OK, so I know less about oil exploration than I do about female intuition and the whereabouts of the killer of Cock Robin, but I'm just asking: Why are we getting the shaft from our non-friends in the Middle East while we're up to our geological crotch in untapped petroleum under and near what used to be called The Badlands - now the Bakken Formation?
It's situated in the western third of North Dakota and Northeast Montana, where seldom is heard a discouraging word and the crows are not rowdy all day.
Therein and thereabout, there reportedly lies billions of barrels of technically recoverable black gold (yessir, podners, that's billions with a "b!").
Now, if the "b" word has been devalued by the spending habits of our elected reprehensibles, let's put it this way: that's billions of BBLs of the slippery stuff that we might not have to buy from our crude oil-supplying friends. (Note that, as used here, that "f" word would include many predators who just haven't yet physically invaded and plundered the United States Treasury.)
The geological gurus caution that not all of the Bakken bonanza is recoverable, but who's to sniff at a stash that's right under our noses, totally under our control, and otherwise obtainable only from those who are now screwing us with the unrestrained abandon of wild hares?
Aside (but not entirely beside the point of this opusette), the "Stallball" currently being played regarding a proposed Keystone Pipeline could conceivably be a replay of Nero's fiddling at the bonfire of Rome should we be cut off, cut down or blackmailed by our present suppliers.
Getting back to getting oil out of the underground Bakken shale, it is both doable and difficult, but it has the undeniable benefits of being right here, right now, and not under the control of people who would - and do - sell their friendship and favors to the highest bidder.
Meanwhile, with oceans of fuel underfoot, we fiddle with wind farms, piddle with solar panels and pander to the preferences of nature purists and the sex lives of so-called endangered species.
Simultaneously, we allow trump cards to be dealt to people who could choke up - if not choke off - our crude oil supply by sinking a few scows in the Strait of Hormuz or playing patsy with the Chinese, who are also many hugs shy of being our bosom buddies.
Admittedly, there are obstacles and risks involved in getting Bakken oil to the surface and into our tanks, but no reliable source this side of the tree-hugging societies has said that it can't be done safely and economically.
It is, potentially, the highest-producing onshore discovery of the past six decades, according to a report in the Pittsburgh Post Gazette, and is dwarfed by a speculation in the Stansberry Report Online (4/20/06) that there may be another two trillion (yessir, that IS a "t" thar, podner) barrels of oil a thousand feet under our Rocky Mountains.
If verified- it is as yet unproven - that would be the largest oil reserve in the world, a treasure trove some 80 times greater than that which presently funds the coffers of the Saudi fatcats.
Such future fantasies aside for now, what's critical - and presently in short supply - is a free rein for Yankee ingenuity and the same responsible supervision that has made peaceful neighbors and generous power providers out of nuclear energy plants.
It is that incomparable force which, within my lifetime, kicked the asses of The Axis, put the first man on the moon and developed a lifestyle which – imperfections notwithstanding – is unique in history and unsurpassed in the presently known universe.
Only narrow thinking, selfish interests and political myopia stand in the way of energy independence for America.
It will take a massive infusion of insight, compromise and common sense, though, to break the gridlock which plays into the hands of those who would have us become a second-world society, instead of the beacon of excellence which can and should shine for centuries to come and upon generations as yet unborn.
Wouldn't frackin' the freakin' Bakken Bonanza be a good first step in that direction? It 'pears that we've got the oil, but we're getting the aforementioned shaft.
Again, I'm just askin', and I'm much longer on hope than expertise, but how much more can one old guy do?
Or how much less should he – and, by the way, should thee?
Joe Klock, Sr., a freelance writer, winters in Key Largo and Coral Gables, Florida and summers in New Hampshire.