Energy & Environment

Let’s Go All-In on Energy

It has been almost two years since the last run up in gasoline prices. This time of year always sees a spike in price due to the “summer blends” in gasoline. Stockpiles go down as refineries prepare to make the special blends for summer driving. Then it takes a few weeks to get production back up in time for the increased driving during the summer months. 

As in 2008, there is instability in the crude market. Crude oil prices are up to $85 a barrel and gasoline prices are averaging near $3 a gallon. We won’t get to $140 plus a barrel as we did in 2008, but the United States is still vulnerable because there has been no progress made in developing energy sources since then.

The President has begun talking about nuclear power and opening up off-shore drilling. But the devil is in the details. He “pays” for the nuclear power incentives by taking away tax benefits given to “Big Oil” to produce gasoline. His argument is “Big Oil” doesn’t deserve these breaks while making “obscene profits.” Another sign he wasn’t a top student in his college economics classes. If you increase the cost of producing something, in this case gasoline, then the cost is passed on to the consumer. Corporations pass the costs on to the consumer as a cost of doing business.

President Obama says he’s going to open up off shore drilling and on the surface it looks like a good idea, but he doesn’t go far enough. He opens up some coastal areas while leaving out the Atlantic, North of Delaware, the Pacific Coast and vast reserves near Alaska. Thomas Pyle of the Washington Times called it a “head fake.” Obama surrendered some on drilling in order to push the cap-and-trade energy tax. That’s the plan.

What should the energy policy of America be? From a national security and an economic security standpoint it ought to be an “All In” policy. I love the idea of alternative fuels, but for the time being this country runs on fossil fuels. Even President Obama said, “It will be 20 years or so before we can switch to an alternative option.”

Wind and solar energy doesn’t work everywhere, but where it does, it’s clean and renewable and ought to be used. And the progress being made on hybrid automobiles and fuel-cell automobiles is impressive.

Notwithstanding the tragedy at the Upper Big Branch coal mine in West Virginia, coal must continue to be an option. Safety has to be job one, but coal is plentiful and cheap and no one burns it cleaner than we do. In Georgia, my home state, there’s work on pine trees for biofuel, as well as studying algae as a source of biofuel.

All these options should be pursued in the private sector. But, the fact remains that oil, natural gas and fossil fuels are the cheapest and best way to currently move Americans around the country and their development and expansion is a big job creator.

We need to remove the barriers to drilling and exploration throughout the United States.

This would create jobs in the energy sector, but as Wyoming has proven with their whywyoming.org initiative, energy exploration creates jobs for teachers, store owners and every part of the “food chain.” 

Oil and energy jobs do not operate in a vacuum. If you expand energy development in oil, natural gas and coal, you will expand jobs in all sectors of the economy. We need to lead the way and create jobs in the making. 

In a stagnating and jobless recovery, we need to be “All In” on every option to get people back to work. Whether it is energy policy or Main Street economic policy, this administration has been missing in action on job creation. They either don’t know how or they don’t believe in the free market economic system.  They don’t believe in the system that has lifted more people out of poverty than any system in the history of the world. And they don’t believe we deserve to be the largest economy in the world and they are seeking to change our standing.

The President hasn’t pivoted towards jobs and he hasn’t provided us with an energy policy. Cap and trade remains the central energy policy of his administration. He will point to the criticism he is getting from the left on nuclear power initiatives and his off-shore drilling announcement as proof he’s reaching out to the other side. But it’s like a game of “keep away” you played as a kid. He’ll extend his hand and when you put yours out, he’ll pull it a way and run.

The solution is simple:
1) Open up all areas of drilling for oil, natural gas and shale oil. This will create jobs and make us less dependent on foreign oil.
2) Allow science to find new sources of energy. Don’t allow the government to pick the winners, let the free market do it.
3) Set a goal like President Kennedy did to get to the Moon. Set a goal of energy independence in 10 years.

Now is not the time to pursue the costly and job-losing cap-and trade energy tax. The American people can’t afford it. They want to get back to work and they need a government that will get out of the way. Energy availability is the engine of this economy.

Unleash it, and we unleash the economy.

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