March 22 2012

Oklahoma!

Charlotte Hays

The Oklahoman has something to say about the president’s visit to the oil-rich state, taking place yesterday and today, and it isn’t anything along the lines of oh-what-a-beautiful morning:

Is it just us or is there something disingenuous about using thousands of gallons of jet fuel for photo ops that involve Barack Obama's professed love of alternative energy and his expressed concern over high gasoline prices?

The Obama campaign air show whistle-stops in Oklahoma Wednesday and Thursday, the first time the president has set foot in the state since becoming president. He'll visit Cushing to say how much he likes the idea of a new petroleum pipeline from there to the Gulf Coast. Is it just us or is there something disingenuous about praising the Cushing pipeline that would go south while blocking a connecting line that would go north?

Obama's energy plan involving “all of the above” (his words) has been put in a pipeline headed toward a few-of-the-above reality check. The administration is rife with bureaucrats who show disdain for fossil fuel, but Americans need the stuff to get to work — just as Obama needs it for Air Force One trips between campaign photo ops.

With regard to high gas prices, this president has a special problem: he doesn't like fossil fuels and wouldn't mind that filling up your tanks costs an arm and a leg if he weren't afraid that pain at the pump will be pain at the ballot box. President Obama is on record as saying that high fuel prices are good because they force more people to turn to green energy.

President Obama is also on record saying that a president can’t do that much to bring down high gas prices. This is true only if you can't see past November. A president’s energy policies will have a profound impact on the more distant future, and it is a sad fact this President Obama is laying the foundation for high prices for years to come. 

Victor Davis Hanson writes:

[The president's point] about the lag time between finding and pumping oil is valid. But that reality is precisely why presidents must green-light exploration for future generations — and why Obama is now bragging of record U.S. production only because of his predecessor’s granting of federal oil leases. Obama’s “it takes too long” argument is absurd — as if farmers should never plant new orchards since they won’t see fruit on their trees for three years or more.

Obama’s knowledge of U.S. reserves is 20 years out of date. In the first three years of his administration alone, new finds offshore, in Alaska, in the Gulf of Mexico, and in unexpected places such as North Dakota, Pennsylvania, New York, and Ohio have revolutionized America’s energy future in ways undreamed of just a few years ago. We probably have 100 years of natural-gas supplies at present rates of consumption and could cut our imported oil by 50 percent in a few years.

But, as Hanson points out, President Obama knows deep down that supply and demand determine fuel prices—that is why he is considering tapping the country’s strategic reserves and asking the Saudis to produce more oil.

Better than more foreign oil or diminishing our reserves, new oil in the U.S. would eventually help lower prices and create new jobs. The new energy would even, says Hanson, allow the development of alternative energies “without slapdash, Solyndra-like boondoggles.”

But the president would have to change the way he thinks to do this. 

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