George Wuerthner confronts the “Drill, baby, Drill” mantra with real energy conservation solutions.  George has fired up a new blog which will include his essays of the past as well as those currently under construction.  Check it out :

Drill, baby, DrillWuerthner on the Environment

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Brian Ertz

24 Responses to Drill, baby, Drill

  1. Wolfy says:

    Perhaps the best example that the “drill here-drill now” crowd could offer up would be to drill in Washington, DC. We could put an oil derrick in the front lawn of the white House. There could be an oil refinery on the congressional square and a big Exxon billboard on the Washington Monument.

    Seriously, we cannot fix our current energy crisis by repeating the same mistakes in a bigger and faster way. What is needed is a revolution in thought. If it wasn’t for the innovation and courage of a couple brothers a little over 100 years ago, we may not be flying today. The Wright brothers did not wait until the railroad and automobile mega-corporations of the time offered up a flying machine. They saw the possibilities and made it happen themselves. They created a revolution in thinking.

    The same goes for a couple of computer hackers in the early 70’s. They saw the potential for having personal computers in the home; instead of everyone relying on a huge, corporate owned mainframe. They actually put the first personal computers together the way the Wright brothers built the first airplane, in their garage.

    The best and most enduring innovations have come from folks that not only see problems ahead, but opportunities to make life better. And they started from the grass roots and moved upwards. Change has to come from the masses. We need to re-think our roles as consumers and view ourselves as stewards.

    After all, if we had let the car or oil companies design the first personal computers, we would have diesel-powered abacuses that rust out in 5 years and cost around a million dollars each.

  2. Barb says:

    Once companies get too big, I think they lose their originality and sense of adventure, entrepreneurship, especially if they are turning out a high volume product like cars or even oil.

    I feel grateful to live in this great entrepreneurial state of Colorado — the National Renewable Energy Labs is a very forward thinking organization, employing people from all races and ethnicities — I think they are going to be doing some really great things in the future for this county.

  3. Barb says:

    But Wolfy, please don’t be too hard on the auto companies. 🙂

    I am actually originally from the Detroit area and very familar with the auto industry. It’s hard to deal with labor unions, fickle consumer demand, government regulations, stockholders, competition from foreign automakers who actually have privileges tax -wise, I could go on and on.

    They do get stuck in their manufacturing rut — it is highly demanding — high pressure — as they are in a high volume production environment. They need someone or something to shake them out of it.

    It also takes quite a while to change all the tooling and re-engineer designs. American cars now are actually some of the best built cars in the world for safety and reliability. Ford, GM, and Chrysler had been churning out SUV’s as that is where the market demand was. They’re in business to make money. Then, in a heartbeat — boom — it changed. You can’t change 100’s of manufacturing plants in many different countries overnight. Consumers started demanding more fuel efficient models.

    They do rise to the occasion but it takes more time than people realize.

    Our legislation needs to help assist big companies in modernizing — I think Obama would put a lot of money and focus on sustainable energy. I don’t think the “Palin-McCain” ticket would. (as she referred to it– freudian slip)

  4. jimbob says:

    I may be repeating myself on this, but what people fail to see or point out is EVEN IF we drill everywhere and find oil, that oil will go on the international market! It will not reduce the price we Americans pay for gasoline. Anybody trust the oil companies to do what’s good for our country over their bottom-line profit? I don’t! They want tax breaks, government subsidies, repeals of environmental laws, etc. and still we pay through the nose! The environmental compromise is not worth allowing oil companies more access. Alternative energy is needed now! Put together a Nasa-like organization to come up with substitutes for oil within the next ten years! It can be done!

  5. Barb says:


    I don’t know how familiar you are with this issue, but that NASA -like organization already exists.

    It’s called NREL. The National Renewable Energy Labs based out of Golden, CO.

  6. Barb says:

    Check ’em out! I know some people who work with them.

  7. Republicans as well as Democrats know this is not the real issue — drilling. The real issue is the US could be days away from a complete meltdown of its financial system.

    Congressional Leaders Stunned by Warnings. New York Times.

  8. Wolfy says:

    Barb, (everyone) – good comments and very valid points. I know how hard it is for a car manufacturer to change just a few millimeters on an assembly line. I used to work for Aisin-Toyota as a quality control manager. And Barb, you are so correct, the market demands the type of automobiles that roll off the assembly lines. With politics, economics, and fashion all rolled in there too.

    I guess my point is that we need to change our way of thinking before we can change the world. And that starts with the indvidual choices.
    thx, Dave

  9. Barb says:


    it’s frightening that this financial meltdown is happening and it does seem clear that it is both Repubs and Dems responsible for it. Now we’ve got blame going back and forth on both sides from McCain and Obama. Behind the scenes they are trying to work it out. It’s useless to hear this back and forth blaming rhetoric — accompishes nothing as neither really explains WHY it’s happening. I know it’s complicated but I think the bottom line is too much deregulation and both administrations voted for this including Clinton. And we send our taxes to these people and expect them to be good stewards and this is what we get? There needs to be an American Citizen Revolution!

  10. Brian Ertz says:

    The real issue is the US could be days away from a complete meltdown of its financial system.

    “socialism is da devil… socialism is da devil !!” they cry.

    now it’s you and my tax dollars siphoning into a few of the world’s largest capitalist financial institutions – to keep the investor’s loss of their imaginative speculative wealth from dominoing rough-shod over and into you and my economic security — because the free-market ‘hands off’ approach to regulation of this financial system is failing.

    the era of “reaganomics” is coming to an end, ‘Government isn’t the solution to our problems – government IS the problem’ — HA ! with bush cornered in DC the only solution to these liquidity problems is the nationalization of the instutions themselves. the media dances around that word — but that’s what’s happening. The US government’s “takeo-over” and “bailout” of several of the world’s largest financial institutions – these institutions are being in effect nationalized. if it works, there’s the opportunity for the reagan mantra to take its rightful place next to the man himself, and for democratic instutions, rather than private ones, to advance this country in ways that might fix the damage done to this nation since reagon’s obstructionist paradigm first took hold.

  11. Barb says:

    Greed is at the root of this! Didn’t the Bible warn against GREED???

  12. Barb says:


    Can you explain your comments below please? I have not heard this before —

    “I may be repeating myself on this, but what people fail to see or point out is EVEN IF we drill everywhere and find oil, that oil will go on the international market”

  13. Barb says:

    Americans actually have a negative savings rate. They use credit like it’s going out of style!

    They think they can spend spend spend — and way above their means — there are a lot of credit offers to get more and more credit cards, etc etc.

    There needs to be personal responsibility too — no amount of govt regulations can make people act more responsible with their own money.

    NOT to get D.C. off the hook by any means though!!!

  14. JB says:

    “The US government’s “takeo-over” and “bailout” of several of the world’s largest financial institutions – these institutions are being in effect nationalized.”

    Yep. And it’s happening under a Republican Administration. The tax dollars of the middle class were just spent on bailing out the rich…again. Can’t let the insurance giant go out of business! Think of all of the wealthy people that would lose their shirts. Meanwhile, I’ll continue to pay off the loan on my house (which is now more than the value of my house) because, being a small fry in the middle class, I don’t qualify for big government bailouts.

    Gotta love the party of small government!

  15. catbestland says:

    I guess deregulation of the banking system did not work after all. This is why the credit card industry can charge as much as 45% interest and get away with it. No regulation. It sort of like that Reaganomic’s “trickle down” effect that did not trickle down. It flowed unimpeded into the pockets of the few.

  16. Izabela says:

    we are already selling some of our Alaksa oil.
    Need to find out to what countries.

    Drilling here and now will not change the price.
    By the time anything from drilling gets tomarekt, the price will be very high..have you even seen lowering the price more than by 20 cents?
    In Utah, we have own gas and oil…and recently we paid even more than CA.
    Once it is is up.
    We have some well infomred people here on this board who may know more where our local oil goes.

  17. Izabela says:

    Sorry guys…my typing sucks..:)

  18. Barb says:

    Well, here’s crude oil imports: (I though we imported it ALREADY REFINED for the most part)

  19. Salle says:

    Somehow I had a sick feeling something like this was coming down the pike and at this magnitude, had that feeling for years.

    Now, it’s happening. I suspected that when these clowns took office and that stuff in Sept. 20001 happened that this would be happening too but I expected it to happen about four years ago. It appears that raping the national income of most citizens over a war that seems to suck up the treasury like a soda is now gong for the jugular just before they get their butts booted out of office.

    If all goes their way, we should be totally broke and they disgustingly wealthy by Jan. of next year. And then, they will have control over the majority of wealth and will hold it over us like a carrot to a starving world. Every “worst case scenario” will become reality.

    I think “we the people” need to just up and start a nationwide barter system and tell the moneymongers to take a hike.

  20. Barb says:

    I have never heard that the U.S. exports oil. I would think we refine everything we drill.

    But I don’t know for sure and until I can find a link… looking at the Dept. of Energy website….

  21. Barb says:

    Crude Oil exports by destination….

    Learn something new every day……. I tend to forget that we get most of our oil from Canada — but from what I have heard, it’s more costly to extract as it comes from their “oil sands.” (not in pure liquid form)

  22. Barb says:


    Over the last month or so, our gas price here in CO has gone from about $3.89 – $4.08 to about $3.48.

    I think — not sure – it’s because our demand is lower as people are not driving as much. The drop seems quite significant.

  23. Brian Ertz says:

    JB says:

    Yep. And it’s happening under a Republican Administration. The tax dollars of the middle class were just spent on bailing out the rich…again. Can’t let the insurance giant go out of business!

    The question came down to “Do you want to eat your shoe and ride your principle (i.e. ‘government can’t solve problems, government IS the problem’ OR ‘Yay Speculation Capitalism!’) to broke ? OR – do you want the warm, kind extension of the heavy (strong) invisible hand ?

    the thing about this one, JB, is that the way it looks to be framing out is that this isn’t just a giant subsidy to the rich. it looks like they’re going to extend the capital to keep the ships afloat – but that the US government may just insist on that capital as an investment and retain the asset – i.e. the US government may become one of the most significant, if not the dominant, shareholders – or equivalent with regard to influence/leverage – in these markets. And it makes sense that this would be the case – that any sum of money ought be considered investment – as asset. we bought it. If that is the case, then these very economic institutions which we’ve been hearing are at the keystone of the markets, will be beholden to public (i.e. regulatory) institutions to an unprecedented degree (last i heard was $700 billion). These markets will be more directly accountable and, if we demand it, responsive to the broader public interest – to democratic institutions.

    this is so interesting and ironic – that the radical free-marketeers – the speculation capitalists, given a decade of their wildest dreams “free” of regulation, and decades before warning and trashing the “government’s” want to move in on them, would find themselves so mired of their own making that they themselves are begging for government – and that Bush would find himself captaining one of the most significant moves toward re-establishing trust in government – toward advocating significant government intervention – it must be pretty bad for this to be the case. I mean – the markets trust the government more than they trust themselves right now (as demonstrated by the bounce back once Congress promised action). That flips the reaganites’ mantra on its head – and could potentially grant a springboard toward a narrative of more widespread trust in public institutions if the right leadership is afforded come november. that might ameliorate into benefit for the public interest given a host of issues – from environment to education, etc. etc. etc.

    we could be investing in a level of public determination over these otherwise volatile markets that makes everyone more secure, economies more civilly responsive/responsible, and takes back this country’s future from their runaway economy that’s been ignoring the broader public interest this whole time – and we could be buying it fair and square by the market’s rules and at the market’s bidding. Whether it turns out to be a flat out give-away or a public investment in all likelihood depends on the election – but Congress looks to be doing a good job keeping it largely in the public interest right now.

    JB – gotta find the idealism at the root of the cynicism

  24. jimbob says:

    Sorry Barb–been away. Did you get an answer to your question? My biggest point was if we allow them to drill WE will suffer the consequences. One of the consequences will be the price will not go down. Look at the fear created by lowering demand. The price is going down. What do you think would happen if we got serious about finding alternatives? They will have to lower the price to increase demand–at which point they hope to be knee-deep in our national forests!

    By the way, Salle made a great point (and I’ve made it here before) about all of the wealth being driven into a few hands. Anybody could see that is what has been the goal of the Bush-Cheney Republicans. How else can you explain the yo-yo policies that this administration has come up with? Whoever said “Fear your government” hadn’t even met Bush, but he knew what the score was. I wasn’t planning to vote for Obama ‘cuz I can’t believe that is the best the dems can do, but anybody who doesn’t vote democrat is LOONEY!


September 2008


‎"At some point we must draw a line across the ground of our home and our being, drive a spear into the land and say to the bulldozers, earthmovers, government and corporations, “thus far and no further.” If we do not, we shall later feel, instead of pride, the regret of Thoreau, that good but overly-bookish man, who wrote, near the end of his life, “If I repent of anything it is likely to be my good behaviour."

~ Edward Abbey