Unlike many states, New Jersey has refineries, pipeline infrastructure, and natural gas storage that would promote and sustain an expanded energy industry in this state. In the 1970s, Texaco was exploring for natural gas off (far off) the Atlantic City coast, but those probes were terminated when Congress in the 1980s banned continental shelf drilling.
New Jersey has a $10 billion state budget deficit, the highest real estate taxes in the nation, and the densest population. The state also has the highest number of cars per capita of any other state. We could surely use the tax support a fully developed energy industry would supply and the production of our own gasoline in state.
We also have 10% unemployment in the private sector and 10% default or foreclosure in retail business here, and surely a huge source of employment and careers could come from an energy industry. My own county which has significant beach access has 12% unemployment. Even going into the summer with the usual boost of seasonal hires, national and state unemployment statistics are miserable.
Besides the general banning of off-shore exploration and drilling from Congress and the new federally mandated moratorium, we face our Senators Lauternberg’s and Menendez’ opposing ANY off-shore development, even wind turbines. They, according to Citizens Against Government Waste, are part of our elite overlords who are driven around in limos and town cars to the tune of $2.6 billion annually, but they must think their vehicles are powered by magic.
The environmentalists, most of whom wouldn’t know a blue jay from a robin or a deer track from jack-in-the-pulpit, are vigorously opposed to anything that would affect “The Shore.” Beach and ancillary tourist business is an $18 billion industry that should not be taken for granted. However, the vehicles (as there are no longer train services) that power people to The Shore all depend on the dirty stuff the BP well is spewing out in the Gulf of Mexico.
Our entire energy “program” as devised by politicians is a pipe dream of magical thinking. I believe my elected representatives think that by flipping a switch, Merlin waves his magic wand and sends light to the bulbs in the ceiling. They seem totally disconnected from the reality that 98% of US energy comes from fossil fuels and will for decades, if not centuries.
I am all for wind (it’s ok with me if turbines are built off the coast, The Shore), solar, bio, geo, thermo, hydro, and nuclear (we do have three major nuclear power plants in NJ), but in total, all alternative energy sources only produce about 2% of American energy needs, which rise at about 17% a year, and alternatives rarely power buses or don’t run entire factories or malls.
Enviros or greens seem not to want ANY energy production that is reliable, fiscally sound, and ubiquitous. All of the ethanol-solar-wind promoters neglect to consider none are profitable without high government subsidies, which are all tax payers’ monies. As in the case of ethanol, a purchaser pays more for it in a gasoline blend, pays more to have a car tuned for ethanol use, and then PAYS in taxes to produce the commodity to start, not including the excessive water ethanol requires in production and its side effect of raising food prices.
Much of the response to the Gulf oil disaster cannot be addressed rationally because we have spent years tuning our emotions to “how do you feel about that” instead of our minds to “what do you think about that.” We can blame the public schools for assuming the role of “social engineering” that the president of the NEA announced in 1972; however, elected representatives and businesses are supposed to function with some modicum of intellectual and not just emotional analyses to problems.
I will not join hands along the beaches with protesters who drove sometimes expensive gas-guzzlers to get to their protest to prevent oil and gas exploration off New Jersey’s coasts. And as someone who can tell the difference between jays and robins and can track a deer, I feel I owe nothing to greens or enviros in real environmental/ecological knowledge and practice.