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Making sense of US population growth

By Alan Caruba
web posted October 23, 2006

It's not very often you will find me agreeing with an avowed environmentalist, but facts are facts and, when it comes to population growth, they are ignored at our peril if America is to avoid sliding rapidly into a Third World status.

"The American people, especially our leaders, must bring themselves to face the reality that our population cannot be allowed to continue to grow without disastrous consequences," said Donald Mann, president of Negative Population Growth, Inc. in response to the news that on October 17, 2006 our population passed the three hundred million mark.

Of that number, the estimate of illegal immigrants ranges from twelve to twenty million. In his bestselling book, State of Emergency, Patrick J. Buchanan noted that "Rarely have immigrants constituted 10 percent of our number," adding that "We have almost as many foreigners here today as came in the first 350 years of our history…(and) most of those coming are breaking in." The U.S. Census bureau calculates that an immigrant sets foot in America, legally and illegally, every 31 seconds.

Americans, in addition to the out-of-control immigration crisis, have an even larger crisis looming and it too will impact every aspect of our lives. With more people being born every day than are dying, we are less than thirty years away from a population of 400 million!

We do need a new, replacement, younger work force and the current Social Security and other benefits programs depends on this. It's predicted to go broke in a decade or so anyway.

A dramatically growing population is going to require more roads, bridges, power plants, airports, housing, jails, schools, hospitals, and other elements of our national infrastructure just to keep pace with our current needs. By any measurement you apply—crime, healthcare, education, transportation—life in America is going to grow worse without the facilities and the energy to maintain our current lifestyles.

The quickest, easiest answer is to stop all immigration, legal and illegal, into the nation and do not tell me this cannot be done. It has already been done. Between 1924 and 1965, America declared a moratorium, a forty-year pause that allowed the "melting pot" to facilitate assimilation into our culture.

There is another factor this massive growth of our population portends. According to the U.S. Energy Information Administration, "worldwide marketed energy consumption is projected to grow by 71%."  Of the various sources of energy, "petroleum consumption is still expected to grow strongly, reaching 118 million barrels per day in 2030." America will be closing in on a hundred million more people at that point.

America will not only be more crowded and in need of far more electrical energy generation than exists today, but it is going to need to exploit the oil reserves we have or import even more oil to fuel our transportation needs, heat homes, and provide the vast petrochemical needs of our industries.

Three hundred million Americans want to turn on the electricity where they live and work. Our electrical grid system needs massive upgrading and expansion. We offer few incentives to utility companies to do this.

We must rid ourselves of the impediments to expanding our nuclear energy industry.

We must begin to more effectively exploit our existing oil reserves in "mature" fields and to explore for more offshore and in places like Alaska's ANWR. 

In December 2005, Merchant Consulting in Houston released a study about "enhanced oil recovery projects." David Merchant noted that two-thirds of the world's proved oil reserves lie in the Middle East and that the world consumes around 80 million barrels of crude oil a day.

Not only will the worldwide oil demand increase, it will do so as the top 14 super giant fields are in decline.
 
Yes, oil is finite. Yes, we're going to have to import more to support the needs of 300 million Americans. And yes there remain millions of barrels of U.S. oil that can be discovered, extracted and recovered, but Congress has created a vast matrix of laws that obstructs or discourages this process.

Today's population of 300 million Americans doesn't care much about the logistics of oil until it becomes too expensive at the pump. They are convinced that Big Oil is always going to provide oil and natural gas, and they are right.

Ponder this, on October 17 the U.S. Census made its announcement and Negative Population Growth, Inc. issued its warning. On October 15, however, ExxonMobil quietly announced it had signed an agreement with Qatar Petroleum to build a $3 billion world-scale petrochemical complex. The new facility will be devoted to the production of liquefied natural gas. That's the good news.

The bad news is that America desperately needs to close its southern border to prevent obscene numbers of illegal immigrants arriving daily. We need to pause our current immigration to let new Americans assimilate or, to put it another way, to learn English!
 
We can have our expanding suburbs. We can respond to the needs of older Americans. We can pass on the America we know to a new generation.

This will not occur if our economy continues to be victimized by environmental policies that deter access to our nation's energy reserves, puts curbs on new housing, and opposes our nation's agricultural and corporate communities.

Ultimately, with three hundred million or four hundred million, if America fails to protect and assert its national sovereignty there won't be a nation to save. ESR

Alan Caruba writes a weekly column, "Warning Signs", posted on the Internet site of The National Anxiety Center. His new book, "Right Answers: Separating Fact from Fantasy", has been published by Merril Press. © Alan Caruba, 2006

 

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