Another strike against oil: Mother Nature's wrath

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

From an editorial in The Northwestern (Oshkosh):

It was certainly no butterfly. But hard to dispute we aren't feeling the "flap of its wings."

The spiking variations in gas prices around the Oshkosh area and the Fox Valley in the wake of Hurricane Ike supply more motivation to pursue alternative energy sources. Obviously, Mother Nature hasn't a care about the location of domestic oil rigs and refineries.

On Monday, the price of an unleaded gallon of gasoline was on its way up, anywhere from $3.80 at one Oshkosh filling station to $4.20 at another in Fond du Lac. If you don't like Ike, we understand. It's having an impact on gasoline prices everywhere.

Do our congressional and presidential candidates care to talk about this most recent and potent shortcoming of oil and its production as the rhetoric heats up on more drilling in North America's hurricane alley?

Does the latest pain at the pump everyday people in places like Fond du Lac, Oshkosh and Appleton endure matter – places far from hurricane territory yet places, as of Monday, trying to fathom a 40-cent variation in surging unleaded gasoline rates?

Ike's wrath is only the latest reminder of all the limitation that comes with oil and our addiction to it. News flash: Its production and price are at the mercy of monster storms … in addition to Middle Eastern interests that control it and don't share our purest, most democratic, most fundamental human values. Not to mention its limited supply globally… not to mention the pollution it causes. Only an addict would tolerate all of these unhealthy drawbacks to feed his cravings.

For a nation that put human beings on the moon almost 40 years ago, our approach to pushing for renewable, alternative, clean sources of energy is weak, and Ike's wake reminds us of that.

Our push for things like hydrogen-fired, clean-burning automobiles is anemic when it should be surging, itself the focus — the raging eye — of a presidential campaign and election. Real leadership and real solutions on alternative energy have been relegated to a few lines of a political speech, no focused, attainable energy challenge laid before the feet of the American people other than unformulated energy independence benchmarks.