Terry Barnich had an oped in Sunday’s Chicago Tribune commenting on John Kerry’s energy proposals. Terry roundly castigates Kerry’s backward-looking thinking.
But the parts I find most interesting about the piece occur where he articulates a different vision for energy policy and strategy:
While Kerry’s proposal to deplete the strategic reserve is the most seriously wrong-headed, the rest of the proposal is no less misdirected. Kerry’s plan, like almost all energy plans since President Richard Nixon, sets as its central goal energy independence, which is characterized by weaning America from imported energy. The problem with this policy is that America’s thirst for fossil fuels is unquenchable and independence comes at the expense of draining America dry first.
A more thoughtful approach would put front and center a plan to integrate a single North American energy market with the U.S. as a consumption center nestled between the two ample supply centers of Mexico and Canada. There are enough oil and gas resources under the ground of those two reliable neighbors to supply the U.S. at current consumption levels for the next 100 years. The Bush administration has undertaken the first steps in this process by initiating the Canada-United States Smart Border Initiative, which is designed to jointly develop integrated energy infrastructures that should form a key building block in a more fully integrated energy market. …
A truly bold approach to the energy problem would recognize the power of thriving free markets to unleash the creativity of technological dynamism to exploit economic sources of energy. The creativity of free markets, not government subsidy, will relieve energy resource constraints. Kerry’s proposals totally miss the mark.
Sounds like a good idea to me.