Inside Opinion

What's on the minds of Tacoma News Tribune editorial writers

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Tag: oil

Jan.
21st

Arctic oil drilling looks increasingly risky

This editorial will appear in Tuesday’s print edition.

The Arctic Ocean is believed to hold vast reserves of oil and gas, worth trillions of dollars. But can they be safely extracted and shipped?

Given recent events, experts are increasingly skeptical. The challenges posed by extreme weather and sea conditions of the far north appear – at least for now – to be beyond the abilities of the oil company seeking to drill there.

Two of President Barack Obama’s closest advisers – former Environmental Protection Agency head Carol Browner and John Podesta, who headed the president’s 2009 transition team – are saying they don’t see any way to safely drill for oil in the Arctic. Their concerns are echoed by departing Interior Secretary Ken Salazar as well as a key insurance market, Lloyd’s of London, and the French oil company Total.
Read more »

May
5th

Tar sands oil, $5 billion and the Strait of Juan de Fuca

This editorial will appear in Sunday’s print edition.

In an ideal, green-hued world, stopping the Keystone XL pipeline would accomplish what many of the project’s opponents believe it will accomplish.

The sludgy crude oil from Alberta’s tar sands would stay in the ground because there would be no way to get it to refineries and beyond. Ecosystems would be spared. Much less carbon would be burned, and there would be that much less global warming.

The problem is, that’s among the least likely alternatives to the Keystone project. Among the most likely is that Pacific Northwest waters will be put at a much higher risk of oil spills – a scenario that now has $5 billion behind it. Read more »

Jan.
10th

Tehran showing some welcome signs of desperation

This editorial will appear in tomorrow’s print edition.

Iran has been much in the news the past few days and – as usual – not in a good way.

On Monday, the International Atomic Energy Agency confirmed that the Islamic Republic had begun producing highly enriched uranium at an underground nuclear complex near its holy city, Qom.

The details are critical. To use uranium as fuel in a power plant, the percentage of its most volatile isotope must be raised to about 3.5 percent. Iran has been busy doing that for a long time, though its need for nuclear power

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Nov.
12th

Connect the dots: Iranian nukes and American cars

This editorial will appear in tomorrow’s print edition.

The ayatollahs lost the last shreds of plausible deniability Tuesday when the International Atomic Energy Agency documented Iran’s drive for nuclear missiles in damning detail.

Nuclear weapons in the hands of this extremist, unstable theocracy would be uniquely dangerous. Iran’s foreign policy consists of intimidating its Arab neighbors, spreading its revolutionary Shiite dogma, sponsoring terror attacks and destroying the state of Israel – which is capable of mounting a catastrophic nuclear pre-emptive strike.

This threat has a foundation deeper than Shiite radicalism. Follow the oil.

Without the intense global thirst for petroleum, Iran’s theocracy might have been gone the way of Moammar Gadhafi long ago.

The theocracy is funded chiefly by Iran’s oil sales. It uses that money to subsidize food and energy, and otherwise keep the Iranian people dependent on government largess.

Oil revenue pays for Iran’s military and for its “peaceful” nuclear program. And the ayatollahs use petroleum to insulate themselves against outside pressure.
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April
1st

Offshore drilling and energy realities

This editorial will appear in tomorrow’s print edition.

Anyone new to the way Americans argue in public these days would be stupefied by the reactions to President Obama’s new offshore drilling plan.

One environmental leader said Obama was “unleashing a wholesale assault on the oceans.” The head of the Sierra Club described it as a giveaway of “our last protected pristine coastal areas just so oil companies can break more profit records.”

But many drilling advocates said the plan – announced Wednesday – was mere camouflage for Obama’s continuing vendetta against oil and gas development. Washington’s own U.S. Rep. Doc Hastings described it as a scheme that “closes off more areas than it opens.”

Obama, almost parodying his usual above-the-fray rhetoric, talked about moving beyond “the tired debates of the left and right … between those who would claim drilling is a cure-all and those who would claim it has no place.”

The truth is that Obama’s plan is a lot more restrictive than the policies he inherited from George W. Bush and a lot more expansive than drilling opponents would like. He would lock up – for political as well as environmental reasons – the West Coast, everything north of Delaware on the Atlantic Coast and Alaska’s Bristol Bay.
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Jan.
28th

Breaking the ‘duh’ meter

From MoveOn: A representative ;) public response to Obama’s energy options:

Last night over 10,000 MoveOn members participated in the group’s first real-time dial test of the President’s State of the Union Speech. By a considerable margin, the portion of the speech that got the worst response was … the reference to more nuclear power and oil drilling.

Check out the chart hyperlinked above. The left end of Democratic Party doesn’t like the proposed spending freeze or the Afghan surge, either.