As you know, the Obama Administration recently rejected the Keystone XL pipeline, a head-scratcher given that gas is expected to rise upwards of $4 a gallon in the coming months. It’s also odd given the dire need for jobs, and the pipeline would have certainly aided those efforts.
Oddly, however, White House Press Secretary Jay Carney said yesterday that his boss, President Barack Obama, wasn’t to blame for the rejection of the Keystone XL pipeline. According to the White House, congressional Republicans are to blame:
I was puzzled by the recent news that PresBO has decided to release 30 million barrels of oil from the US Strategic Petroleum Reserve and several days later, my confusion remains despite reading a number of articles addressing this surprising move. It occurs to me that it is just indicative of the current administration’s leadership strategy, which is frankly equal parts reactionary and political, but always misguided.
So here are my thoughts on this current attempt to ease the high prices Americans are facing at the gas pump…
First, this move is too little too late. The fact is oil prices were at their peak around April of 2011 and have been steadily declining over the last few months so that prices were already easing slightly. So why release this oil now? Particularly when we are in the beginning days of hurricane season, and we realize how beneficial it is to have the Strategic Petroleum Reserve (SPR), for example, in the days following Hurricane Katrina, when supply was majorly disrupted. So, instead of maintaining the SPR until a real crisis occurs, the President has opted to release 30 million barrels of the Reserve for seeming little more that earning political brownie points with the American people.
According to the Lundberg Survey last week, while the national average for gasoline is approaching $4/gallon (prices having increased for 35 straight days), the highest gas prices in the nation are to be found in Chicago, which is reporting an average price of $4.27/gallon, with some stations charging as much as $4.60-$4.70 per gallon. I am tempted to feel sympathy for them, at least until I remember that they are the ones responsible for politically nurturing and elevating the current occupant of the White House to that esteemed position, a man that adores a statist, command-and-control economy where government dictates the terms under which goods and services are exchanged. When I think about that, I lose my religion and think they have not suffered enough.
Barack Obama, channeling his inner Bill Clinton (you remember him, the first black president), now tells us that he feels our pain but that, unfortunately, there is no “silver bullet” that will make gas prices come down in the short term. That may be the closest he has come to making a true statement on the subject since he told us as Candidate Obama that his policies would “necessarily cause energy prices to skyrocket”. Now faced with declining poll numbers and rising anger at the cost of gas, Obama does what every political charlatan does best…find a scapegoat.
This was taken at a BP station in Atlanta, via Rusty Tanton.
In his latest budget, President Barack Obama called for the elimination of tax deductions for oil and gas companies. This industry has been a constant target of the administration over the last four-plus years, so it’s not surprising that the White House would, once again, resort to the same old attacks.
While Americans may not understand the economics of this particular proposal and the impact it would have on them at the gas pump, showing how susceptible they are to the rhetoric of President Obama, they are clearly opposed to raising the gas tax at the state-level.
Maryland recently passed an increase in its gas tax, which will hit drivers with anywhere from a 13- to 20-cent increase in gas prices over the next three years. Other state legislatures may eventually try to pass increases of their own.
But according to a new Gallup poll, Americans are overwhelmingly opposed to gas tax increases in their states that could be used to finance road projects and expand mass transit options:
Two-thirds of Americans would oppose a law in their state that would increase the gas tax to help pay for road and bridge repairs, according to a new national poll.
In case you haven’t noticed it at the pump, gas prices have been back on the rise. In the last seven weeks, the national average for a gallon of gas has jump from $3.42 to $3.78. With that in mind, the issue is beginning to surface again national politics.
This is certainly a sore spot with many Americans, especially with the still struggling economy. There will no doubt be calls for increased production inside the United States, an idea that an overwhelming number of Americans can get behind. According to a new survey from Harris Interactive conducted for the American Petroleum Institute, 71% of registered voters support increased access to domestic sources of oil:
American voters get the importance of energy – and getting more of it here at home. A new Harris Interactive survey of 1,016 registered voters shows that more than 70 percent support increased access to domestic oil and natural gas resources. More than 9 in 10 of those surveyed said producing more energy at home and energy security are important issues as they look to the November elections.
Harris found 47 percent of those asked said they strongly support increased access to oil and gas resources at home. Another 24 percent said they somewhat support more access. Just 9 percent strongly oppose that as a goal. Eighty-five percent of Republicans, 72 percent of Independents and 60 percent of Democrats support increased access to domestic resources.
Last week, we told you about an EPA administrator who compared his agency’s treatment of the oil industry to how Romans treated villages they conquered. The comment was met with outrage in conservative circles, understandably so, and gave a peak into how the oil industry is truly viewed in the Obama Administration.
The Associated Press reported yesterday that the EPA administrator, Al Armendariz, who made the comment has now resigned and apologizes for what he said:
The Obama administration’s top environmental official in the oil-rich South Central region has resigned after Republicans targeted him over remarks made two years ago when he used the word “crucify” to describe how he would go after companies violating environmental laws.
In a letter to Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Lisa Jackson sent Sunday, Al Armendariz says he regrets his words and stresses that they do not reflect his work as administrator of the five-state region including Texas, New Mexico, Oklahoma, Arkansas and Louisiana.
“I have come to the conclusion that my continued service will distract you and the agency from its important work,” Armendariz wrote in the letter, which was obtained by the AP.
Republicans in Congress had called for Armendariz’ firing after Oklahoma Sen. James Inhofe highlighted the May 2010 speech last week as proof of what he refers to as EPA’s assault on energy, particularly the technique of hydraulic fracturing, or fracking.
President Barack Obama appointed Armendariz in November 2009 at the urging of Texas-based environmental groups.
We’ve often wondered why President Barack Obama and his administration have had such a hostile view of oil companies. He insists that drilling up during his term, but Obama is taking credit for policies enacted by his predecessor. But much like his attacks on higher-income earners, Obama has targeted the oil industry and speculators with harsh rhetoric in attempt to distract Americans from his own failed energy policies.
We know that Obama’s own Energy Secretary is on record supporting higher gas prices. Obama has said himself that he didn’t have a problem with the cost of gas, rather that they rose too quickly. So we know where the rhetoric and proposed regulations are coming from. But there is something deeper here?
Via the Heritage Foundation, a video has surfaced where a regional administrator from the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) said that the treatment of oil companies in the regulatory agency is “kind of like how the Romans used to conquer little villages in the Mediterranean: they’d go into little Turkish towns somewhere, they’d find the first five guys they’d run into, and they’d crucify them and then, you know, that town was really easy to manage over the next few years”:
As polls show President Barack Obama to be vulnerable on gas prices, someone is finally getting the message and hitting him on the issues. American Crossroads released an ad this week hitting Obama for blaming others and doing nothing to easy the pain Americans are feeling at the pump:
And now that gas prices are rising faster under Obama than they did under Jimmy Carter, expect to see more ads like this during the summer.
While Barack Obama says that his administration is concerned about rising energy costs and has an “all of the above” energy plan, the Environmental Protection Agency has imposed new carbon emissions regulations new coal plants:
The Environmental Protection Agency will issue the first limits on greenhouse gas emissions from new power plants as early as Tuesday, according to several people briefed on the proposal. The move could end the construction of conventional coal-fired facilities in the United States.
The proposed rule — years in the making and approved by the White House after months of review — will require any new power plant to emit no more than 1,000 pounds of carbon dioxide per megawatt of electricity produced. The average U.S. natural gas plant, which emits 800 to 850 pounds of CO2 per megawatt, meets that standard; coal plants emit an average of 1,768 pounds of carbon dioxide per megawatt.
Industry officials and environmentalists said in interviews that the rule, which comes on the heels of tough new requirements that the Obama administration imposed on mercury emissions and cross-state pollution from utilities within the past year, dooms any proposal to build a coal-fired plant that does not have costly carbon controls.