Will the day come when that will change – I hope so. Indeed, when it does and free market forces are allowed to operate, the price of oil and gas will drop and thus will be even more competitive. Life really isn’t as simple as some make it out to be. It doesn’t have to be either/or. It can be a combination of scrubbed coal, low sulfur oil, methane, wind, solar, hydrogen and things we haven’t yet thought about.
It is important to note, however, that if we no longer drilled for and produced oil and gas our life styles would change. There are about two gallons of petroleum in every tire on our automobiles and it doesn’t matter if they are electric (thus plug into an outlet that receives power from coal-burning, oil burning or gas burning power plants at this time) or powered by diesel or gasoline. Each time we take a prescribed pill (seems to happen more as we age) we are acknowledging our dependence on natural gas – the feedstock used to manufacture many of our prescribed medicines as well as to manufacture steel. And, if that isn’t reason enough to acknowledge our dependence on fossil fuels, consider that plastic and much of the fiber used to make our clothing is petroleum based.
It’s time to have an honest dialog about our energy future and stop demanding that our position of “for” or “against” prevail and start focusing on the “how”. How can we further reduce emissions from burning fossil fuels in the near-term and how can we develop renewable energy sources that can compete with them in the market place. Our environmental and economic futures demand that we do.
MIKE ZAGATA is a former state Department of Environmental Conservation commissioner, Ruffed Grouse Society president and oil company executive.