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Congress: Lead (not likely) or get out of the way.
Click here to listen to the broadcast of You Tell Me on Newstalk 600 KTBB, Friday, July 18, 2008.
All the recent opinion polls say the same thing. The majority of Americans want action on high energy prices and they want action today. Right now.
Citing just one poll, the Fox News/Opinion Dynamics poll taken June 17 and 18, 76% of respondents favor more drilling for oil in the United States, 77 percent favor increased offshore drilling, 51 percent favor building more nuclear power plants and for the first time a majority – 53 percent – favor drilling in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge (ANWR).
And yet, Congress obstructs.
The arrogance of the Congressional leadership with respect to America’s energy security and the clear desires of the American people is simply breathtaking.
Those in Congress who oppose increased oil exploration justify their objections by saying that the fruits of such efforts won’t be seen for five to ten years. They ignore the fact that President Bush put forth an energy proposal that called for increased oil and gas exploration, the construction of new refineries, the construction of new nuclear power plants and $10 billion in tax incentives to promote new energy technologies in June 2001, seven years ago. The Congress thwarted that plan and they have thwarted all administration proposals put forth since.
The Republicans say we need to drill for oil. The Democrats say we need to forget about oil in favor of alternative energy sources. But they don’t say what those alternative energy sources are. That’s because the sources don’t yet exist. Your car still needs gasoline. The truck that brings food to the Brookshire’s still needs diesel. The airplane that flies you to your business meeting or brings you your overnight package still needs kerosene.
The fact is if we are to prosper, we need to do it all. We need to drill for oil. We need to develop wind and solar power. We need to find a clean way to use coal. We need to build nuclear power plants. We need more refineries. We need to find a safe way to use natural gas to power vehicles. And we need to do it all now.
Former house speaker Newt Gingrich made a very powerful point earlier this week. He said that World War II proved that we could move with amazing speed on multiple tasks. And he cited the numbers.
In the 1,347 days between Pearl Harbor and the Japanese surrender, we built 102 aircraft carriers, one every 13 days, 5,626 merchant ships, one every five hours and 42 minutes and 273,882 aircraft, one every seven minutes and five seconds.
As I have said before, we are the offspring of people who got things done.
So in this time when we ourselves should be getting things done, what’s happening?
Well, here’s one example. British Petroleum (BP) obtained all necessary permits from the Indiana Department of Environmental Management to expand an existing refinery in Whiting, Indiana. The expansion would allow the production of an additional 620 million gallons of gasoline each year. It will create 2,000 construction jobs and 80 additional permanent jobs.
You can bet that getting the permits from the state was no picnic. But with BP having complied with the law and standing ready to go to work, an environmental group called the National Resources Defense Council swooped in and filed a lawsuit in federal court to stop the project. Check back with me in five years and we’ll see if the project is even started.
Folks, we can no longer afford this. At the time of the Arab Oil Embargo we imported approximately 25 percent of the oil that we needed to fuel our economy. Today, that number is over 70 percent.
If Congress had acted on President Bush’s proposals in 2001, we would have accomplished much of the plan by now, we would have created thousands of American jobs, we’d be pumping millions of barrels of oil, we’d be producing millions of watts of environmentally clean electricity and we would be dramatically less dependent on the thugs in the Middle East.
And gas wouldn’t be $4.00 plus a gallon.
When the Democrats took over the Congress in 2007, oil was $50 a barrel and corn was $2 a bushel. Today, oil is over $130 a barrel and corn is $6.50 a bushel. What is the Democrat plan to deal with these unacceptable facts?
As we proved in World War II, we can get things done. The time has again come for us to do so. And step number one in our new plan of action is to demand that Congress get out of the way.