• The Heritage Network
    • Resize:
    • A
    • A
    • A
  • Donate
  • They Can't Outrun the Law Forever

    Writing in the Modesto Bee, Rep. George Radanovich (R-CA) reports: “Listening to constituents this Memorial Day, the issue most on their minds was the price of gasoline.”

    Judging from the Senate’s desperate effort to “do something” about gas prices this week, we’re guessing most congressmen heard the exact same things from their constituents. Liberals in the Senate trotted out the same grab bag of meaningless measures for their energy bill this week: windfall profits taxes on oil companies, increased taxes for domestic oil producers, and lawsuits against OPEC. The Los Angeles Times editorial board (hardly a bastion of conservative thought) called the Democratic plan “silly”and added “Trying to find an economist who thinks a windfall-profits tax is a good idea is like searching for a climatologist who thinks global warming is caused by trees.”

    For decades now liberals in Congress and the White House have been restricting domestic U.S. energy production and have escaped paying the political consequences of the requisite high energy prices. But you can’t outrun the law law of supply and demand forever. USA Today editorialized today:

    Surging gasoline prices have prompted renewed calls for drilling in environmentally sensitive areas, particularly Alaska’s potentially oil-rich Arctic National Wildlife Refuge.

    It’s true that any serious oil production from ANWR would take about 10 years. But dealing with the energy situation requires an ability to look beyond quick fixes. The fact is, ANWR oil would be flowing now if President Clinton hadn’t vetoed a drilling bill in 1995.

    Estimates are that the area could eventually produce about a million barrels of oil a day for 30 years. That’s nearly 5% of the 21 million barrels a day Americans consume, and almost as much as the United States imports from Venezuela — where the money Americans spend for oil enriches a leader who bitterly opposes U.S. interests and helps fund an armed insurrection against U.S. ally Colombia. Congress has been arguing about ANWR for nearly three decades; it’s time to break the gridlock.

    Both USA Today and the L.A.Times  claim that opening up ANWR would do nothing to lower the price of gas today. But they are ignoring how futures markets affect the price of oil. Rep. Radanovich explains:

    Speculators look at unrest in Nigeria and the Middle East and are betting that oil supply will continue to be a problem. If America commits to increasing its domestic oil production, it can provide immediate, near-term relief at the pump.

    If the U.S .wants to prove to the world we are serious about lowering the price of oil, we will have to commit to more than just ANWR. A Department of Interior study estimates the U.S. has 19 billion barrels of oil onshore that could easily be developed if Congress changed policies. An additional 85.9 billion barrels of oil are available to the U.S. offshore as well. China sure is aware of these vast oil reserves. The Chinese are currently drilling for oil 60 miles of the cost of Floridacloser to the shore than U.S. companies are.

    Americans are starting to get it. According to Gallup, 57 percent of Americans support allowing drilling in U.S. coastal and wilderness areas currently off limits. Conservatives can ease Americans’ pain at the pump and save the economy if they continue to press this issue.

    Posted in Energy [slideshow_deploy]

    5 Responses to They Can't Outrun the Law Forever

    1. Bill, N. Dakota says:

      Can any person out there, any person, please answer this question: We as a country, using our incredible might,invaded and devastated two countries (Iraq and Afghanistan). Whether it was justified or not is a moot point. My question is: If we have the power and might to do that under the name of security and our very security is based on petroleum, what is stopping the drilling for oil in Alaska, North Dakota etc? Environmentalists? We devastate two countries and yet we are stymied by tree huggers? Does this not smack of conspiracy?

      Until I find a "plausible" answer I will continue to KNOW that our entire system is corrupt and in the hands of unscrupulous and cowardly leaders. We are at the end of America's run. It was good while it lasted. Best if we grab onto China's shirt tail and go along for the ride. Afterall, it's better to be at the hand of the devil than to be in his path.

    2. Mike, Dallas, TX says:

      Wow Bill, couldn't agree more. Being from ND originally I understand what you are talking about with the whole "Bakken" thing forthcoming. It is getting interesting as I still own land/mineral rights in the great Flickertail state. I hate to answer your what I believe to be a seemingly rhetorical question with a question but did theses liberals in Congress not take economics in high school? I mean taxing the oil companies' profits is only going to cause them to "pass" that right onto us in the way of even higher prices is it not? The laws of supply and demand are not rocket science, even for this Fargo North grad!

    3. Bill Kinney - Arizon says:

      Bill and Mike; I agree with both of you guys about the economics and the foolishness of the windfall tax idea, but we also have to ask the question: Did the conservatives ever take a history class or civics class in high school? Invading a country with 1,000's of years of nomadic history and thinking we were going to change it in a couple of years to a market driven democracy is a bit on the ridiculous and costly side. Trillions lost that could have been used to search for more energy. A don't agree with the ANWR decision but let's not devistate that area as we did in Iraq and Afghanistan just because we don't like policy. Let's change the policy for the better.

    4. Mike, Dallas, TX says:

      In regard to Iraq, I agree that we may have been a bit conceded, but the fast is, we are over there. We need to finish what we started once and for all and get our boys back home. As for ANWR, I'm sorry, but we are higher in the food chain. That may sound selfish, but that's the way it is and needs to be.

    5. Pingback: Don Surber » Blog Archive » Just ask me

    Comments are subject to approval and moderation. We remind everyone that The Heritage Foundation promotes a civil society where ideas and debate flourish. Please be respectful of each other and the subjects of any criticism. While we may not always agree on policy, we should all agree that being appropriately informed is everyone's intention visiting this site. Profanity, lewdness, personal attacks, and other forms of incivility will not be tolerated. Please keep your thoughts brief and avoid ALL CAPS. While we respect your first amendment rights, we are obligated to our readers to maintain these standards. Thanks for joining the conversation.

    Big Government Is NOT the Answer

    Your tax dollars are being spent on programs that we really don't need.

    I Agree I Disagree ×

    Get Heritage In Your Inbox — FREE!

    Heritage Foundation e-mails keep you updated on the ongoing policy battles in Washington and around the country.