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A Little Less Talk, a Little More Action on Gas Prices

Posted By Nicolas Loris On March 12, 2011 @ 1:00 pm In Energy | Comments Disabled

A CNN report Friday revealed the stark reality that gas prices have risen by 37 cents [1] since February 22, reaching an average of $3.50 per gallon nationwide. Prices are expected to follow an upward trajectory in coming months. At Friday’s press conference on rising gas and oil prices [2], the President correctly stated that families, consumers, and businesses all feel the effects of higher prices. Yet the rest of his message was laced with misinformation and wobbly rhetoric. Bottom line: The Administration’s solutions are not really solutions at all.

Denying that his Administration has hindered domestic oil and gas production, the President said last year’s oil production was the highest since 2003. This faulty logic ignores the months-long moratorium on deepwater offshore drilling that curtailed domestic production, sent some seven drilling rigs elsewhere [3], and fueled rising prices in a fragile economy.

To address short-term disruptions, the President cited the possibility of tapping the Strategic Petroleum Reserve. Doing so would both violate the stockpile’s intended purpose—for use during a “severe energy supply interruption” [4]—and do little to alleviate gas prices. It is wrong to risk the nation’s security as an attempt to cover up poor energy policies.

The Presidents also says he is directing the Interior Department to review public land leases [5] held by the industry that could produce energy. Let us be clear: Reviewing is not the same as acting. Though it is in companies’ best interest to move forward efficiently, their hands are tied by burdensome regulations along the process, during which interest groups may file frivolous appeals and lawsuits.

In the long term, the President’s policy is to rely on energy efficiency standards and a diverse energy portfolio. This portfolio includes wind and solar energy, which are not technologically or economically viable at present despite being heavily subsidized for decades. Further government spending will not lead to efficient commercialization of these industries, and government has historically failed in attempts to commercialize energy. It is irresponsible to increase government spending on projects that are not technologically viable.

The President speaks to solving the nation’s energy problems by revving up domestic production, but substantive action and direct changes are needed to back up these policy proposals. The American public sees the distinction between reviewing a situation and real action. The following steps would amount to real action by the Administration and Congress:

  • Allow access to domestic reserves. Permitting exploration of reserves in Alaska, Colorado, Wyoming, and federal waters offshore would inject confidence into the market, create jobs, and stimulate the economy.
  • Roll back regulatory burdens on companies. Strapping companies with onerous regulatory processes only hinders access. Litigation opportunities should be limited and the permitting process made more rational.
  • Issue offshore drilling permits [6]. Lifting the de facto moratorium on offshore drilling permits would gain companies access to domestic resources and increase our domestic energy supply.

The President may keep talking while consumers and businesses keep hurting at the pump.

Stability in the U.S. energy supply is sorely needed, especially amid concerns about rising demand and a struggling economy. As a Heritage Foundation report finds [7], increasing domestic supply is the answer to rising fuel costs and higher energy demand in the U.S.

This post was co-authored by Emily Goff


Article printed from The Foundry: Conservative Policy News from The Heritage Foundation: http://blog.heritage.org

URL to article: http://blog.heritage.org/2011/03/12/a-little-less-talk-a-little-more-action-on-gas-prices/

URLs in this post:

[1] gas prices have risen by 37 cents: http://money.cnn.com/2011/03/11/news/economy/gas_prices/index.htm

[2] At Friday’s press conference on rising gas and oil prices: http://cspan.org/Events/White-House-Briefs-on-Rising-Energy-Prices/10737420167-1/

[3] sent some seven drilling rigs elsewhere: http://www.americansolutions.com/drill/2011/03/top-3-myths-in-obamas-lecture-on-gas-prices.php

[4] “severe energy supply interruption”: http://www.heritage.org/Research/Reports/2011/03/Not-the-Time-to-Tap-the-Strategic-Petroleum-Reserve

[5] directing the Interior Department to review public land leases: http://www.whitehouse.gov/the-press-office/2011/03/11/news-conference-president

[6] Issue offshore drilling permits: http://blog.heritage.org../2011/03/09/ten-donts-for-our-government-on-gas-prices/

[7] Heritage Foundation report finds: http://www.heritage.org/Research/Reports/2011/03/What-To-Do-About-High-Oil-Prices

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