Saturday, January 5, 2008

Bio fuels letter to Iain Murray of CEI

Saturday, January 5, 2008 8:42 PM
From: "Arnold Nelson" <>
To: "Iain Murray" <>

Mr. Murray, I've also been an admirer of Cliff May ever since he joined NR (I'm a 40+ year NRODT subscriber,) but was not happy w/ his Wednesday, January 2, 2008 "Worth A Listen" corner post. Trying to put together some sort of comment message, I accidental ran over your 12/21 11:08 AM "Oil Is Not the Enemy" post and just saved a lot of time - If I spent a year on my Cliff May project, I would come no where near competing w/ your post.

I was especially impressed w/ your "methanol... which would also require massive amounts of land" comment, since yours is the first place I've seen it, and it was the heart of comments I've made in the last few months to Rich Lowery, Jonah Goldberg, and Victor Davis Hanson (no answers, but I'm used to that.)

When I first heard the alcohol/methanol plans, my first thot was wow! Here's a freebie - a cheap, easy of way using sunlite to power cars. But after thinking about it for a few months, it occurred to me that all that bio stuff comes from a 2-dimensional 'space' - the 30% of the planet that is not under water. And in the case of corn, a realistically quite small part of that (can't grow too much corn in the Sahara, Gobi, Rockies etc.) And usually only annually, and again in the case of corn, not even that, since it's pretty hard on the ground, and usually must be rotated.

Oil, OTOH, comes from a 3-dimensional space, and for all the talk of 'using it all up' we've only barely started. For one thing, we have no idea how much is under the 70% of the planet covered by water (the scratches we've made in the continental shelves are relatively so minuscule they hardly deserve mention.) I was just talking with my nephew of Enid OK about this the other nite (he's not directly in the oil business - he's an interior designer - but he does things like corporate jet interiors, so he knows a lot of people who are in the oil business.) I told him of my thot that of any 'pumped out' oil well, no oil man would ever make the claim that if you drilled that same hole to the center of the earth, you wouldn't find oil again. He said people he does work for who have made, lost, and remade oil fortunes say the same thing.

I also liked "If you really want to reduce our imports ... campaign for an end to the silly restrictions that keep us from utilizing our vast reserves of oil and gas that are locked away in ANWR, the Rockies and the Outer Continental Shelf." And no one could find a better closing than your last seven words ("The American consumer is not our enemy.")

So thanks so much again. I thot I read all of your posts, so don't know how I missed this one. But it's great to get an idea of mine confirmed so specifically by someone as well known and successful as you.

Arn Nelson in Chicago

PS Wasn't Dan Quayle the head of CEI at one time? I always liked him, and so always had a soft spot for CEI.