Sunday, March 30, 2008

National Security Drives Biofuel Production

The national security need for developing biofuels outweighs what would otherwise be considered questionable government meddling in a free market.

Price supports and production requirements for biofuels bring the artificial influence of government into the realms of energy supply, demand, and pricing. Government price supports distort the monetary value of a product or service, and usually cause some sort of a chain reaction within the market. These chain reactions typically have unforeseen and often undesirable consequences.

Although the government’s influence on biofuel production is a blessing to our state, one that is sure to have a lasting impact on our rural communities, the effects in other markets are undeniable.

In Nebraska, we stand a good chance of having a pending recession buffered by the boost given to our agricultural economy by the production of biofuels. The biofuel industry is a positive development for our farmers, our communities, our state, and a necessity for our national security.

Yet the argument against government sponsored biofuels based on the disruption to free markets and the consequences of doing so has validity, but only if looked at through a free market prism alone.

But we can’t look at it through that single lens because doing so neglects the need and role of biofuels for our national security. This argument trumps free markets this time because it drives supply and innovation toward new sources and infrastructure for our energy needs which can sustain us in the event of national crisis.

The increasing dependence upon foreign sources of oil and an unwillingness to utilize our own sources demand that we fully explore all possible routes for alternative fuels and develop the best ones for our national security.

An argument can be made that tapping into our own oil reserves would rectify the situation for national security interests, but it does not fully reflect reality in our country.

The reality is that the far left is unnaturally forcing us away from petroleum, in a direction and at a pace inconsistent with supply and free markets. They have successfully impeded drilling, refining, and infrastructure expansion to the detriment of consumer needs and national security.

Because they’ve impeded the market, the government has to act quickly and outside the rules of free markets to overcome the obstacle placed in the way of their first role, the defense of the nation.

At some point we’ll run out of petroleum and would have to develop alternative sources anyway. But we’re not there yet, and the verdict is out on how long it would take us to get there without other meddling.

However, we have been forced there prematurely. The zealots of the church of global warming, the environmental lobby, and those who simply fight against capitalism at every turn have successfully blocked further development of the petroleum industry. We as a nation have been incapable of breaking the gridlock they’ve created.

Join that gridlock against domestic oil with the reality of the regimes which control much of the world’s oil, and you have a combination that demands alternative energy sources. When added to the unwillingness we’ve witnessed over the last 6 years by many Americans to sacrifice during a time of war, we end up with an alternative energy demand for both national security and national comfort.

Thus we’re forced to pursue alternatives for consumer needs and defending ourselves should a larger conflict arise than the one we’re presently involved in.

We must have alternatives. Our military is one of the biggest consumers of petroleum products in the world. Without petroleum our military doesn’t function.

Through the development of ethanol and biodiesel we are also developing the means by which our military can still fight without petroleum.

While much of the focus is often on the corn-food-fuel complex, we are also exploring and developing other sources and methods of biofuel production. Not only is the government, often the Defense Department specifically, pushing the move toward alternative sources of energy, but they are also catalyzing the research and development of new fuels for military use, as well as the means by which they can be easily produced and distributed.

Whether oil from algae, switchgrass for ethanol, or hydrogen fuel cells, and whether they’re distributed by nation-wide infrastructure systems or produced 500 gallons at a time by embedded military units, the Defense Department is exploring and driving its options for the future. These biofuel innovations are a security necessity for a nation whose political correctness is driving its energy and economic policies.

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