile and finite. During the last twelve months alone, our
nation has watched in helplessness as the prices for gasoline and natural gas
more than doubled. Millions of our countryman are now forced to suffer without
recourse as the cost of electricity produced from these same fuels skyrockets
beyond the ability of many households to afford it.
It has been said, Mr. President, that "we
"eat oil". In truth, worldwide agriculture relies on the production
of nitrogen fertilizers produced from our dwindling stocks of petroleum. As
the most recent census shows, are population is increasing rapidly as is the
demand for food, both here and abroad. Absent an alternative, who will put the
food on the plates of the world if our remaining fossil fuels resources are
squandered on tasks which can just as well be handled by more abundant energy
The fact remains however, that regardless of the
direction of future short range movements in price, be it up or down, the
exploding worldwide demand for these resources threatens to outpace the
world's ability to produce or distribute them affordably. Still we indulge
ourselves, against all logic, in acting as if these same relics fuels created
hundreds of million years ago, will serve us dependably forever. In truth
though, Mr. President, we know better.
Recently concluded studies completed by The U.S.
Geological Survey (Open-File Report 00-320) reveal
that the end of the Age of Oil is now at hand. As early as the year 2005 but
most likely no later than 2020, the USGS report declares that we will
live to see the big "Rollover", as the affordable supply of oil no
longer is able to keep pace with the worldwide demand. At this point, fossil
fuels will become a "Seller's Market", and absent an
alternative, the consuming public will be held hostage forever. Still though,
the beat goes on.
The giant oil industry will not give up the reins
easily. Many within point to the Arctic and its priceless ecological
bounty as the best fix for our energy woes. There's black gold in those hills,
we are told. Enough oil to power an entire nation. These claims though,
are not supported by fact. Please consider the following realities:
- the U.S. consumes 8 billion barrels of oil
- the U.S. produces about 4 billion barrels of
oil annually, half from the lower 48 states, the rest is imported
- estimates of the recoverable oil in the Arctic
National Wildlife Refuge range from less than 4 billion barrels to 16
- if work were started today, the first barrel
of oil would probable not be extracted from the Arctic National Wildlife
Refuge for seven years
- the most optimistic estimates of the amount of
crude in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge show that the projected
reserves are inadequate to meet current demand in the U.S. for even two
- drilling for oil in the Arctic National
Wildlife Refuge can not bring about energy independence for the people
of this nation but will only lead us away from the true path
For decades, we have enjoyed a "buyers
market" for cheap oil which has now nearly run its course. In just a
few years, worldwide production will peak as it did in the lower 48 states
nearly two decades ago. From that point into perpetuity, it will no longer
matter how much oil remains beneath the tundra of Alaska or anywhere else on
the planet. The Age of Oil will end as the cost and benefit of continued
extraction slips beyond the means of national economies to exploit it as a
Mr. President, our addiction to fossil fuels knows
no bounds; it powers our industry, generates our electricity, fuels our
automobiles and aircraft, fertilizes our soil. When the next round of price
shocks come to our soil, abscent a viable alternative, who can be assured that
long lines at service stations won't later be accompanied with
disruption at the grocery counter, on the nation's power grids, at our
workplaces, and in our living rooms?
An energy plan that ignores these realities is a
plan for failure. America's continuing reliance on finite energy sources does
nothing to address the problems that every American sees already in
the nation's newspapers, on the radio, on the evening news, and with their own
eyes from the gas pump to the power grids; fossil fuels are no longer adequate
as a means of dependably powering our society.
It is time Mr. President, to confront the truth
and to boldly follow the only path that will save our energy driven culture
for our children and for today's prosperity. For people already struggling to
keep themselves warm in the winter and the millions more scrounging now to pay
their runaway electric bills, seven years is too long to wait. Real solutions
are needed which will add stability to our energy diet and will form the
bridge we need today to assure dependable, clean, and affordable energy
The real solutions are as cheap and abundant as
the sunlight in our skies, the wind in our faces, the fallen timber in our
forests, and the water in our oceans. We must learn to grow but grow
"smart", with efficient use of our resources and products. Please
enact an emergency rescue plan that will work today using resources that we
already control and can never run out of. Such a policy must provide for the
inclusion of the following resources:
- Solar Photovoltaic Electricity which can
reduce the the "Peak Time" drain on the nation's power grids in a
cost competitive way. In the State of California for example, the world's
6th largest economy, the cost per kWh of solar produced electricity is
substantially less than the wholesale price of conventionally produced power
as sold on the California Power Exchange. It is a sham and a scandal that
solar powered electricity production comprises anything less than 20% of our
overall national production.
- the use of wind powered electric generation
can play a major role in supplementing the production of electric power
nationwide for less than 10 cents per kWh
- New technologies which are emerging abroad
which enables the non invasive harnessing of tidal power to produce
electricity at rates compatible with fossil fuel production today.
- Biomass already on the ground from agriculture
and forestry which can be efficiently and cleanly converted to electricity
at consumer prices comparable to conventionally produced power
- the efficient use of our existing power
resources which can alone can produce an energy savings equivalent to the
energy embodied in all the fuels we now instead import from foreign sources
The need for cheap and abundant energy has in the
past been the cause of war. Tomorrow after our precious shores and countryside
are littered by the construction of trillions of dollars of exploding
pipelines, leaky supertankers, burning refineries, and thousands of tons of
pollutants, we will still be left far from our goal of
controlling our own energy destiny. Policies which rely on the affordable
availability of fossil fuels, whatever their source, will only lead us ultimately
to empty well heads and broken hearts.
Our future can only be based on a solid
foundation, predicated on the prudent use of resources which we can not be
embargoed and which we can never run out of. It has long been said that the
use of renewable energy sources is a good idea. Now though Mr. President,
its a necessity.
The staggering costs needed to build a new
pipeline system for natural gas will ultimately be born by the public. History
will only remember it as the latest case of tail wagging dog. Please
don't ask us to spend trillions to reinvent, for a fleeting period, a
fossil legacy which our creator chose instead to bury in peace, safely within
the bowels of our only planet, to rest forever.
Let's put truth and common sense before the short
term profits of a few to be paid for ultimately, over the long term, by the
already struggling many.
Let's put food in front of pollution as we develop
an agriculture which can survive beyond petroleum.
Let's leave the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge
as the timeless national treasure it really is.
your signature to our online Petition!