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The Obama administration was often assailed in the past for its lack of an energy policy. Lately it is being assailed for its energy policy. The truth is the president has never been without a comprehensive plan for America’s energy future. From his fist foray into “Cap and Trade” legislation to his latest so called “All of the above” strategy Barrack Obama has never strayed far from his vision for America’s energy future. A vision that is filled with solar panels, wind farms, biofuels and is most notable for its absence of fossil fuels. His plan today is as it has always been, to slowly strangle the fossil fuel industry and promote “green energy”. In 2009 Tom Borelli, Ph.D. wrote a National Policy Analysis paper for the National Center for Policy Research. The title of that paper was “Ideology, Not Reason, Drives Obama Energy Policy”, this statement is as true today as it was then.
As prices rise and many start to clamor for relief Obama’s Energy Secretary has stated the policy of the Administration is not low energy prices but to wean the U.S. off oil. In the modern equivalent of “let them eat cake” the president is telling those that need gasoline to get to work in essence to go buy a solar panel. The American reaction to this has not been to go out and protest in the streets but maybe it should be.
This outrageous statement shows callous disregard to both the American people and the state of the economy. Of course the status of average Americans or the needs of individuals is never been a concern of the Presidents. He parades himself as caring liberal when it comes to justifying expansions of federal power like Obamacare but for the poor slob that is watching more and more of his paycheck go to fuel leaving less for things like food he has a heart of stone. If this is surprising to some it should not be, high fuel prices have always been part of his plan. Energy Secretary Chu is on record as saying “Somehow we have to figure out how to boost the price of gasoline to the levels in Europe,” which would mean $10-$12 a gallon for gasoline. (in a recent statement he says he no longer supports higher gasoline prices, an apparently pre-election politically driven decision) The truth is increased prices for oil has been at the heart of progressive energy policy for years. Gore reveled in it, Clinton’s Energy Information Office stated it, and Carter dreamed of it.
Oil is of course not the only target of the left, coal is often in the bulls eye too. Before congress balked at passing his ambitious Cap and Trade program he had stated publicly that he hoped it would bankrupt coal power plants. Since then his EPA has been trying to do what he failed with Cap and Trade to do, namely start pushing coal out of the marketplace. This despite the fact the U.S. gets nearly half of its electricity from coal. For sure his current plan is more tempered then the one he foresaw before he got elected. At that time he wanted electricity rates to skyrocket in order to make biofuels, solar and wind more competitive.
Now every reasonable person knows you cannot drive a solar powered car everywhere so what is the plan? Obama’s plan seems to be: First to reduce energy consumption by a combination of legislation, regulation, forced conservation and high prices and then try to fill the gap with biofuels and other renewables. Now this will of course necessitate a lower standard of living for all Americans. A sacrifice he seems ready for the American people to make (not him and his family of course, he like Al Gore thinks others should take the brunt of his policies).
Now transitions from one energy source to another are a part of human history. The difference is in the past transitions from one source of energy to another have been natural and a boom to mankind. These were natural transitions driven by economics and technology. Wood dominated the energy scene for millennia and only gave up its position to coal during the Industrial Revolution. In the last hundred years oil took over as the dominate energy source in what could be called a transportation revolution. In each case the old source was not abandoned but merely supplanted and slowly relegated to those areas for which it best fit. In our modern world other energy sources have and are taking hold. Hydro has its place as does geothermal and even wind in certain areas. Solar energy can be economical in limited applications as a supplemental energy source, mostly for heating hot water or even in stand alone power systems in remote areas. There is of course nuclear too but given the problems in Japan and the lasting memories of Chernobyl give it limited public support. None of these non-fossil energy sources have the potential to substantially replace oil. Only Natural gas, another fossil fuel, seems to have any chance at that.
The problem with Obama and progressive visionaries is they are not happy with the pace of natural energy transitions. As prices of gasoline soar the President’s response has been this is a problem “we can’t drill our way out of.” He is partially right, drilling more is only part of the solution but it is part. If the U.S. would of drilled in the desolate plains of ANWR back when we discovered oil there we would of had that oil by now. Expanding drilling in other areas as well as policies friendly to the new technologies for developing tarsands and oil shale will also help. Of course let’s not forget Natural gas. A change in policy today will not only make America’s future more secure it will start lowering prices today! America has all the energy it needs for now and the foreseeable future here at its feet. The problem is access has been blocked by those that think there is a better way. They want to force a transition to energy sources that are not even close to being able to fulfill the needs of society. Despite the hoopla of Obama and his followers there is no alternative to fossil fuels right now and in all likelihood oil, coal and natural gas will likely continue to play a large role in society for the next hundred years or more. This fact does not dampen the spirits of those that want to push the world to what some call pixie dust energy.
The price society is and will pay for their folly is deepening economic troubles and ever lowering standards of living. As Rick Santelli put it their plans will relegate the U.S. to third world status. Even beyond living standards there are real risks to lives and the environment. As we saw with the ethanol debacle there is also the added risk of starvation when biofuel is chosen over food production. It is also true that the impoverished areas of the world are also the least environmentally friendly. There is nothing that will impoverish people more then an expensive and limited energy supply.
As the election approaches and the President and if his ideologues face plummeting poll numbers the president will likely make more speeches on energy. Something he has done before. The question is will the American people continue to accept his rhetoric and empty energy promises or will the force a new course this November. One thing is clear, the present course has been disastrous for the American people.
There is nothing wrong with America that faith, love of freedom, intelligence, and energy of her citizens cannot cure. Dwight D. Eisenhower
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