Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Michele Bachmann Energy Conference Call notes..

Rough and ready notes taken during energy policy conference call with Michele Bachmann, today from 12:00pm til 12:45pm... I'll be fixing the spelling errors/typos as I see them. I was typing as I went along, so there may be some errors in the transcription. The gist, however, I believe is accurate.

Viewed solar-power plant

Wants to extend credits for alternative energy.

National Renewable Energy Laboratory.

Ethanol may very well be a transitional fuel; so are looking at switch grass as opposed to corn-based ethanol. Algae research is also being conducted. Algae contains oil, which could be a tremendous form of energy if we can make it commercially viable.

-Would like to conduct an energy tour of Minnesota, since nuclear energy wasn't discussed, and she's very proud of our Monticello nuclear power plant (incidentally, Steve Gottwalt, if re-elected, plans to introduce a bill that would lift Minnesota's moratorium on building any new nuclear power plants)*. There are also labs in the 6th district that are doing research on developing algae as power.

-Many advances in solar panel technology.

-Then took a tour to Alaska, and toured a "permafrost tunnel," the only one of its kind. This is important since there is much permafrost on the North Slope of Alaska.

-Toured Prudhoe Bay, where the oil production occurs. No permanent residents. Workers make on average 6 figure incomes. Very high paying jobs. Over 750,000 jobs could be created if we open up more exploration on the North slope, not to mention in Colorado.

-Area is under snow/ice for 9 mos, and is in complete darkness 3 mos. per year; perfect site for drilling.

-ANWR is over 19,000,000 acres; including the Brooks range; the area of interest of drilling is only 2000 acres; relative to the size of a postage stamp on a football field. Also located close to the Alaska pipeline. North Slope is still our largest oil producing field. But this is not good news. When it first opened, was over 2 million bbl of oil per day; now only 700,000 bbl per day.

In ANWR, oil is highly concentrated in small area.

ANWR would actually be the fastest, easiest, and least environmentally invasive area to drill.


Larry Schumacher: $2 per gallon gas; how do you know?

A: We have the energy resources here in the U.S. to add to the supply. When she took office, gas was $2 and change. What has changed since is the message that America has absolutely had no intention of increasing its own supply of energy. India and China and developing countries are putting an increased strain. As of right now we are 70% import. We don't need to be there. We have in reserves over 2 TRILLION bbl of reserve; Saudi Arabia has only 1.3 trillion.

If we open up the oil shale fields, ANWR, Outer Contintental shelf, Atlantic & Pacific, et., al, plus Natural gas from the Gulf Coast, we have so much energy. We have 27 percent of all the coal in the world that could be used for coal to liquid production, plus nuclear power and tremendous advances in solar and wind. If all is opened up there is no question that we can get back to gasoline prices prevalent two years ago. But Congress has made it virtually impossible to access any energy available.

Like there are hungry children with a locked-up pantry of food.

In Stillwater, man pumped gas; truck is 20 years old, puts gas in the tank when it gets to the 3/4 mark cause he can't afford to fill the whole tank.

There is no reason to make the American people suffer. Congress must once again make it legal for Americans to access their own energy.

MPR. ANWR minimal environmental impact.. what is proof?

-People in Alaska, overwhelmingly want drilling, especially the native population that live in ANWR. They see how responsible drilling is in Prudhoe Bay and the National Petroleum reserve.

-We saw the most wildlife at mile marker 0 in Prudhoe bay; the most caribou were huddled around the pipeline. It is a tundra. The area of interest for drilling is also a tundra. There will be no additional roads. The drill site could be scaled down from what used to be 20 acres to 6 acres now.

-Truckers need to put "diapers" under their truck to keep oil from crankcases, etc., from making contact with the tundra. The level of regulations and responsibility is the highest in the world.

-KARE-11. We should drop the speed limit. What do you think?

A: Conservation is important and is one leg of the school. We need to conserve, AND we need to utilize the energy that is there.

No truth to statement of "leased land." Those lands are in stages of exploration and production. Lease only lasts 10 years. If a group files a lawsuit, that halts exploration by as long as two years. Michele introduced a bill that would expedite the permit process. Looking at creating a specialty court that deals with oil & gas in the arctic region, and expedite the timelines for decision-making. Not that it would eliminate lawsuits, but would expedite the timelines required for responses to lawsuits.

Q: Speedlimits are off the table then?

A; Not off the table. Conservation is just one part. It's not because Americans are driving too much. Congress is the problem. Congress controls the answer in its refusal to open up access to energy.

Q: Is there short term relief in sight?

A: Congress can do something. Any legislation that has to do with increasing supply has been shelved. One democrat says we should drive small cars and wait for wind.

We can get it done much more quickly than the timelines that you've heard. Congress has created artificial barriers and delays that are prolonging the time. Once we have proven to the world that we are serious about increasing supply, speculators will bring the price down. President Bush's announcement alone brought down the price of oil 10 dollars.

Q: Larry Schumacher cited EIA study that production would only allow for a 2% decrease in prices, which would be offset by an OPEC decrease in production.

A: EIA has been flawed... they estimated a number of years ago that gas would be $22 per barrel. EIA has a terrible track record in their predictions and estimations. I would take what they say with a grain of salt. Even by Pelosi's numbers we would be looking at a 70 cent decrease in cost. Also, wrt opening the strategic oil reserve, that would be an extremely temporary fix. 14X more oil in ANWR than in Strategic Oil Reserve.

Trans Alaskan pipeline is a great advantage. If we get down to the point of moving only 300 k of oil, it would cease to be functional, and would need to be rebuilt. If we don't increase production, in 10 years we would be to that point, and the pipeline would cease being functional. We are in a precarious window of time right now.

Q: Smarmy Pioneer Press frothing Idiot Jim Ragsdale: Congresswoman Bachmann-- interesting analogy about the hungry children and the locked pantry. What if the children are fat and lazy and still want more? Shouldn't we make them eat less, and then unlock the pantry? What are we doing to make Americans use less energy? Huh? (apparently this bozo pines for the return to the malaise of yesteryear that everyone so enjoyed during the Carter administration).

A: Again, conservation is part of the 3-legged stool. The three legs are conservation, renewable energy, and increasing domestic production of oil, nuclear, and natural gas. You are asking government to solve a problem that it created. If we open up access to our own resources, the free market will solve the problem. (SMACKDOWN).

This liveblog is over.

Gary Gross has more here.