NCPA - National Center for Policy Analysis


September 21, 2005

America is neither doomed nor dumb when it comes to energy production. So what are the solutions to the petroleum supply problems that Katrina has finally brought to the public's attention? Simply put, America needs a new and expansive energy policy, says Pete du Pont, chairman of the National Center for Policy Analysis (NCPA).

We need to build new refineries and build them faster:

  • Because of substantial and complex federal, state and local permit requirements and regulations, obtaining construction permits takes years and costs the oil industry about $5 billion a year in regulatory and capital costs.
  • We need a simpler, faster permitting process so domestic refinery production can expand to meet growing demands.

We need to drill for more oil in America:

  • There are 10 billion barrels of recoverable oil in Alaska's Arctic National Wildlife Refuge, making ANWR the equivalent of an oil-exporting nation.
  • Then there are the energy resources off America's coasts; they are estimated to contain 16 billion barrels of oil and 70 trillion cubic feet of natural gas.

We need to build more nuclear power plants:

  • The NCPA reports that plants now operate at 90 percent of capacity (up from 59 percent in 1980).
  • Also, their "operating costs have fallen from 3.31 cents per kilowatt-hour in 1988 to 1.7 cents, which is slightly lower than coal and much lower than the cost of natural gas fired plants."

Finally, the world is not running out of oil; there are substantial untapped supplies of oil and gas around the globe, and America will be more secure, stable and prosperous if we gain access to them. Recovering from the disaster of Katrina is our first responsibility; securing adequate supplies of energy comes next, says du Pont.

Source: Pete du Pont, "The Other Recovery: Apres le deluge, a new energy policy,", September 20, 2005.

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