The Times Looks For Friends In All the Wrong Places

The New York Times has staunchly tried to defend the Democrats’ refusal to develop America’s energy resources. Yesterday, they thought they had discovered an ally in Texas oilman Boone Pickens. Thus, in an editorial titled T. Boone Pickens Rides the Wind, the paper encouraged the Bush administration to follow Pickens’ policy prescriptions on energy:

T. Boone Pickens, the legendary wildcatter and corporate raider, has decided that drilling for more oil is not the answer to the nation’s energy problems. President Bush should listen to his fellow Texan and longtime political ally.

The Times likes–or pretends to like, anyway–Pickens’ proposal to build a giant string of windmills from Canada to Mexico. No doubt, if such a scheme were actually on the table, the Times would oppose it. For now, though, all the paper cares about is that Pickens is against “drilling our way out of” the present petroleum shortage.

Only he isn’t. On the contrary, Pickens told CNN that neither Presidential candidate has gone far enough in advocating the exploitation of our domestic oil resources:

BLITZER: What about drilling offshore? There’s a debate. As you know, McCain says, yes, go ahead and drill off the coasts of Florida and California. Obama says, no.

You’re an oilman. What do you say?

PICKENS: OK. McCain says, OK off the East and West Coasts. I say East, West Coast and ANWR. Get it all. I mean, to get off of foreign oil, that is the enemy. Get everything you can get. You cannot drill your way out of it. But you’re drilling, and whatever you are able to find and put into the domestic system will help us. But you — you aren’t going to be able to find enough to take care of all the imports that we have.

BLITZER: What about nuclear?

PICKENS: Nuclear, fine, do it. Anything in America, do it, and get off of foreign oil.

So, for once the Times gets it right: John McCain should listen to Boone Pickens. What Pickens endorses is the “all of the above” approach that represents the consensus of Congressional Republicans. It’s true that he says our domestic production can’t fully replace imported oil, but that’s not an argument against drilling. Nuclear power and windmills can’t fully replace imported oil, either.

For what it’s worth, though, I don’t see any reason why we shouldn’t be able to expand our domestic production so that if we want to, we can get 100% of our petroleum from domestic sources, rather than the current 30%. Our vast shale oil reserves alone are enough to fuel domestic needs for many years.

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