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Editorial: Obama's Do-Nothing Oil Policy Hurts
Leadership: Making jokes about remembering what it was like to pump gas or speaking at a foreign-owned wind turbine plant does not ease the pain at the pump that has been orchestrated by the White House.
President Obama found time on the eve of a possible government shutdown to dine with the Rev. Al Sharpton, address his National Action Network Annual Gala and make quips about an energy crisis America finds increasingly unfunny.
"I don't pump gas now, but I remember what it was like pumping gas. ... I remember the end of the month (paying bills) .. . I remember that," the president joked Wednesday. Now he spends his time running up the nation's bills while he fulfills his campaign promise to make energy prices "necessarily skyrocket."
The president said he was not "out of touch" as the media accused President George H.W. Bush of being when he demonstrated unfamiliarity with supermarket scanners. No, the president is plugged into reality as he test-drives overpriced electric cars no one wants and tours foreign-owned wind turbine plants.
Speaking at such a plant in Fairless Hills, Pa., owned by the Spanish firm Gamesa, Obama said there was "not much we can do next week or two weeks from now" about gas prices. He didn't address his two-year war on domestic energy including a seven-year moratorium on oil drilling off both coasts, the eastern Gulf of Mexico and in the Chukchi and Beaufort seas off Alaska.
He could lift that ban today, sending a powerful supply-and-demand signal to the market. He could unlock areas in the West where oil shale reserves are estimated to be triple the crude Saudi Arabia has underground.
He could support the Keystone pipeline project to deliver oil from Canada's tar sands to the U.S. market. That project would build a 1,661-mile pipeline from Alberta to refineries near Houston, create 13,000 "shovel-ready" jobs and provide 500,000 more barrels of oil per day. But the president who wants to reduce oil imports by a third wants to increase them from Brazil.
Instead, the president says oil companies aren't using the leases they have. But an oil lease is only a license to explore, not a guarantee of finding oil. If there were oil in these areas that could be profitably extracted, oil companies would do so.
They're not the ones who are driving up prices by restricting supply. It's an Obama administration that includes a secretary of energy, Steven Chu, who has said "we have to figure out how to boost the price of gasoline to the levels in Europe." He was talking about $8 a gallon or higher.
President Obama did not tell his audience at the Spanish-owned facility about Spain's experience with wind energy. A study of Spain's experience with subsidizing wind on the grand scale Obama envisions shows that for every "green" job created, 2.2 jobs were lost in other industries.
"If you're complaining about the price of gas, and you're only getting eight miles a gallon," Obama said laughingly to a question about gas prices at the wind facility, you might want to consider a trade-in. Perhaps to a $40,000 Chevy Volt with a $7,500 government subsidy made by GM (aka "Government Motors").
Or you could wait two years and consider a trade-in for a new president.