RUSH: Greg in Port Ludo, Washington. Nice to have you on the program.
CALLER: Libertarian dittos, Rush.
RUSH: Well, thank you. Thanks very much.
CALLER: Long-time listener. I live in Washington. I spent most of my life in California, 31 years for an oil company, 18 years running a refinery. We didn’t produce gas, but we did produce lube oil and diesel. I know you say it all the time and everyone else says it, we haven’t built a new refinery in 30 years because of the permitting process, which is true. But even if you could solve that problem, I’m sure you, your listeners, and my family members, no one wants a refinery in their community. When I worked at the refinery, the only ones that wanted us there were the employees and they didn’t even want to live near the refinery. So I guess my question is, if we found a crude supply a mile from your house, would you be agreeable to us building a refinery there?
RUSH: Well, yeah. Absolutely.
CALLER: You would?
RUSH: Sure. I know it’s not going to happen. I live on an island. But I understand the point. You’re basically saying there’s no public will to do one even if we had no restrictions in getting it done?
CALLER: Even if prices doubled, I can tell you I used to talk to the neighbors, talk to the community, and people move in next to a refinery and then three months later come in and say, “What do you do?” And then they go, “Oh, can these fumes be harmful to my family?” And then they want to you leave. And it’s difficult.
RUSH: Well, I have to tell you something. You know, I do a lot of flying, and I just last weekend, I flew to Los Angeles, and I’m always amazed when I do this, because I keep hearing about the overpopulation. I flew over west Texas. I saw nothing out there until we got to El Paso. I flew over, you know, you got the deserts, in Arizona, New Mexico, you’ve got — I saw it all. I said there’s so much space to do this stuff, where nobody is near. You’d have to build a town for the people that work there to live there, but —
CALLER: It doesn’t work that way, because that’s true if you’re making widgets. But crude oil refinery needs crude oil and that’s why they’re near the water or, if they’re landlocked like in California, they’re near a continuous supply of crude. Because how else would you get the crude to the refinery?
RUSH: It’s called pipeline. But then you got other environmental problems. Okay, so what you’re saying is it’s impossible?
CALLER: It is. I really believe — I’m 64 years old — that we will not build any refineries even if crude prices double, gasoline prices double, I just think it’s impossible at this point.
RUSH: Now, wait a second. You gotta explain something to me, Greg.
RUSH: These refineries that we have now, they’re old. How do you refurbish one of these things? You have to shut it down, right?
CALLER: That’s right.
RUSH: At some point are the existing refineries going to just fail, we’re going to have to rebuild them where they are?
CALLER: Well, you know, as alone as you’re taking a refinery and fixing it and not expanding anything, the permitting process is pretty easy. But if you make any changes to the process at all, even if it’s through a benefit for the environment — and I found that out, it’s almost impossible.
RUSH: I understand that. I understand. That’s why Texaco used to do all these commercials with Bambi running around little pools of oil to show it was okay out there.
CALLER: I was shocked — I think you said it or someone else said it, 12% of the finished product coming into our country now is coming from refineries outside the United States.
RUSH: Right. We’re — I was just going to say, I have said that, and we’re going to end up importing more gasoline, so we’re going to be doubly vulnerable. We’re already importing over half the oil, and now we’re going to be — if we continue to grow and become productive as a country, we’re going to need gasoline, and we’re going to have to — even for your little hybrid, folks, it’s going to need gasoline out there, we’re going to become a net importer of gasoline at some point.
CALLER: That’s right. And I agree with that. But, anyway, sure a pleasure talking to you and from a Libertarian in Washington state, made up mostly of Democrats, I feel alone out here.
RUSH: Well, I understand. But you’re never alone as long as you have EIB.
CALLER: That’s right. I’m a 24/7 member.
RUSH: I appreciate that. That’s great. I really do. I have to run here, but thanks so much for the call. I appreciate it. I hadn’t thought of that, that one aspect of building a refinery. I had not thought of that. It very rarely happens out there, Greg, when a caller introduces a new idea to me, but you’ve done it.