Running On Empty: Democrat Energy Policies Ignore Reality

How much longer will they cling to the fantasy that alternative energy will get us off of foreign oil? What are these new technologies that will lead to some sort of prosperity?

We’ve already seen what a disastrous failure ethanol has been. The ethanol plan has a) caused us to use more oil than ever before b) caused an increase in gasoline prices and c) has lead to higher food prices. And ethanol was supposedly our best hope for an alternative energy source. What are the others? The truth is, they don’t exist. Most of the ideas being vaguely alluded to by Barack Obama aren’t even off of the planning boards and are not, in any way shape or form, proven to be a more efficient energy supply than petroleum.

So, why are the Dems so dead set on continuing these failed policies?

Fred Barnes, writing for the Weekly Standard notes a few things:

Advances in oil technology–which Obama either doesn’t know about or chooses to ignore–allow drilling to go far deeper beneath the sea and thus farther from the coast. Some oil rigs in the Gulf of Mexico are nearly 200 miles from land. Serious spills from drilling offshore have become practically non-existent. More than 100 rigs in the Gulf were damaged by hurricanes Katrina and Rita without a single spill.

So Obama, the Democratic presidential candidate, was wrong. Now, like other Democrats, he’s in a politically awkward position. He opposes new drilling for oil and natural gas at a time when drilling in areas currently off limits has become popular. Three-fourths of likely voters in a new Zogby poll said they favor it, and Republicans have made it their top issue against Democrats.

Democrats appear wary of saying they oppose any boost in domestic oil production, which happens to be the position of a powerful interest group, the environmental lobby. But despite soaring gasoline prices, Democrats are against opening new areas of federal land or offshore for exploitation of oil and natural gas reserves.

Perhaps that is the answer. The Dems are beholden to the radical environmental lobby and are willing to toss Joe and Jane Average American under the bus in order to placate the environmentalists. In other words, they want Joe and Jane Average American to pay for the failed policies of the liberal-leftists.

More:

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said last week that the Democratic Congress is “moving America in a new direction for energy independence.” But preserving the ban on offshore drilling isn’t new. The ban has been in effect since 1981, but Pelosi said it’s not responsible for high gasoline prices. Who’s really to blame? The Bush administration and the oil companies, she said.

Pelosi’s most implausible claim is that energy companies are hoarding oil. If so, they’re doing this as gasoline prices have reached a record high price. And these companies are the same ones that Democrats accuse of being greedy and reaping “obscene profits.”

Hoarding oil–keeping it off the market–certainly makes no economic sense, which is why oil companies aren’t doing it. As supposed evidence, Democrats cite the absence of drilling in 68 million acres of federal oil reserves leased by oil companies. In truth, these areas are under active exploration that may lead to drilling. Drilling, of course, is the last step in oil production. Whatever Democrats may think, oil companies don’t drill first, then explore later to find if drilling is actually worthwhile.

Oil companies pay billions to the federal government each year for oil leases, most of which expire after 10 years. They pay an annual fee as well. In 2007, they paid $7 billion for oil leases in the Gulf of Mexico alone. Would they spend so much for leases and fail to follow up and look for oil? Not likely.

Pelosi also made this boast: “The New Direction Congress has enacted into law the first new fuel efficiency standards for vehicles in 32 years.” The law would boost vehicle fuel standards to 35 miles a gallon–in 2020.

But this legislation was entirely unnecessary. The free market is already increasing fuel efficiency. Car buyers are rushing to trade in gas guzzlers for vehicles with better mileage. And auto companies are closing plants that manufacture low mileage cars as fast as they can as they switch to building more efficient cars.

In other words, the Dems are all talk and no action. They will work their rear-ends off to satisfy a leftist lobby group, but will merely turn a cold shoulder to honest, hard-working, tax-paying Americans.

You can access the complete article on-line here:

Running On Empty
Fred Barnes
The Weekly Standard
June 23, 2008

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