This year as the price of oil and gasoline sharply rose, the impact of high energy prices weighed heavily on the United States economy. President Bush called for lifting the ban on offshore oil drilling. The idea of drilling in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge (ANWR) in Alaska again was posed. And renewable energy again was offered as an alternative energy source.

To find out how readers feel about the energy issue, an informal online survey was conducted onThe NEWSWebsite. It asked readers their opinions on removing the ban on offshore drilling, drilling in ANWR, and pursuing renewable energy. A total of 75 people responded, and on all three counts, survey respondents indicated that the U.S. should go after more oil and more alternative energy.


The first question of the online survey was “Should the U.S. remove the ban on offshore oil drilling and ramp up domestic oil production?” Sixty-nine percent of survey respondents answered yes.

Of those who answered in the affirmative, Joe Naquin of Chiller Resources Inc. stated, “There is no good reason not to. Why are we the only country not utilizing its own natural resources? By doing so we could eliminate the need to depend on dictators and thugs for imported oil.”

Ross Compton of Compton Air Conditioning noted, “We need to be as self sufficient on oil as we can. It is not about solving a problem in two or three months. But solving our problems for the future.”

Tom Franklin of First Call Services said, “It will in time decrease dependence on foreign oil. It is a resource the United States should develop.”

James Odom of Strictly Service opined that it is a “short-term fix to get us to other forms of energy.”

Of those who answered no, Gene Mattiaccio of Veristar Geothermal Energy Corp. said, “This is just a band-aid to the solution. It will keep us still dependent on oil.”

David L Royer of Thermaserve Inc. stated that it “will do little to satisfy increasing demand for energy.” He added that we “need to conserve in buildings and transportation and production facilities.”

Joe Maurer of Recovery Heating & Air Conditioning asserted that it is “unnecessary. Plus, the time for change away from fossil fuels is at hand.”

Timothy Tangredi of Dais Analytic Corporation said, “Enough is enough - drilling only makes the pain last longer. Get on with newer technologies - let the brilliance that defines the U.S. shine by stepping up to this gigantic challenge.”


The second survey question was “Should the U.S. pursue oil drilling in Alaska’s Arctic National Wildlife Refuge (ANWR)?” Some hold very strong environmental concerns about oil drilling on this land, so drilling in ANWR has been hotly debated. However, 63 percent ofNEWSsurvey respondents answered yes, we should drill.

Of those who said yes, Tom Camp of Campco commented that we need to pursue oil “anywhere and everywhere, develop all sources. We don’t need to use every source, but we need all alternatives available when the need arises.”

Robert Odynski of Robson Thermal Mfg. Ltd. said, “Use best practices and technologies - and just do it.” It “should have been started many years ago, but better late than never.”

Among those who responded no, Jim Raabe of MacDonald-Miller Facility Solutions Inc. stated that the cost is “high, both financial and environmental, reserves unknown.”

Marshall Hunt of the UC Davis Western Cooling Efficiency Center affirmed, “This is a teaspoon of oil that comes at a high price both in dollars and in environmental impact. Leave it there and future generations will thank us since by then oil will be treated as the limited and precious resource it is.”


The third question was “Should the U.S. make greater use of renewable energy, such as solar power, as well as more widely use ethanol and biodiesel?”

On this question an overwhelming 88 percent of survey respondents said yes. One of renewable energy’s supporters, Tom Schmidt of Temprite, maintained that “it’s the only way out. Sustainability in energy keeps prices stable, thus keeping the economy stable.”

However, despite the very strong approval among respondents for utilizing renewable energy, there were caveats.

Gerald Joyce of Austin Commercial said, “Yes to solar and wind, but no to ethanol. Ethanol uses more energy to produce than it supplies. Also food prices have risen as a result.”

Regarding corn-based ethanol, Ed Bartram of Diversified Heating & Cooling Inc. said, “the use of corn should be used to feed the people, not the gas tank.”

Ron Leonard of Cortez Heating and Air stated, “Ethanol is a hoax” that “costs too much to produce.” However, “biodiesel may have a chance.”

William Schwartz of Bill’s Refrigeration said to pursue “ethanol and biodiesel only if it does not drive up prices of other commodities.”

Of those who said no to renewable energy, Naquin of Chiller Resources Inc. commented that ethanol “is actually a miserable failure and would not make it to market without huge government subsidies. Why does it make sense to burn a food source for humans and livestock and drive up food prices at the same time? The market should determine whether biodiesel, solar, etc., should gain wider use. The government should not force it upon us.”

Talking collectively about the energy issue, Larry Wolfrey of Building Services of America said, “Energy consumption is not going away. There will be no one solution to our supply needs. Everyday, someone plugs in a new computer, monitor, refrigerator, or other energy-using device. … Only a combined effort of energy management, conservation, additional supply, and alternative fuels will resolve this problem.”

Publication date:10/06/2008