- The Washington Times - Thursday, February 9, 2006

The recent Senate hearings on big oil’s “windfall” was entertaining at best and a waste of time at worst.

With the smell of rampant price gouging in the air, Washington’s best and brightest wanted the world to see Big Oil squirm in embarrassment that, while America suffers higher fuel prices, the companies made astronomical profits.

Yes, they made a lot of money but their actual earnings, their profits, were far less than other major industries. As Jim Martin of 60 Plus said at the Senate hearings: “Exxon and other oil companies posted record profits in the billions of dollars. But while Exxon makes a 9.8 percent profit on sales, McDonalds made 24.2 percent.” Despite these facts, Senate politicians again call for curbs on the oil industry.

“Let’s s $ock it to Big Oil,” Sen. Hillary Clinton recently told the New York Post, proposing a “Strategic Energy Fund” she said could bring in as much as $20 billion a year in oil-company fees for rebates to folks struggling to pay rising heating bills.

Thankfully, nothing will ever become of either the Senate hearings or Hillary’s proposed fund, but I did just read a book that shed great light on solving the so-called “oil crisis.” “Black Gold Stranglehold” was written by two men I know and respect, Dr. Jerome Corsi and Craig R. Smith.

After reading the book, I can honestly say I will never think the same way about oil. This book definitely goes into my “Things they never told me” file.

• ANWR: Drilling for the future. For example, did you know the U.S. has enough oil offshore and in Alaska’s Arctic National Wildlife Refuge (ANWR) region to cut our dependence on Middle East oil substantially over the next decade? It’s true. And sending less money to Arab countries equals less money for funding terrorist regimes and their supporters in the war against America. That’s pure logic.

Speaking of logic, if drilling ANWR would be so bad for the environment, wouldn’t you think the native peoples would be against it? Yet the natives of Alaska overwhelmingly support ANWR oil drilling. These are the people who live there and who hunt caribou to put food on the table.

Why not responsibly drill the Alaskan ANWR? Finally proposals are on the table to open up these oil-rich patches right in our own back yard. But no, the vocal minority of anti-free-market politicians would rather complain about “price gouging” than consider wise stewardship of the assets God has already given us to help solve the problem.

If just burns me up to see the GOP buckle under to the environmentalist lobbies who, as I found out while reading the book, are more responsible for higher gas and oil prices than all the big oil companies put together.

• New evidence demands a new verdict: The most startling revelation gleaned from the book is that more and more scientists are challenging the whole “fossil-fuel” origin of oil theory. Scientists instead find growing evidence to support a competing “abiotic” origin of oil theory, which I had never even heard about before reading the book.

This “deep biosphere abiotic” theory stands opposite the conclusion we are running out of oil as the “peak-oil” doomsday theories have been crying for decades. I found the evidence compelling and encouraging. There isn’t a shortage — and there may never be one.

“Black Gold Stranglehold” is a call to action for the sake of our future which will require a more creative energy strategy than the finger-pointing of the past.

We need new energy sources and more investment in our energy infrastructure and what do we get? As former Michigan Gov. John Engler says, we get Senate hearings that can best be described as a “theatrical exercise.”

Quite frankly I’m fed up with politicians who complain we need a more ambitious energy policy but allow energy prices to skyrocket because of intransigent resistance to finding real energy solutions. If left more to a robust free market with less political manipulation, good old American “can do” can be the catalyst for securing a greater energy self-sufficiency that respects conservation and environmentally sound techniques.

Pat Boone, a singer, is the national spokesman for the 60 Plus Association, a conservative senior citizens’ organization.

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