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New oil and gas may cripple alternative energy

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By Llewellyn King

Hearst Newspapers

Updated: 03/05/2010 06:10:04 PM MST

“When an irresistible force such as you

“Meets and old immovable object like me

“You can bet just as sure as you live

“Something’s got to give …”

— Johnny Mercer

WASHINGTON — When Johnny Mercer penned those words, he was speaking of love not politics, and not the politics of energy. But he could have been.

In energy, there are two great forces that collide: public policy and the market. Despite the love affair of recent decades with markets, neither is always right.

Consider the struggle between old energy –market-tested and with a mature infrastructure — and new, alternative energy.

Public policy, under Republicans and Democrats, has sought to discourage the nation’s ever-greater dependence on imported oil (about 60 percent). But the market has sung a siren song, tempting us to more oil consumption.


Bush himself fell for the temptations of ethanol from corn and the possibility of switch grass. Now these are under threat from new discoveries of oil off Brazil and far greater estimates of oil production from Iraq. In fact, Iraq is being touted as a rival to Saudi Arabia with Brazil right behind it.

Read the entire article here.