Once again, a major tragedy has struck in the world and as we always do, America and other nations are responding with massive amounts of aid and rescue personnel to assist in digging Haiti out of the rubble of the 7.0 earthquake that struck the tiny Island Nation this past week.
We see aircraft flying into a ruined airport. Ships arriving in a decimated port, all bringing in people to help, food stocks, medical supplies, vehicles to help remove the rubble, helicopters to search for injured people and fly them from remote areas back to temporary hospitals, that were also brought in from outside, as well as bringing much needed food and supplies to people in outlying areas. Along with that are generators to brighten the night, kitchens to prepare food for those now left homeless and to feed the rescuers arriving from all over the world.
As we have seen all too many times in the past, even during times of economic strife, Americans are who contribute the bulk of relief to afflicted nations when such massive natural disasters strike.
Regardless of party in control, our Military responds with hospital ships, massive aircraft carriers that instead of arriving to fight a enemy, come to supply people, aircraft and the ability to desalinate thousands of gallons of sea water into one of the most basic needs of all mankind, clean safe drinking water.
We that sit on the sidelines and who can only contribute much needed money to fund such efforts give little thought to what such endeavors require, hoping our donations help as much as possible.
While most of us cringe at accusations of being “the world’s Police Force,” we readily accept our role as “the world’s EMT,” ready to respond with aid, people and our abundance of food to help where needed anywhere in the world.
What we never give consideration to is what we must have to continue in this role, fuel. All of the equipment needed to carry out the massive relief efforts, to ferry the goods and people to these afflicted areas and light the dark requires fuel to keep them going.
In a recent speech given to the United States Energy Association’s 6th Annual State of the Energy Industry conference, Jack Gerard, President and CEO of the American Petroleum Institute stated,
“Oil and natural gas are the foundation of our energy-dependent economy. They profoundly affect how we live and work. They are key to our mobility, to keeping our homes and businesses warm, to providing us with electric power, and to supplying the raw materials for countless consumer and industrial products – everything from fertilizers to computer chips to medicines … the list goes on.”
Yes, a major part of the endless list is our ability to respond rapidly and to provide help where needed throughout the world. Oil and natural gas supplies well over 50% of our domestic energy needs. They supply close to 100% of our ability to provide assistance during times of disaster.
While Mr. Gerard was mostly discussing the economic side of our oil and natural gas industry, it is the humanitarian side I am focusing on. Alternate energy sources, solar panels and wind farms supply nothing to get aid to injured and displaced people in far away countries.
Petroleum, converted into gasoline, diesel fuel and jet fuel is what fuels the vehicles, ships and aircraft carrying the load. Propane, also derived from petroleum, supplies fuel for emergency kitchens and heat in cold areas hit by natural disaster.
Petroleum also supplies plastics to seal emergency rations and medical equipment, keeping them safe and sanitary. Some medical supplies themselves contain petroleum byproducts. And again, the list goes on as to what good is done in times of natural disasters by petroleum products.
This is why I am so taken aback at the ongoing efforts by primarily Democrat politicians for so long in denying our oil companies drilling and processing our own domestic petroleum sources, forcing our reliance on foreign sources that are either hostile to us, or may be one of those areas decimated by such disasters as we see down in Haiti today.
Given the ability of our oil companies to produce what is needed in carrying out these missions of mercy, I am particularly offended when I read of directives from current Interior Secretary Ken Salazar as he announced plans to Toughen US Drilling Rules, to drag then down from their Kings of the World role, as he falsely describes them.
No Mr. Salazar, they do not assume the role of “Kings of the World,” they supply the much needed fuel to continue in the “World’s EMT” role that Americans so generously give of ourselves.
They supply much needed jobs to our country and fill the U.S. Treasury with tax dollars to fund the economy, but they also keep our massive rescue efforts going by fueling the very means of getting aid to decimated areas of the world.
Jack Gerard also says in his speech,
“Canceling leases, delaying lease sales, delaying environmental studies, holding back the next OCS Five-Year Plan, and adding layers of bureaucracy and new procedures will not ensure Americans have ample supplies of the oil and the natural gas that every projection shows they will be demanding in the near future.”
That includes the demand placed upon America to rapidly respond to tragedy and our willingness to do so.
How many people would die if our ships, planes and vehicles sat idle, out of gas, during times of natural disaster?