No Foreign ORE! Wait, I mean OIL…or is it ORE? Dang it.

So, we’ve all heard that we need to get off foreign oil.  I know you’ve seen those snazzy bumperstickers “No war for oil.” Gee, I’ve always wanted a political platform that could fit on a bumpersticker.  Ooh! Okay, mine’s gonna be “Shut up, stupid!”

Now, I’m sure that with all the saturation of these clever phrases and the current theater of war you all think our oil comes solely from the middle east. Well, that’d be wrong-o. And in case you don’t believe me, here is a snippet from pbs.org :                                        

Oil Imports
Where does America get all the oil it needs? The U.S. imports roughly half the total — over ten million barrels of crude oil a day. Canada is the top source, at nearly 1.8 million barrels. Mexico, Saudi Arabia, Nigeria, and Venezuela are numbers two through five, each exporting more than one million barrels a day. Angola, Iraq, Colombia, Kuwait and Algeria round out the top ten; each exports between 273,000 to 641,000 barrels a day.

 

That’s from here: http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/amex/pipeline/peopleevents/e_consumption.html

Now, you also may have heard something about the oil we have here in the U.S. There’s a lot in Alaska and the Gulf of Mexico. But we don’t want to go get it.  Now, that’s a headscratcher to me.  Seems like if you want to start getting off foreign oil, you might want to get it done domestically. Just sayin’.

See, but the argument of foreign oil is slightly misstated.  Yes, there are loud groups out there who want to get us off foreign oil, but the bumpersticker crowd really wants of oil. Just oil.  They want alternative energy. Wind, solar, hydro, geothermal, smart cars, hybrids that run on ethanol, biodiesel, rechargeable batteries, gerbils in wheels… But not the alternative that makes the most sense: nuclear. It’s the most efficient, we have the technology to utilize it, and it is safe (no matter what they screech). Hey, France is doing it, and while that is not necessarily a selling point for me, it seems to be for a lot of people in other arenas such as foreign policy and healthcare and the like. Now, two of the reasons people don’t want nuclear power is because you have to mine uranium and then store the spent uranium. They don’t like it.  Not in their backyard, they tout.  Well, If I had any uranium in my yard I’d let ya dig it up and when you were done using it I’d store it in my freezer for you. Heck, I’m sure that’d be a lot safer than some fresh Gitmo realeasee in my backyard. But, that’s another blog.

So, we don’t like mining and storing uranium…or coal….or copper….or pretty much anything. 

What does that have to do with foreign oil? you ask. M’kay: We have established 1. We don’t like mining and it’s byproducts. 2. We want off oil. There is a huge push for electric cars to jusmpstart this foreign oil thing.  (We won’t talk about what other things we use oil for like industry, home heating and cooking, and making plastic).  The President has even set a goal that by 2016 cars will get at least 35 mpg(even the smart car for two doesn’t get that in the city, check it’s website).  Personally, I can’t wait til we are all driving vehicles made of balsa wood that run on cow farts (which I believe is the true alternative energy source).  No doubt he, and others, would like to see that goal accomplished with prius and smart car type things.

There are the obvious practical problems.  For instance, the smart car is not a family car and the Prius cannot accommodate larger families, or even a smaller family of 3-4 and their daily needs, especially if you throw in Rover and Fido and, what’s that ya say? You’d like to take a roadtrip to Grandma’s…..yeah right.  Oh, and they’re ugly. But on a more serious note, there is the unintended consequence. If we go Prius style there is the problem of the battery.

The battery is made of NiMH cells (Nickel metal hydride). Nickel is one of the pesky metals that has to be mined – you know, as opposed to the ones floating around in the air or growing on trees. We established that we are not big mining fans here in the U.S. (I’m using we in broad, other side, more like them sense, cause I like me a good mine and a heapin’s pile-o-tailings). Well, I guess we’ll have to get that Nickel from somewhere else.  Hmm, I guess that means going foreign. Dang it. Would you like to know which country currently produces the most nickel? I thought so.  It’s Russia. Russia also has the highest yielding nickel mine.http://www.infomine.com/commodities/nickel.asp Has a lot of nickel info including the top nickel mining countries and while Australia and Cananda are on the list so are China, Cuba, and Colombia. And once we get that stuff out of the ground and make the batteries that we one day will have to throw away, where will we put them? Can’t bury nuclear waste at Yucca mountain, And those twisty lightbulbs are full of mercury so if you break one it takes a hazmat team to clean it up, I’m pretty sure we won’t be able to toss them in the ocean.  Well, I guess when the battery in your prius dies you can just turn it in to a nice lawn decoration or a festive holiday center piece – I’m sure Martha will come up with some smashing ideas.

Is one energy better than the other in terms of foreign policy and trade relations and scary dictators with bad clothes and ugly eyewear? You decide.  The point is that if we won’t even go get our own oil, we certainly won’t mine any nickel on U.S. soil. And I’d also like you to think about what people mean when the say “foreign” oil. To me, foreign is foreign: from another land that is not this country.  But I never see any bumper stickers about bad Canadian oil.  So is foreign just when they don’t speak english? because I thought only us jingoistic righty conservatives were like that (sarcasm) not the peace and love and tolerance lefties.

Look, all I’m saying is that you have to think.  Think about practicality, unintended consequences, and what is actually good for us. Don’t just stop at the end of the bumper sticker. And if you just can’t manage that, at least the bumper sticker will be easy to fix, just turn the “L” into and “E”, and if you try really hard you can cram the loop and leg on the “I” to make and “R”. ‘Cause I know you’ve got the Sharpies lying around from making all your protest signs.

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