Obama Anti-Energy Policy Leaves Americans Stranded With Rising Gas Prices

NRCC - It’s been nearly two months since gas prices started their upward climb towards record highs, and with summer around the bend, the financial strain on families and businesses is as bad as ever:

GAS PRICE NATIONAL AVERAGE CLIMBING FOR 26 CONSECUTIVE DAYS, AT $3.83 PER GALLON. (Alex Kennedy, “Oil Near $109 as US Gasoline Prices Jump,” Associated Press, 4/18/2011)

SPRINGTIME GAS HAS “NEVER COST MORE”: “‘Springtime gasoline in the U.S. has never cost more,’ energy consultant The Schork Group said. ‘Automotive diesel in the U.K. is at an all-time high and the price on the continent is fast approaching levels not seen since the 2008 bubble.’” (Alex Kennedy, “Oil Near $109 as US Gasoline Prices Jump,” Associated Press, 4/18/2011)

CONSUMER PRICE INDEX SEES SPIKE, FUELED BY GAS PRICE RISE: “The Consumer Price Index rose 0.5 percent in March, the Labor Department said Friday. That matched February's increase, the largest since the recession ended in June 2009. In the past 12 months, the index has increased 2.7 percent, the biggest rise since December 2009.

“Excluding the volatile food and gas categories, the so-called core index rose 0.1 percent and it is up only 1.2 percent in the past year.

“Consumers are spending more, but the steep rise in food and gas prices could limit their ability to purchase discretionary goods and services. Consumer spending makes up 70 percent of economic activity.” (Christopher S. Rugaber, “Food and Gas Push Consumer Prices Higher,” Associated Press, 4/15/2011)

The unabated rise in fuel costs is presenting the real risk of derailing the country’s frail economic recovery and stands to strain state budget crises as well:

GAS PRICE SPIKE COULD STUNT ECONOMIC RECOVERY: “Americans are paying more for food and gas, a trend that could slow economic growth in the months ahead.” (Christopher S. Rugaber, “Food and Gas Push Consumer Prices Higher,” Associated Press, 4/15/2011)

RISING GAS PRICES COULD WORSEN STATE BUDGET DEFICITS, WEAKEN ECONOMY: “The jump in gasoline prices fueled by political unrest in some oil-producing countries, as well as factors that could roil markets such as sovereign debt problems and Japan's nuclear crisis, may weaken the economy, slowing state income and sales tax collections.

“A stream of recent economic data has also pointed to consumers spending less on almost everything. Experts have estimated that a $10-a-barrel increase in oil prices means a 25-cents-a-gallon increase in gasoline prices which could translate into a decline of 0.2 percent in gross domestic product.

“According to a Reuters/Ipsos poll, higher gasoline prices have damaged confidence in the country's future and made some Americans change their spending habits and lifestyles.” (Karen Pierog, “Gas Price Hikes Threaten States’ Recovery,” Reuters, 4/14/2011)

Obama’s policy of blockading oil exploration has played a large role in creating the current crisis, destroying jobs, hindering economic output and leading to lost oil production:

19,000 JOBS, $4.4 BILLION IN OUTPUT LOST DUE TO OBAMA ENERGY BLOCKADE. (Testimony of Joseph R. Mason, “The American Energy Initiative,” U.S. Energy and Commerce Subcommittee On Energy and Power, 3/17/2011)

360,000 BARRELS/DAY OF PRODUCTION LOST: “Because of the moratorium and de facto moratorium, the United States has lost an estimated 360,000 barrels per day of oil production from the Gulf of Mexico in 2010 and 2011. The Obama administration also keeps postponing the approval of an oil pipeline from Canada. The administration cannot seem to figure out the environmental implications of a pipeline despite the fact that there are more than 50,000 miles of oil pipelines already in the United States. And instead of drilling here, the Obama Administration is promoting offshore oil production in Brazil and placing the United States into an air combat situation with Libya, a member of the Organization of Oil Producing States (OPEC). It seems that Mr. Obama’s administration will go to lengths to obtain oil supplies from everywhere but the United States and Canada.” (“The Obama Administration Is Slowly Reissuing Offshore Oil Permits,” Institute of Energy Research, 3/23/2011)

NO NEW DRILLING PERMITS TO DATE UNDER OBAMA: “The Obama administration would like you to think that major strides have been taken to increase drilling in the Gulf of Mexico. But, that is hardly the case. The administration has been touting the four drilling permits it has issued, but in reality, but these are not new permits—they have only reissued four permits that it suspended last year. The Bureau of Ocean Energy Management, Regulation and Enforcement (BOEMRE) also touted its approval of Shell’s supplemental exploration plan in the Gulf of Mexico. But due to the way the approval process was set up by BOEMRE, it is very likely environmental groups will sue the plan before any work actually occurs. These approvals are simply a mere drop in the bucket compared to what drilling and oil production could be garnered in the Gulf.” (“The Obama Administration Is Slowly Reissuing Offshore Oil Permits,” Institute of Energy Research, 3/23/2011)

THE WASHINGTON POST: SUPPORT FOR BRAZILIAN DRILLING “HARD TO RECONCILE” WITH DRILLING MORATORIUMS STILL IN EFFECT. “When was the last time an American president stood before an audience in a foreign country and announced that he looked forward to importing more of its oil? Answer: Just over a week ago, when President Obama joined political and business leaders in Brasilia in hailing the fact that their newly discovered offshore petroleum reserves might be twice as large as those in the United States. …

“As for offshore drilling, Mr. Obama’s enthusiasm for punching holes in the ocean floor off Brazil is hard to reconcile with his decision, announced Dec. 1, to keep the waters off the East and West coasts and the eastern Gulf of Mexico off-limits to exploration indefinitely.” (Editorial Board, “Drill, Brazil, Drill, Says the U.S.,” The Washington Post, 3/28/2011)

The White House, however, is trying to spin its way out of its anti-energy record by trying to claim credit for energy policies pushed under President George W. Bush. Instead of trying to talk energy prices down, when will Obama finally support more American-made energy production?:

MEANWHILE, OBAMA IS TAKING CREDIT FOR BUSH ENERGY POLICIES: “He doesn’t want to admit it, but President Obama is taking credit for something George W. Bush did.

“The White House is touting federal data that shows domestic oil production is at its highest level since 2003. In a blog post last week, Obama’s top climate and energy aide, Heather Zichal, points to Energy Information Administration data that shows oil production from the Outer Continental Shelf (which basically means the Gulf of Mexico) has increased by more than a third between 2008 and 2010…

“According to EIA’s short-term 2011 outlook, released last week, oil production was significantly higher in 2009 than in the years prior. Obama may have been in office for most of that year, but the oil production numbers are due to action taken before he became president. In 2010, most if not all of the production increase recorded is likely due to action that predates Obama, since Obama didn’t take any major action expanding offshore drilling his first year in office.” (Amy Harder, “Obama’s Fuzzy Oil Production Math,” National Journal, 3/17/2011)


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