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.
With Sen. Mary Landrieu (D-LA) facing a tough bid for reelection, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) is hoping that appointing her to the chairmanship of a key committee will give her a boost with Louisiana voters:
Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid will do just about anything to help Louisiana’s Mary Landrieu.
He arranged the chamber’s floor agenda this week so Landrieu could lead debate on a flood insurance rate reprieve for homeowners in her hurricane-prone state.
He is set to promote her to be chairman of the Senate energy committee, where Landrieu can mind her state’s oil and gas interests.
Why all the fuss? Landrieu, 58, is one of Reid’s most vulnerable incumbents in this year’s midterm elections and he’s using his power to see that every one of them wins in November so Democrats can maintain control of the U.S. Senate.
Landrieu, who raised almost $1.4 million in the last quarter of 2013, will no doubt tout her accent in this committee to prove to Louisiana voters that she’s “indispensable,” which is a line that she has previously used as a justification for her reelection. But voters in the state may not be so easily fooled by what is a clearly a ploy by Reid to keep Senate Democrats in control of the Senate.
Sen. Mary Landrieu (D-LA) wants her constituents to believe that she is a different kind of Democrat, one who supports her home state’s oil and gas industry, which accounts for nearly a tenth of its economy. But a recent Wall Street Journal report noted that Landrieu’s political action committee has given tens of thousands of dollars to help elect anti-oil and anti-gas Democrats:
Behind the scenes, however, Ms. Landrieu has been working just as hard to make sure she’s irrelevant. Through the auspices of JAZZ PAC, her leadership political action committee, she has from 2006 to 2012 contributed some $380,000 to re-elect some of the most ardent Senate opponents of the oil and gas industry. One result is a bloc of liberal members who easily cancel out Ms. Landrieu’s votes and guarantee the defeat of legislation designed to help Louisiana.
Ms. Landrieu has taken in more than $1 million in donations since 2004. Energy contributors include Marathon Oil, Murphy Oil, Sunoco, Coastal Land & Drilling, and lobby firms that do work for energy companies. Ms. Landrieu repays that support by funneling their money into the campaigns of members who routinely vote to undermine Louisiana oil and gas.
An example: In March 2012, Ms. Landrieu’s fellow Louisiana senator, Republican David Vitter, managed to get a vote on an amendment that would have implemented a 2008 offshore drilling plan to allow new oil and gas leases throughout the Outer Continental Shelf. Ms. Landrieu voted for the amendment.
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”: