June 16, 2008
Top 10 reasons to blame Democrats for soaring gasoline prices
This started out as an attempt to create a light and humorous, Letterman-esque Top 10 list. But the items on the list, and the drain Americans are seeing in their pocketbooks because of Democrats' actions (sometimes inaction) are just too tragic for that.
10) ANWR If Bill Clinton had signed into law the Republican Congress's 1995 bill to allow drilling of ANWR instead of vetoing it, ANWR could be producing a million barrels of (non-Opec) oil a day--5% of the nation's consumption. Although speaking in another context, even Democrat Senator Charles Schumer, no proponent of ANWR drilling, admits that "one million barrels per day," would cause the price of gasoline to fall "50 cents a gallon almost immediately," according to a recent George Will column.
9) Coastal Drilling (i.e., not in my backyard) Democrats have consistently fought efforts to drill off the U.S. coast, as evidenced by Florida Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz's preotestation against a failed 2005 bill: "Not only does this legislation dismantle the bi-partisan ban on offshore drilling, but it provides a financial incentive for states to do so."
A financial incentive? With the Chinese now slant drilling for oil just 50 miles off the Florida coast, wouldn't that have been a good thing?
8) Insistence on alternative fuels One of the first acts of the new Democrat-controlled congress in 2007 was an energy bill that "calls for a huge increase in the use of ethanol as a motor fuel and requires new appliance efficiency standards." By focusing on alternative fuels such as ethanol, and not more drilling, Democrats have added to the cost of food, worsening starvation problems around the word and increasing inflationary pressures in the U.S., including prices at the pump.
7) Nuclear power Even the French, who sometimes seem to lack the backbone to stand up for anything other than soft cheese, faced down their environmentalists over the need for nuclear power. France now generates 79% of its electricity from nuclear plants, mitigating the need for imported oil. The French have so much cheap energy that France has become the world's largest exporter of electric power. They have plans in place to build more reactors, including an experimental fusion reactor.
The last nuclear reactor built in the United States, according to the US Dept of Energy, was the "River Bend" plant in Louisiana. Its construction began in March of 1977.
Need I say more?
6) Coal "The liquid hydrocarbon fuel available from American coal reserves exceeds the crude oil reserves of the entire world," writes Dr. Arthur Robinson in an article on humanevents.com. The U.S. has approximately one-fourth of the world's known, proven coal reserves. Coal would be a proven, and increasingly clean, source of electric power and--at current prices--a liquified fuel that would reduce our dependence on foreign oil. Yet Dems and their enviro friends have fought, and continue to fight, both coal-mining and coal plants.
5) Refinery capacity "High oil prices are still being propped up by a shortage of refinery capacity and there is little sign of the bottleneck easing until 2010," according to Peak Oil News. And, while voters in South Dakota have approved zoning for what could become the first new oil refinery in the United States in 30 years, the Dems' environmentalist constituency vows to oppose it, just like environmentalists opposed the floodgates that could have saved New Orleans from Hurricane Katrina.
4) Reduced competition With consolidation in the oil industry, has come reduced competition. Remember, most of the major oil company mergers -- Shell-Texaco, BP-Amoco, Exxon-Mobil, BP-ARCO, and Chevron-Texaco -- happened on Clinton's watch. The number of oil refiners dropped from 28 to 19 companies during Clinton's two terms.
3) The Global Warming Myth At a Group of 8 meeting this week, host and Japanese Economy, Trade and Industry Minister Akira Amari "described the issues of climate change and energy as two sides of the same coin and proposed united solutions ... to address both issues simultaneously". As a result of Global Warming hysteria, the Al Gore-negotiated Kyoto Protocol created a worldwide market in carbon-emissions trading. Both 2005 --the year that trading was initiated--and this year --when the trading expanded dramatically -- saw substantial and unexpected price spikes in the cost of oil, leading us to reason Number...
2) Speculation "Given the unchanged equilibrium in global oil supply and demand over recent months amid the explosive rise in oil futures prices ... it is more likely that as much as 60% of the today oil price is pure speculation," writes F. William Engdahl, an Associate of the Centre for Research on Globalization. According to a June 2006 US Senate Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations report, US energy futures historically "were traded exclusively on regulated exchanges within the United States... The trading of energy commodities by large firms on OTC electronic exchanges was exempted from (federal) oversight by a provision inserted at the behest of Enron and other large energy traders into the Commodity Futures Modernization Act of 2000." The bill was signed into law by Bill Clinton, in one of his last acts in office.
1) Defeat of President Bush's 2001 energy package According to the BBC, "Key points of Bush('s 2001) plan were to:
-Promote new oil and gas drilling
-Build new nuclear plants
-Improve electricity grid and build new pipelines -$10bn in tax breaks to promote energy efficiency and alternative fuels
A New York Times article, dated May 18, 2001, explained:
"President Bush began an intensive effort today to sell his plan for developing new sources of energy to Congress and the American people, arguing that the country had a future of 'energy abundance if it could break free of the traditional antagonism between energy producers and environmental advocates.Mr. Bush's plea for a new dialogue came as his administration published the report of an energy task force containing scores of specific proposals... for finding new sources of power and encouraging a range of new energy technologies."
[The Bush plan] "mentions about a dozen areas including land-use restrictions in the Rockies, lease stipulations on offshore areas attractive to oil companies, the vetting of locations for nuclear plants, environmental reviews to upgrade power plants and refineries that could be streamlined or eliminated to help industry find more oil and gas and produce more electricity and gasoline."
The article went on to quote some rather prescient words from the President, "this great country could face a darker future, a future that is, unfortunately, being previewed in rising prices at the gas pump and rolling blackouts in the great state of California" if his plan was not adopted in 2001.
The Times account continued:
"Mr. Bush talked not only of blackouts but of blackmail, raising the specter of a future in which the United States is increasingly vulnerable to foreign oil suppliers...Mr. Bush was praised by many groups for laying out a long-term energy policy. His report contained 105 initiatives..."
Just as President Bush's predictions have been born out, the article quoted from that most sage of Democrats, former President Jimmy Carter:
"World supplies are adequate and reasonably stable, price fluctuations are cyclical, reserves are plentiful," he (Carter) argued. Mr. Carter said "exaggerated claims seem designed to promote some long-frustrated ambitions of the oil industry at the expense of environmental quality."
But, as a later Times article notes, "the president's ambitious policy quickly became a casualty of energy politics and, notably, harsh criticism from Democrats enraged by the way the White House had created the plan."
In other words, Democrats refused the President's plea to "break free of the traditional antagonism between energy producers and environmental advocates."
Remember that the next time you pull up to the pump ... or the voter's booth.
William Tate is a former award-winning journalist and the author of the new ovel, A Time Like This (www.atimelikethis.us/)