Unintended consequences of the national energy policy

February 6, 2023


On day one in office, our President Biden cancelled the Keystone Pipeline and set the tone for our national energy policy and his entire administration.

The energy companies got the message. They knew that new leases would be difficult to secure, and if they did, the regulatory headwinds were not in their favor. They also saw the pressure the administration put on big lending institutions to limit capital to large energy companies unless they had green energy incorporated into their expansion plans.

There’s a reason these companies have been around for a long time. They are smart and strategic. They shifted their paradigm and curtailed their expansion plans, paid down debt, and returned more to shareholders. This has created a reduced supply when demand has increased. This in turn has increased prices to consumers.

Increased prices have help drive a big portion of inflation. Everything we touch, digest, or experience involves fossil fuels. The increase will also slow down and drive up the cost of our transition to green energy. This transition involves mining, transportation, manufacturing, and building the new green infrastructure.

Instead of having a sane gradual transition to clean/green energy with a sound policy, this administration has failed the American citizens. The poor and middle class are suffering from the high prices, we’ve lost our national energy security, and we’re asking countries who despise us and are environmentally irresponsible to produce more energy for us.

We need to eventually transition to a cleaner way of living, but let’s do it responsibly without having the American taxpayer go broke.

Paul C. Hertel is an Arroyo Grande resident.

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We don’t have a national energy strategy where the government sets pricing and policy, we have a free market that trades oil on the world market for corporate profit. Nothing wrong with this, but Saudi Arabia and the other OPEC nations on the other hand do have a National strategy

We can supply a lot of oil (we lead the world) with fracking technology we’ve developed, but we do so with a cost of approximately $68 a barrel. OPEC’s cost is about $20 a barrel to produce. When gas prices fell dramatically a few years back it was because OPEC dumped a ton of oil onto the world market. Why? To drive out our producers who only make money when it is above $68 a barrel. We, for profit oil companies, curtailed our production because it wasn’t profitable to do so at the time. It has very little to do with leasing rights. It didn’t make sense to pull it out of the ground a few years ago. Now it does. Ramping up up our oil production takes time.

BTW—Biden’s released oil from our strategic supply to the world market at the high point of futures market, and resupplied the reserves at the low point. It resulted in a profit of $4 billion to the taxpayers.

Nobody’s going broke in this transition. It will happen gradually over the next 25 years.

By 1923, roughly 20 years after Ford began producing the Model T, there were virtually no horses left in the cities, and by the 30’s they were totally gone other than dude ranches in the West.

The same will happen now. By 2040, the Pilot and Love’s stations will be full of cars hooked up to charging stations rather than gas pumps.

Notice that the wealthiest Americans are already driving Teslas and other EV’s. The middle class will flow.

Who are these smart scientists that think we can stop using fossil fuel right now with no problems? How do you measure gas&oil flow on computer to show where it contaminated everything? Yes we needed to do a lot of things different in the past but now is now so we need to blend the two together and we as a country have done more to help curb climate change at a great cost to us and most of the other countries are not

OK, not exactly sure why you might not comprehend how someone who has actually been to a lot of oil fields might be able to see massive contamination that exists in plain sight, but then, perhaps you are judging me by your own levels of perception.

Also, it is inaccurate to say that “other countries” (unspecified) have not addressed climate change. But would that actually even matter, given that “well, they aren’t doing it” is an irresponsible child’s answer to a very urgent adult problem? I would think that as the country that ramped up our per capita consumption sooner and for more of our population than almost any other country, we should be demonstrating leadership in the fight to turn this ongoing disaster around before we reach the point of no return. If you care, that is. We don’t have time to coddle fossil fuel barons by allowing them to continue to ream us financially and constantly caving to their demands for more oil leases, etc., They already hold at least 9,000 fully approved but undeveloped leases. Does that sound like they need more in order to attend to their obligations to us now?

I realize it makes you (and many others) more comfortable to imagine we are doing “a lot” or more than other countries to curb a problem that we did the most to create in the first place and telling “comfortable” stories about our history and policies is very “in” with certain circles these days, but that does not change our actual history and we could be doing a great deal more. The sooner the better. Not just a matter of “opinion”, scientific fact.

As far as the title of the article upon which these comments are based, I find the title extremely disingenuous. There is absolutely no chance that the financial effects of the current policies that are being implemented were not foreseen. Let’s chalk it up to a confidence in the American People’s ability to respond with courage and ingenuity to a problem that we must solve in a very limited timeframe. Just as we have before.

I would tend to agree with the general consensus about how we still “need” fossil fuels and never-ending expansion of our finite resource extraction, were it not for a few key factors I have not seen mentioned. That would be the fact that these companies, privately owned whilst profiting from our national reserves, are logging RECORD PROFITS. That’s right. They have monopolies on most of the means of energy generation, such as municipal gas and electricity, most affordable cars and are, as the result, still holding on to that control of our lives and livelihoods. Smart? If all you care about is personal profit, perhaps. Ethical? NO.

These providers knew that their emissions were causing climate change for many decades and outright lied to the public about that downside to allowing them to operate at a massive profit, at our expense. How do I know this? In 1970, I attended a lecture, given by a university in New Orleans, regarding this very issue. The presenters were six gentlemen, half of them scientists from the university and half were scientists employed by the OIL COMPANIES. They described exactly the changes in our climate and the timetable in which we have experienced since that day. The guys from the oil companies told us that day that they expected to lose their jobs (very lucrative ones, by the way) for sharing that information, but they considered it too important not to tell us.

Since then, I have attempted to convince people that what they were being told by climate change deniers was obviously false, that these companies knew what they were doing to cause it and that we had to change to renewables. But few if anyone took it seriously. There was always a reason to put off transitioning. Oil companies have spent untold billions holding on to their monopolies and convincing those who are comfortable in their old ways that change is stupid, So, here we are.

I had a husband (long since an ex) in computers that measured gas and oil flow. I saw first- hand how recklessly oil companies polluted the land, the water tables, the ocean with impunity, because they bought off politicians and were considered “essential”. Their only concern was profit. Period. They even bragged about how they were buying up alternative energy patents and shelving them so that they would still control things when oil was gone. Some commentor mentioned how everything we do revolves around fossil fuel usage. Are those kinds of people really who you want controlling your lives?

There are scientists who are sure we can already do away with fossil fuels now. At the very least, we can be making a solid start. Improvements to tech are happening every day. We should have started this 40 or 50 years ago or more. Even if it is hard, really hard, we need to do it now. Not just for ourselves, but for the generations that will come after us if we don’t just drag our feet or try to kick this can down the road yet again.

There will be plenty of “down” votes on this, but given my background, it is more of a reflection on them, so they should feel free.

Petroleum is unlimited depending how much one wants to pay to extract. The reserves that are shown are proven or probable reserves, an accounting concept. Pay more money, invest more in exploration, reserves go up. Saudi Arabia and other national oil companies control prices. The private oil companies are along for the ride. And, yes, they want us to continue our dependence.

How could oil possibly be “unlimited”? Ultimately, demand controls prices. I would certainly agree that they want us to continue our dependence. Since I am currently -8 on my comment, it is quite apparent that there are other people who prefer it that way as well. For the life of me and our planet, I cannot imagine any other reason than that they own stock.

Those days when we could have gently blended sources and taken our time to transition have blown completely by, due to so many people being more comfortable with a lie about our situation and an addiction on the part of those profiting from the whole cycle.

-8 … They like ICE vehicles as do I, but used in moderation.

I don’t understand why plant life isn’t taking off with all the CO2 available.

Everyone I’m sure will agree we need to have different energy sources than fossil fuels but it needs to be done in a way that it blends both together instead of abruptly cancelling fossil fuels before you get a good alternate in place and it doesn’t put the US citizen in debt and without heat or power choices. Ca wants to ban natural gas use in the state is as stupid as you can get as it’s a cleaner burning fuel that millions use and you don’t nor will you ever have the electric grid to fill the gap at a cost people can afford. Right now I would guess there is not a house in PG&E /Ca area that pays under $125 a month for electricity . The oil companies are and always will be smarter than the government as is obviouse now you see government tried to shut them down they regrouped and made record profits and consumer paid for it no climate change improvement .Government always shoots themselves in the foot because they think they are the smartest around when they are the dumbest

Actually, I have a PG&E bill every month and my current statement is under $40. I have all the usual gadgets: microwave, toaster oven, refrigerator, TV, etc., even an electric dryer. I try to hang my clothes out whenever I can, I turn lights out when not in use, I use appliances when the rate is low (avoiding 4 – 9 p.m.) due to the contribution of solar power to our grid.

I am not just telling other people how to live; I am doing what I am suggesting others do and have been all of my life. I am even learning to do without using gas to cook, a big one for me. What I have discovered is that induction cooking, which is electric and based on magnetism, is actually superior, and kind of fun. I never would have guessed that. But I’m learning. Learning is exactly what we all need to do now.

Natural gas is not actually cleaner. That propaganda is right up there with nuclear power that would be “too cheap to meter”. If you still believe that gas is clean, you are not in touch with the facts of methane production and the amount that is leaking into our atmosphere at alarming rates from just about every place that natural gas has been obtained, both currently in operation and those long since left for us to clean up. This applies to the common use of it as well, along with pipelines and storage facilities.

The faster we, as citizens, can make these adjustments, the less regulations, etc., will be necessary to make a timely transition away from a number one cause of war in the world today and the major contributors to climate decline. We can do this.

Americans should be willing to pay the price to have a clean healthy environment for ourselves and future generations. It’s foolish to be pennypinching when it comes to having a safe and healthy environment. It’s often the people who spend lavishly on selfish and necessary crap that are most hesitant to pay a few dollars here and there to keep our community and our environment healthful.

Don’t think the majority of Americans are penny pinching because when you have more tax’s and bills to pay than money you make it’s not penny pinching it’s trying to survive

Concisely stated, bravo. U.S. and California’s energy policy needs to include petroleum production, as part of the mix.  How and what are solar panels and wind turbines made from?  What powers backup generators? What is part of the industrial manufacturing process for everything? Petroleum.

Environmentalists need to be on planet reality, with a solid plan that includes the carbon footprint of third world countries, not some impractical vision. We are in a climate crises and have no time for make believe.

As for the Keystone Pipeline, there are petroleum pipelines everywhere. Is it so much better to transport petroleum by truck or rail? So much nonsense over a pipeline.

The pipeline would save a lot of your so called causers of climate change being veh exhaust so I think by stopping it and continuing using trucks and rails you contradict your self

I am arguing that a pipeline is better than rail or truck transport.

We should be utilizing every source of energy available to us, including fossil fuels and nuclear power, as we slowly, methodically & intelligently wean off some sources and build up the architecture of others. The concept “Diversity is our Strength”, we are told, is hugely beneficial in shaping a robust and vibrant culture and society. Likewise, it is said diversification is the key to prudent financial investing. Why, then, are politicians hellbent on a crash diet of energy production consisting primarily of solar & wind? A non-diverse energy supply means we’ll have a less robust, less resilient and less secure energy generation capability. The result is a fragile system that will be limited, dangerous, and provides fewer options to the marketplace. The reality is that renewables won’t even come close to meeting the energy demands of our ever-growing U.S. population while simultaneously achieving the pipedream of zero CO2 emissions. A broad array of available energy sources and methods are vital to everyone’s future prosperity, security, and quality of life.

Well said Mr. Hertel. I’ll bet tomorrow nights address by the president, the “ United” will be full of lies and revisionist history, along with condemnation of half the electorate who did not vote for him.

Least you agree Biden is the elected President, many don’t. Look at the speech positively, probably will be a mixed bag.

Americans may strongly disagree, but should not condemn each other over who they vote for (been conned enough in my time to know better than that).

Exceptions being those that advocate political violence; deny, without creditable evidence, the validity of free and fair elections; and limit or make inconvenient voting. Those actions should be condemned by all. Democracy before partisanship.

Yes it will be a total Bullshit session as this government doesn’t care about you or the country