by James R. Campbell
Does anybody remember the oil embargo of the seventies? Those of us who lived in that period remember it. The Arab nations stopped selling oil to the United States because of our support for Israel during the Yom Kippur war of 1973.
The effects were wide-ranging; the speed limit was reduced from seventy miles an hour to fifty-five on our highways, and the cost of gasoline increased as demand outstripped supply. In 1971, the price of a gallon of gas was 36 cents a gallon, in 1974, it was 53 cents a gallon.
Currently, we have an oil surplus in the United States. Those in the industry with foresight have set aside oil in reserve in case of a national emergency. And there is a movement for greater exploration at home. The instability of the Middle East, with its vast oil reserves, deems it necessary.
One of the safest and most efficient ways of getting oil and National gas from one place to another is by pipeline. One Dallas-based company, Energy Transfer Partners, has been busy with construction of a pipeline that stretches from the United States to Mexico. The Keystone XL pipeline would run from Canada in to Mexico through the U.S.
The pipeline has been the subject of nationwide protests, a coalition of Native Americans and environmentalists have joined forces to stop it, based on their concerns about environmental damage and the desecration of Sacred burial ground held by Native Americans. Some of the Protests in North Dakota have turned violent; at one point, protesters were subjected to Pepper spray and attacks from German Shepherds that were unleashed in an effort to drive the protesters away.
Here in West Texas, the Big Bend region is under threat because of the Transpecos pipeline, which would run from a place near Odessa in to Mexico. This pipeline would transfer one point three billion cubic feet of natural gas a day. Many believe that the gas would be sold to Japan in light of the Tokyo government’s decision to shut down Japanese nuclear power plants in lieu of the March 11, 2011 cataclypse at the Fukashima facility. There are many who don’t think the benefit of this pipeline is worth the effect it could have on a pristine place such as the Big bend region.
Most people are frightened of nuclear power, with good reason. There are exceptions; one TV evangelist from Arkansas has stated that we need at least sixty nuclear power plants in this country. I hardly think so.
First, we stop buying oil from foreign countries to the tune of $700000000000 a year. Much of this money winds up in the hands of countries that hate our guts, and thus it goes to terrorist organizations. How much would we accomplish if we invested that money in renewable energy resources instead? The two most viable options; wind and solar power. I do understand that development is in its infancy, but we will never get where we need to be if we squander our money buying oil from our enemies. The other great news, renewable energy would be clean, and not cause problems for the environment. Food for thought to pass on down the line.
As always, thanks for your time.
About the Author
James R. Campbell, 61, is poet and writer living with total blindness. He has a Bachelor’s in psychology. He has written articles for the Matilda Ziegler Magazine and Consumervision. A a member of Behind our Eyes, Campbell has three poem collections on CD. They can be downloaded at Recordinglibrary.org. In his free time, he likes cooking, playing harmonica, reptiles, and keeping up with current events.