Re­cy­cling re­new­able-en­ergy rhetoric

Obama by­passes fos­sil fu­els to burn green dol­lars

The Washington Times Daily - - Metro - By Rep. Mike Kelly

At a con­gres­sional hear­ing Tues­day on Depart­ment of En­ergy green-en­ergy pro­grams, Sec­re­tary Steven Chu said, “I am not an ex­pert on oil re­serves.” You don’t say. In 2008, Mr. Chu fa­mously said, “Some­how we have to fig­ure out how to boost the price of gaso­line to the lev­els in Europe,” re­veal­ing a level of an­i­mus to­ward oil that Pres­i­dent Obama’s hand­picked en­ergy sec­re­tary has car­ried with him through­out his ten­ure as Amer­ica’s chief en­ergy pol­i­cy­maker.

When asked yes­ter­day about his 2008 quote, Mr. Chu said, “I’d rather dwell on what my record has been in the depart­ment since I be­came a public ser­vant” in­stead of dis­cussing a phi­los­o­phy he held just months be­fore be­ing sworn into of­fice but that he has since, and rather ex­pe­di­ently, es­chewed.

Fair enough. Let’s dwell on his record in­stead.

Since Mr. Obama took of­fice, the na­tional av­er­age for a gal­lon of reg­u­lar gaso­line has in­creased from $1.85 to $3.80, putting Amer­ica well on its way to achiev­ing Mr. Chu’s vi­sion of Euro­pean-in­spired gas prices, which range from $7 a gal­lon in Spain to around $9 a gal­lon in Italy, with France and Eng­land some­where in be­tween.

Un­der Mr. Obama, oil and gas lease sales and per­mits have been can­celed, de­layed or sus­pended at un­prece­dented lev­els, with the Obama ad­min­is­tra­tion hav­ing leased less acreage on fed­eral lands than any other ad­min­is­tra­tion on record. In 2011 alone, oil pro­duc­tion on fed­eral lands de­creased by 11 per­cent. Drilling on pri­vate lands has gone up, and Mr. Obama claims, like a rooster tak­ing credit for the sunrise, that he had some­thing to do with it when, in fact, the in­crease is a di­rect re­sult of per­mits is­sued un­der for­mer Pres­i­dents Bill Clin­ton and Ge­orge W. Bush.

In 2010, the ad­min­is­tra­tion is­sued a mora­to­rium on all new drilling in the Gulf of Mex­ico, lim­it­ing sup­ply and cost­ing up to 12,000 jobs, ac­cord­ing to the ad­min­is­tra­tion’s own es­ti­mates. Months later, the ad­min­is­tra­tion placed the en­tire Pa­cific Coast, the en­tire At­lantic Coast, the East­ern Gulf and parts of Alaska off lim­its to fu­ture en­ergy pro­duc­tion un­til 2017 at the ear­li­est.

In 2011, when the new Repub­li­can­led House passed the Jobs and En­ergy Per­mit­ting Act, which would have un­locked an es­ti­mated 27 bil­lion bar­rels of oil and 132 tril­lion cu­bic feet of nat­u­ral gas, the pres­i­dent op­posed it, just as he op­posed the House-passed Restart­ing Amer­i­can Off­shore Leas­ing Now Act (H.R. 1230) and Putting the Gulf of Mex­ico Back to Work Act (H.R. 1229).

Most re­cently, even as ten­sions in the Mid­dle East have es­ca­lated and the threat of a nu­clear-ca­pa­ble Iran has be­come ever more real, the pres­i­dent in Jan­uary blocked the Key­stone XL pipe­line, a bi­par­ti­san-backed project that would have trans­ported nearly a mil­lion bar­rels of oil a day into the United States from Canada, less­en­ing our reliance on fuel from po­lit­i­cally volatile parts of the world.

In­stead of fo­cus­ing on in­creased do­mes­tic pro­duc­tion of Amer­ica’s abun­dant sup­ply of fos­sil fu­els, in­clud­ing coal, which has been un­der con­stant at­tack from the U.S. En­vi­ron­men­tal Pro­tec­tion Agency through per­mit de­lays and costly reg­u­la­tions, the pres­i­dent and Mr. Chu have spent the past three years and bil­lions of tax­payer dol­lars pro­mot­ing a green-en­ergy agenda that has failed to pro­duce re­sults.

The dar­ling of the pres­i­dent’s elec­tric-ve­hi­cle ini­tia­tive, the Chevro­let Volt, has been tem­po­rar­ily pulled from pro­duc­tion be­cause of poor sales. Solyn­dra, the so­lar-panel en­ergy com­pany that re­ceived more than $500 mil­lion in tax­payer funds and that the pres­i­dent said was “the true en­gine of eco­nomic growth,” has since filed for bank­ruptcy.

Ener1, a com­pany that makes elec­tric-ve­hi­cle bat­ter­ies and re­ceived a $118 mil­lion fed­eral grant, has filed for bank­ruptcy, and Fisker, a com­pany that pro­duces elec­tric ve­hi­cles in Fin­land and re­ceived a $529 mil­lion fed­eral loan guar­an­tee, has, like the Volt, missed early man­u­fac­tur­ing goals and has de­layed plans for U.S. pro­duc­tion.

The pres­i­dent and Mr. Chu hedged their bets in the form of bil­lions of tax­payer dol­lars on a green-en­ergy ini­tia­tive that has cost Amer­i­cans tens of thou­sands of jobs and has con­trib­uted to the cre­ation of the high­est av­er­age an­nual oil price in the 150-year his­tory of the mod­ern oil in­dus­try.

Un­like the pres­i­dent’s “all-of-the­above” strat­egy, which fails to use ev­ery­thing be­low, we not only need to de­velop al­ter­na­tive sources of en­ergy, but we must har­ness the abun­dant source of fos­sil fu­els that lie be­neath our soil and off of our shores.

Even though Mr. Chu says he no longer es­pouses the be­lief that we need to in­crease gas prices to Euro­pean lev­els, the ad­min­is­tra­tion’s re­cent pro­posal to in­crease tax­payer sub­si­dies for al­ter­na­tive-en­ergy sources and its con­tin­ued as­sault on fos­sil fu­els through oner­ous EPA reg­u­la­tions be­lie the like­li­hood of a true ide­o­log­i­cal con­ver­sion on the part of this en­ergy sec­re­tary and the en­tire ad­min­is­tra­tion.

In just three years of Mr. Obama’s first term, the price of gas in Amer­ica has dou­bled. I fear what the price will be at the end of a sec­ond term — and which Euro­pean na­tion we will most likely re­sem­ble.

IL­LUS­TRA­TION BY LI­NAS GARSYS

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