Time Article On Natural Gas Supply

Steve Antler also remarked on this Time magazine article on natural gas and energy policy. I find the headline striking:

Inflated oil prices and natural gas shortages are wiping out jobs and savings, thanks to three decades of bungled energy policy. Get ready for more bungling

And here’s their take on the politicized process by which this is happening:

Why are Congress and the White House responsible? As part of a long-standing ritual involving Democrats and Republicans, lawmakers and Presidents have devised energy plans that add up to no plan at all—not deliberately but by default. In pursuit of different agendas, competing interests tend to cancel one another out over time, leaving the nation with no coherent direction on energy. Lawmakers launch programs to develop alternative-energy supplies but later quietly cut or eliminate the funding so there are no realistic alternative sources. They enact legislation offering incentives to stimulate crude-oil production in the U.S., when the politicians know—or should know—that the programs will not do so in any significant way. They encourage utilities, businesses and industries to shift to natural gas, then fail to ensure sufficient supplies of the fuel. The lawmakers refuse to make the tough choices on energy supplies and consumption, while they cater to the demands of campaign contributors and special interests. Worst of all, when politicians craft a conservation program that actually works, they abandon it. As a result, after three decades and dozens of energy bills, Congress has helped position Americans so they may be closer to an energy crisis than at any time since the oil shocks of the 1970s. And this time, the U.S. is finally beginning to run out of domestic oil and easily recoverable natural gas.

This article is a very useful wake-up call on how pernicious the control-and-manage mindset is in combination with the ridigities introduced through the interactions of active special interests in this incredibly politicized process.