Congressman's view: Reducing regulations, expanding US drilling will lower gas pricesUnder President Obama’s energy policy, the price of gasoline has shot up 95 percent. Today, the national average for gas is $3.65 a gallon, and Minnesota families are wondering when the punishment at the pump will end.
By: U.S. Rep. Chip Cravaack, Duluth News Tribune
Under President Obama’s energy policy, the price of gasoline has shot up 95 percent. Today, the national average for gas is $3.65 a gallon, and Minnesota families are wondering when the punishment at the pump will end.
Surging gas prices are only making our overall economic situation worse. When the price of gas and diesel increases, so does everything else. In addition, we are already $15.3 trillion in debt, we’ve been suffering through more than 8 percent unemployment for the past 36 months, and consumer and business confidence is at an all-time low. Bottom line, gas prices need to come down to help get us out of this recession, and only a solid American energy policy will do it.
Yet when the secretary of energy, Steven Chu, was asked if his goal was to lower gas prices, he said, “No, the overall goal is to decrease our dependency on oil.” As shocking as his remarks were, they shouldn’t come as a surprise. Chu has a long record of advocating for higher gas prices. In 2008, he stated, “Somehow we have to figure out how to boost the price of gasoline to the levels in Europe.” That means we would be paying $8.25 at the pump, more than double what we are paying today.
Secretary Chu and the Obama administration apparently have no problem with high gas prices (Secretary Chu doesn’t even own a car). In their view, high gas prices provide an incentive for alternative-energy technology, which has long been a priority for the White House — a priority, mind you, that has been placed ahead of the struggling budgets of hardworking American families.
The Obama administration not only has blocked energy production on federal lands, it has refused to approve the Keystone XL pipeline. In fact, the president personally lobbied against Keystone and the American worker when the pipeline came to a vote in the Senate recently. Under Obama, as the American Petroleum Institute notes, leases on federal lands in the West are down 44 percent since 2007 while permits and new-well drilling both are down 39 percent. Add into the mix green-energy fiascos like Solyndra and you start to see a pattern.
Current policies not only are misguided, they’re downright harmful. One such policy is dumping taxpayer money into alternative-energy projects like the Solyndra solar plant. Another is subsidizing expensive electric cars like the Chevy Volt to the tune of $7,500 per car (which the White House wants to increase to $10,000). Neither of these policies has worked. Solyndra went bankrupt, and Chevy Volt production has been suspended because of low sales.
What’s more, Fisker Automotive received more than half a billion dollars of taxpayer money to build a hybrid vehicle that will have a sticker price in excess of $100,000. Fisker Automotive subsequently moved its operations to Finland. You read that right: The federal government literally paid Fisker Automotive more than half a billion dollars to send jobs to Finland.
The president has been eager to deflect attention from his record of blocking American energy production, but the fact remains: Gas prices have soared 95 percent under his watch. Meanwhile, the EPA continues to block drilling off the coast of Alaska, where an estimated
27 billion barrels are waiting to be tapped. Americans simply can’t afford to be gouged at the pump in these tough economic times. It’s time to act, it’s time to put politics aside and it’s time to commit to proven solutions.
That is why I support an “All-of-the-Above” energy policy. I believe in the exploration of proven energy reserves to reduce our dependence on foreign and unstable suppliers. By reducing regulatory barriers and expanding production here at home, we can lower gas prices for all Americans and get the American economy back up to full throttle.
U.S. Rep. Chip Cravaack of North Branch, Minn., represents Minnesota’s 8th Congressional District, which includes Duluth and the Northland. He wrote this exclusively for the News Tribune.