R-Squared Energy Blog

Pure Energy

The Dangers of Big Oil

Probably the biggest reason I get annoyed over the demonization of oil companies is that an incredibly diverse range of men and women are all being painted with a broad brush. “Oh, but we aren’t talking about them”, the demonizer will say. “We are talking about the CEOs and fat cats.”

But you see, you are talking about them. Big Oil is not the CEOs and fat cats. They own a very small percentage of the oil company stocks, and they make up maybe 0.1% of the workforce of Big Oil. No, when you direct your ire at Big Oil, you are directing your ire at pension funds, retirement accounts, and a lot of hard-working oil company employees who deserve much better.

Some of these people are out risking their lives to bring gasoline to your local service station:

U.S. Oilfield Deaths Skyrocket With Demand

(AP) Less than two months into the job in the oilfields of West Texas, Brandon Garrett was sliced in half by a motorized spool of steel cable as he and other roughnecks struggled to get a drilling rig up and running.

Garrett’s grisly end illustrates yet another soaring cost of America’s unquenchable thirst for energy: Deaths among those working the nation’s oil and gas fields have risen at an alarming rate, The Associated Press has found.

At least 598 workers died on the job between 2002 and 2007, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. During that period, the number of deaths per year rose by around 70 percent, from 72 victims in 2002 to 125 in 2006 and a preliminary count of 120 in 2007.

“This is a very, very hazardous industry with a very high rate of injuries and fatalities,” said Peg Seminario, director of safety and health for the AFL-CIO. “Safety and health problems are not getting the attention they need. With the growing demand for oil and petroleum products, the production pressures are going to increase and the safety and health problems are going to get worse.”

The irony is that the industry – at least it was certainly true of my former employer ConocoPhillips – is incredibly focused on safety. Safety is drilled into your head day after day, so that you are always thinking about it as you go about your job. I have worked in a number of other industries and for a number of other employers, and in my experience the oil industry is the most safety-conscious industry around. But we deal with high temperatures and pressures and volatile compounds, and an attention lapse can be fatal.

But if you want to understand a bit better why I am often so quick to defend oil companies, this story may help you understand. Big Oil for me just doesn’t have the same face that it does for so many politicians who are quick to condemn the industry. And as bad as those fatality numbers are, oil companies don’t even crack the top ten of the most dangerous industries:

The 10 most dangerous jobs in America

Occupation Fatalities per 100,000

Timber cutters 117.8
Fishers 71.1
Pilots and navigators 69.8
Structural metal workers 58.2
Drivers-sales workers 37.9
Roofers 37
Electrical power installers 32.5
Farm occupations 28
Construction laborers 27.7
Truck drivers 25

September 12, 2008 Posted by | fatalities, Nancy Pelosi, oil companies | 168 Comments

Pinning Pelosi

I received an interesting e-mail yesterday:

Nancy Pelosi, Speaker of the House and Author of “Know Your Power: A Message to America’s Daughters” will answer questions in a live discussion on washingtonpost.com today (Wednesday, Aug. 6 at 3 pm ET).

Pelosi will discuss the current political scene heading into the conventions, the message of her new book and other questions submitted by readers.

To submit questions and participate in the live discussion click here: http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/discussion/2008/08/01/DI2008080102174.html

This seemed to me to be an ideal opportunity to pin her down on two issues that she is clearly passionate about, but seem to me to be diametrically opposed: Tapping the Strategic Petroleum Reserve (SPR) and reducing carbon emissions. So, I submitted the following question, several hours prior to the chat:

Dear Speaker Pelosi,

Perhaps you could clarify an issue that is baffling to me. On the one hand, you have spoken passionately for the need to combat global warming by reducing our carbon emissions. This is clearly a priority for you, as well as for large segments of the Democratic Party. On the other hand, you have also come out strongly in favor of tapping oil from our Strategic Petroleum Reserve in order to bring oil prices down. Given that high prices are causing the public to abandon SUVs and to embrace fuel efficiency and mass transit – exactly the sorts of things that need to happen if we are to reduce carbon emissions – how is your position on the SPR not completely inconsistent with your position on global warming? If in fact you push through your proposal on the SPR, won’t that lead to increased consumption and therefore increased carbon emissions?

Had I been a bit more long-winded, I would have pointed to reports that gasoline demand is in fact down this year, breaking a multi-year trend of increasing demand. Or I could have shown the many news stories showing record demand for Priuses while SUVs are not moving. The reason demand is down is clearly price-driven. Price is the clearest handle we have on moderating demand.

Unfortunately, Pelosi (or the person screening the questions) decided not to answer my question. Instead, they answered a question in which she could once more push for tapping the SPR!

Marietta, Georgia: Dear Madam Speaker,

Although this forum is primarily focused on your book, I cannot help but bring up an issue that is affecting each and every American. Why have the American people not seen energy legislation that lowers the price of gas?

Thank you

Nancy Pelosi: Now let’s pivot from book questions to a topic many of you have raised: the high price of gasoline at the pump and what we can do about it.

Every American family is affected by the high price of oil and gas. It is our responsibility in Congress to protect the consumer and increase the domestic supply of energy. For the past 18 months, the Democrats in Congress have set forth an energy agenda. Some has been passed into law – and some has been blocked by the Republicans.

House Democrats have put forward 13 major proposals that would increase supply, reduce prices, protect consumers and transition America to a clean, renewable energy-independent future. Each time a majority of House Republicans have voted against these proposals.

Let me be very clear: drilling for oil in protected areas offshore will not bring down the price at the pump for 10 years – and then only 2 cents. To say otherwise is a hoax on the American people.

Here’s what we can do:

1. Free Our Oil

We can have immediate price relief at the pump. Freeing our oil from the Strategic Petroleum Reserve will bring down the price of oil in 10 days. President Bush refuses to take this step for immediate relief.

10 years or 10 days – the choice is clear.

2. Use It or Lose It

Democrats passed the Drill Bill which says to Big Oil “Use it or lose it!” – drill in the 68 million acres in the lower 48 states or let someone else drill there. Also, “use it or lose it in Alaska. All of these areas have permits for drilling – and will produce oil sooner than drilling in protected areas offshore.

3. End Excessive Speculation Which Raises the Price of Oil

Democrats were part of a strong bipartisan vote was taken in the House but GOP leaders twisted arms to block passage.

4. Repeal the subsidies for Big Oil

With Big Oil making record profits, they do not need American taxpayers funding their drilling.

Instead we can invest in research, renewable energy, and tax credits for wind, solar and other renewables. This passed the House but failed in the Senate by one vote – John McCain was absent that day but said he would have voted no.

5. Increase Our Energy Supply With Increased Use of Natural Gas – a cleaner energy source.

There is immediate relief for the consumer – if only President Bush would free our oil.

I must say that Number 5 is a surprise, and something I have long advocated. Instead of recycling our natural gas into ethanol, it would be much more efficient to use it directly as fuel. As I have pointed out before, Brazil – the poster child for ethanol production – also has 8 times the number of natural gas vehicles on the road as we do in the U.S. They don’t waste their natural gas separating ethanol from water. Besides Brazil – Argentina, Pakistan, Italy, and India all have larger natural gas fleets than does the U.S. So for those who suggest that we don’t have the infrastructure in place to manage this, maybe we can learn from India and Pakistan. So I agree with Pelosi on this point: As our supply of oil depletes, we can moderate the decline with natural gas.

Number 1 on Pelosi’s list is the very contradiction I asked about, Number 2 promotes a myth (there already is a ‘use it or lose it’ provision in the law) and is nothing more than pandering, Number 3 may have some merit, but is again in contrast to her position on global warming (higher prices equal lower carbon emissions), and Number 4 says that oil companies should not be entitled to the same sorts of tax deductions afforded every other industry. I will let you all in on a dirty little secret: Big Oil also deducts the salaries of their employees from their gross receipts, just like every other business. Maybe that ‘subsidy’ should be eliminated. Maybe their deductions for capital spending should be disallowed. More subsidies. But I digress.

Can anyone explain to me why championing action on global warming while also championing tapping the SPR is not blatantly contradictory? Anyone? Or why nobody in the Democratic Party seems to have the guts to speak out on this contradiction? Instead, Barack Obama – long opposed to tapping the SPR – has now fallen into line and is calling for the same.

Actually, I think I know the answer to the contradiction. Proponents of tapping the SPR think that alternative fuels are going to rapidly scale up, displace petroleum with cheap ethanol, and the consumer won’t have to suffer in order to bring fossil fuel consumption down. To that, I would point out that the Energy Information Administration – the source of Pelosi’s claim that drilling in the OCS would only bring prices down by 2 cents a gallon – testified last year that they don’t foresee that cellulosic ethanol is going to scale up to even a billion gallons by 2030.

The EIA also predicts that fossil fuels will continue to be the dominant source of our energy supply for decades to come. So, the very agency Pelosi references in her argument for tapping the SPR is telling us in no uncertain terms that alternative fuels aren’t going to ride to the rescue. With that in mind, I believe it is impossible to reconcile a position of tapping the SPR with a position that reducing our carbon emissions is a high priority. It’s like saying “I propose that the nation needs to go on a diet. And by the way, I also propose that we increase the supply of donuts to make them more affordable.”

I just wish a politician would have the guts to step forward and address this contradiction.

August 7, 2008 Posted by | energy policy, global warming, Nancy Pelosi, politics, SPR | 17 Comments

Pinning Pelosi

I received an interesting e-mail yesterday:

Nancy Pelosi, Speaker of the House and Author of “Know Your Power: A Message to America’s Daughters” will answer questions in a live discussion on washingtonpost.com today (Wednesday, Aug. 6 at 3 pm ET).

Pelosi will discuss the current political scene heading into the conventions, the message of her new book and other questions submitted by readers.

To submit questions and participate in the live discussion click here: http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/discussion/2008/08/01/DI2008080102174.html

This seemed to me to be an ideal opportunity to pin her down on two issues that she is clearly passionate about, but seem to me to be diametrically opposed: Tapping the Strategic Petroleum Reserve (SPR) and reducing carbon emissions. So, I submitted the following question, several hours prior to the chat:

Dear Speaker Pelosi,

Perhaps you could clarify an issue that is baffling to me. On the one hand, you have spoken passionately for the need to combat global warming by reducing our carbon emissions. This is clearly a priority for you, as well as for large segments of the Democratic Party. On the other hand, you have also come out strongly in favor of tapping oil from our Strategic Petroleum Reserve in order to bring oil prices down. Given that high prices are causing the public to abandon SUVs and to embrace fuel efficiency and mass transit – exactly the sorts of things that need to happen if we are to reduce carbon emissions – how is your position on the SPR not completely inconsistent with your position on global warming? If in fact you push through your proposal on the SPR, won’t that lead to increased consumption and therefore increased carbon emissions?

Had I been a bit more long-winded, I would have pointed to reports that gasoline demand is in fact down this year, breaking a multi-year trend of increasing demand. Or I could have shown the many news stories showing record demand for Priuses while SUVs are not moving. The reason demand is down is clearly price-driven. Price is the clearest handle we have on moderating demand.

Unfortunately, Pelosi (or the person screening the questions) decided not to answer my question. Instead, they answered a question in which she could once more push for tapping the SPR!

Marietta, Georgia: Dear Madam Speaker,

Although this forum is primarily focused on your book, I cannot help but bring up an issue that is affecting each and every American. Why have the American people not seen energy legislation that lowers the price of gas?

Thank you

Nancy Pelosi: Now let’s pivot from book questions to a topic many of you have raised: the high price of gasoline at the pump and what we can do about it.

Every American family is affected by the high price of oil and gas. It is our responsibility in Congress to protect the consumer and increase the domestic supply of energy. For the past 18 months, the Democrats in Congress have set forth an energy agenda. Some has been passed into law – and some has been blocked by the Republicans.

House Democrats have put forward 13 major proposals that would increase supply, reduce prices, protect consumers and transition America to a clean, renewable energy-independent future. Each time a majority of House Republicans have voted against these proposals.

Let me be very clear: drilling for oil in protected areas offshore will not bring down the price at the pump for 10 years – and then only 2 cents. To say otherwise is a hoax on the American people.

Here’s what we can do:

1. Free Our Oil

We can have immediate price relief at the pump. Freeing our oil from the Strategic Petroleum Reserve will bring down the price of oil in 10 days. President Bush refuses to take this step for immediate relief.

10 years or 10 days – the choice is clear.

2. Use It or Lose It

Democrats passed the Drill Bill which says to Big Oil “Use it or lose it!” – drill in the 68 million acres in the lower 48 states or let someone else drill there. Also, “use it or lose it in Alaska. All of these areas have permits for drilling – and will produce oil sooner than drilling in protected areas offshore.

3. End Excessive Speculation Which Raises the Price of Oil

Democrats were part of a strong bipartisan vote was taken in the House but GOP leaders twisted arms to block passage.

4. Repeal the subsidies for Big Oil

With Big Oil making record profits, they do not need American taxpayers funding their drilling.

Instead we can invest in research, renewable energy, and tax credits for wind, solar and other renewables. This passed the House but failed in the Senate by one vote – John McCain was absent that day but said he would have voted no.

5. Increase Our Energy Supply With Increased Use of Natural Gas – a cleaner energy source.

There is immediate relief for the consumer – if only President Bush would free our oil.

I must say that Number 5 is a surprise, and something I have long advocated. Instead of recycling our natural gas into ethanol, it would be much more efficient to use it directly as fuel. As I have pointed out before, Brazil – the poster child for ethanol production – also has 8 times the number of natural gas vehicles on the road as we do in the U.S. They don’t waste their natural gas separating ethanol from water. Besides Brazil – Argentina, Pakistan, Italy, and India all have larger natural gas fleets than does the U.S. So for those who suggest that we don’t have the infrastructure in place to manage this, maybe we can learn from India and Pakistan. So I agree with Pelosi on this point: As our supply of oil depletes, we can moderate the decline with natural gas.

Number 1 on Pelosi’s list is the very contradiction I asked about, Number 2 promotes a myth (there already is a ‘use it or lose it’ provision in the law) and is nothing more than pandering, Number 3 may have some merit, but is again in contrast to her position on global warming (higher prices equal lower carbon emissions), and Number 4 says that oil companies should not be entitled to the same sorts of tax deductions afforded every other industry. I will let you all in on a dirty little secret: Big Oil also deducts the salaries of their employees from their gross receipts, just like every other business. Maybe that ‘subsidy’ should be eliminated. Maybe their deductions for capital spending should be disallowed. More subsidies. But I digress.

Can anyone explain to me why championing action on global warming while also championing tapping the SPR is not blatantly contradictory? Anyone? Or why nobody in the Democratic Party seems to have the guts to speak out on this contradiction? Instead, Barack Obama – long opposed to tapping the SPR – has now fallen into line and is calling for the same.

Actually, I think I know the answer to the contradiction. Proponents of tapping the SPR think that alternative fuels are going to rapidly scale up, displace petroleum with cheap ethanol, and the consumer won’t have to suffer in order to bring fossil fuel consumption down. To that, I would point out that the Energy Information Administration – the source of Pelosi’s claim that drilling in the OCS would only bring prices down by 2 cents a gallon – testified last year that they don’t foresee that cellulosic ethanol is going to scale up to even a billion gallons by 2030.

The EIA also predicts that fossil fuels will continue to be the dominant source of our energy supply for decades to come. So, the very agency Pelosi references in her argument for tapping the SPR is telling us in no uncertain terms that alternative fuels aren’t going to ride to the rescue. With that in mind, I believe it is impossible to reconcile a position of tapping the SPR with a position that reducing our carbon emissions is a high priority. It’s like saying “I propose that the nation needs to go on a diet. And by the way, I also propose that we increase the supply of donuts to make them more affordable.”

I just wish a politician would have the guts to step forward and address this contradiction.

August 7, 2008 Posted by | energy policy, global warming, Nancy Pelosi, politics, SPR | 17 Comments

Watch Stephanopoulos Grill Pelosi

George Stephanopoulos was relentless with Nancy Pelosi on ABC News regarding the question of allowing a vote on opening up more areas for drilling. In between repeated questions of “Why won’t you allow a vote?”, she repeated the canard about oil companies sitting on all of this undeveloped land (there already is a ‘use it or lose it’ provision), said that we need ‘real solutions’ like tapping the SPR, and said that allowing drilling wouldn’t make any difference anyway and was a gimmick. (Why not then extract money from the oil companies for the right to look?) She spoke out against the threat of global warming, and just as passionately called for oil to be released from the SPR, completely undermining her position on global warming.

See the video for yourself: Stephanopoulos Grills Pelosi

My hat is off to Stephanopoulos, as he didn’t let up. He kept asking the question, and she would throw all of these reasons out, and he would come back with “Why not allow that debate to play out?” He also pointed out her hypocrisy in refusing to allow the vote.

The Washington Post went after her as well in a Friday editorial:

No Drilling, No Vote

Instead of dealing with the issue on the merits, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.), a staunch opponent of offshore drilling, has simply decreed that she will not allow a drilling vote to take place on the House floor. Why not? “What the president would like to do is to have validation for his failed policy,” she said yesterday when asked that very question. “What we’re saying is, ‘Exhaust other remedies, Mr. President.’ . . . It is the economic life of America’s families, and to suggest that drilling offshore is going to make a difference to them paycheck to paycheck now is a frivolous contention. The president has even admitted that. So what we’re saying is, ‘What can we do that is constructive?’ “

If there is an explanation buried in there about why that makes offshore drilling off-limits for a vote, we missed it. Ms. Pelosi is correct that drilling is no panacea for the nation’s energy woes. The short-term effect of lifting the moratorium, if there were any, would be minimal. That doesn’t mean the country shouldn’t consider expanded drilling as one of many alternatives. There are legitimate concerns about the environmental impact of such drilling — environmental concerns that, we would note, exist in other regions whose oil Americans are perfectly happy to consume. But have technological improvements made such drilling less risky? Why not have that debate?

The money quote, and the theme that Stephanopoulos kept coming back to: “If drilling opponents really have the better of this argument, why are they so worried about letting it come to a vote?

I will reiterate my position. I think that by the time this oil would come online – perhaps 10 years from now – the country will be in desperate need of it. We could sell the leases now and dedicate that money to moving away from oil. This addresses both the supply and demand issues. I don’t support drilling without these kinds of conditions, because we will just burn that oil up and then we will be back where we started from – or more likely worse off. If we fail to do anything, then we will continue to send more and more money out of the country to feed our dependence.

My position is explained here – The Drilling Debate: Narrowing the Chasm.

August 3, 2008 Posted by | energy policy, Nancy Pelosi, OCS, oil exploration, politics | 28 Comments

My Drilling Proposal is on the Table

I said I wasn’t going to update until Wednesday, but have a little free time this morning. Imagine my surprise to read this headline today:

Senate Democrats offer deal to break energy bill standstill

Turns out they are proposing the same deal that I proposed in my essay from last week on coming to a compromise on the drilling question:

WASHINGTON (CNN) — Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid surprised Republicans on Monday by offering them a chance to vote this week on four GOP-backed amendments to an energy bill, including one that would expand offshore oil drilling.

The possible breakthrough comes days before Congress recesses for August and lawmakers return home to face constituents anxious for relief at fuel pumps.

Reid, D-Nevada, said Democrats would allow votes on GOP amendments that would permit new drilling on the outer continental shelf; the development of oil shale in Western states; construction of new nuclear power plants; and broader legislation that Republicans have dubbed “find more, use less.” That legislation includes expanded offshore drilling, conservation initiatives, the improvement of battery technology, and language to curb speculation in the oil futures market.

Energy legislation also has been stalled in the House. A bipartisan “energy working group” of 28 lawmakers hopes to break the impasse this week by proposing a compromise that couples new offshore drilling with conservation and renewable energy programs.

Yet House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, a California Democrat, says she won’t allow a vote on a bill that includes new offshore oil drilling.

It is exactly this coupling that I think will get both sides to an agreement. Pelosi runs the risk here of losing all negotiating power if she blocks this sort of compromise. Pressure to drill will continue to increase, and right now the Democrats could still demand pretty generous concessions. I predict that unless supplies can grow (and I don’t expect them to grow much) and stay ahead of demand, then the pressure to drill will only increase over the next few years – and the Democrats will be in a weaker negotiating position. On the other hand, I think we are going to end up with a Democrat for president, and he will have something to say on the matter as well.

July 29, 2008 Posted by | Alaska, alternative energy, ANWR, energy policy, Harry Reid, Nancy Pelosi, OCS, oil exploration, oil imports, oil prices, politics | 29 Comments

Please Make it Stop

The pandering, that is. First up, the presidential candidates take turns accusing each other of not having a plan for high gas prices, which the accuser of course has a neat solution for that will be painless for the public:

Obama presses on gas prices, Clinton highlights energy bill

INDIANAPOLIS – Democrat Barack Obama on Friday blamed high gasoline prices on Washington and a political establishment, including his rivals for the presidency, that he says hasn’t stood up to oil companies.

Barack, that’s incredibly naive. Why are gas prices high everywhere else? This problem isn’t limited to the U.S., you know. By implying that standing up to “Big Oil” would have made a difference, you show yourself as either incredibly naive, or you are pandering.

“So what have we got to show for all that experience?” Obama asked. “Gas that’s approaching $4 a gallon.”

You should get out more. By world standards, that’s still pretty cheap. I suppose all of those foreign governments are also incompetent for letting prices get out of hand?

Clinton, who is challenging him for the Democratic presidential nomination, derided his promise to take on special interests.

“When it came time to stand up against the oil companies, to stand against Dick Cheney’s energy bill, my opponent voted for it and I voted against it,” the New York senator said at a rally at Indiana University in Bloomington. “And that bill had billions of dollars in giveaways to the oil companies. It was the best bill that the energy companies could buy.”

Ugh!

The 2005 energy bill actually raised taxes on the oil and gas industry by about 300 million over 11 years, according to the Congressional Research Service.

Please don’t insert random facts into the story that would contradict the pandering.

“I’ve been a strong supporter of ethanol,” Obama said, noting that demand for the corn used to make ethanol is driving up food prices. “Corn-based ethanol is a transitional technology.”

At least we know where to point fingers, then. 🙂

Obama’s speech came after Sen. John McCain, the Republican Obama hopes to challenge in the fall, proposed suspending the federal gas tax for the summer driving season. Clinton supports the idea; Obama does not.

Score one for Obama.

Republican Party official and McCain adviser Carly Fiorina disputed Obama’s argument that the average motorist would benefit little from a suspension of the gas tax.

“I think it demonstrates that he doesn’t understand what hardworking Americans are going through,” she told reporters.

I have already addressed this very stupid idea: John McCain’s Bad Idea

In the speech, Obama called for a windfall profits tax on oil companies, with the money used to help consumers pay utility bills. He also said middle-class tax breaks he’s proposed would help families with energy costs.

Can he not see the problem here? How is this ultimately that much different from McCain’s proposal?

“But the truth is, there is no easy answer to our energy crisis — and we need a president who is going to be straight with us about that,” Obama said, a reference to his oft-stated contention that Clinton hasn’t been upfront with voters.

At least he is correct that there is no easy answer. He is correct that we need a president who is going to be straight with us. Sadly, it would appear that none of the candidates are going to do that.

But it doesn’t stop there. We have Nancy Pelosi using Earth Day to attack high gas prices:

Pelosi to Bush on Gas Prices: We Cannot Wait to Act

I respectfully ask you again to work with the Congress to allow the Justice Department to pursue oil cartel price-fixing, allow the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) the authority to investigate and punish price gougers, end taxpayer subsidies to Big Oil and invest those funds in renewable American energy. Lastly, your Administration must use the authority given to it by the Congress to end market manipulation. We cannot wait to act in the face of these prices increases.

Nancy, you may want to consult a history book to see how many times the FTC has done these investigations at taxpayer expense, and what they have found each time.

And the stupidity of this proposal from Pelosi’s letter is just stunning:

The No Oil Producing and Exporting Cartels (NOPEC) Act – H.R. 2264

This legislation enables the Department of Justice to take legal action against foreign nations for participating in oil cartels that drive up oil prices globally and in the United States. It does so by exempting OPEC and other nations from the provisions of the Foreign Sovereign Immunities Act when acting in a commercial capacity; by making clear that the so-called “Act of State” doctrine does not prevent courts from ruling on antitrust charges brought against foreign governments; and by authorizing the Department of Justice to bring lawsuits in U.S. courts against cartel members. This bill passed the House 345-72. You have threatened to veto this legislation.

Yes, let’s sue OPEC because they won’t sell us oil at the price we want to pay. Then maybe they will countersue because we are charging them too much for corn. Or perhaps they will just say “You know what? We just aren’t going to sell you oil any more.”

Our politicians are pathetic. They offer false solutions to problems they don’t understand. They could put us on the right path, but it would require courage. Yet the phrase “courageous politician” would appear to be an oxymoron.

April 26, 2008 Posted by | Barack Obama, energy policy, gas prices, gas tax, Hillary Clinton, John McCain, Nancy Pelosi, politics | 32 Comments

Politics as Usual

I received a story today from U. S. Newswire that goes to show that some Democrats also don’t “get it”.

House Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi released the following statement today on news reports that the price of oil has skyrocketed to more than $70 a barrel:

“The Republican Rubber Stamp Congress has passed two energy bills, costing taxpayers $12 billion for giveaways to big oil companies. But the Republican bills clearly have done nothing to lower gas prices, as the price of a barrel of oil has settled above $70 a barrel – the highest price in our history. Even the Chairman of the Federal Reserve agrees that gas prices are decreasing the purchasing power of American families and depressing the U.S. economy.

I almost hate to point out that the biggest giveaway was to the ethanol industry, by mandating an increase in the inefficient production of grain ethanol. But that’s not the reason for my ire. This is:

“Democrats have a plan to lower gas prices, taking America in a new direction that works for everyone, not just the few. Our plan would empower the Federal Trade Commission to crack down on price gouging to help bring down skyrocketing gas prices, increase production of alternative fuels, and rescind the billions of dollars in taxpayer subsidies, tax breaks, and royalty relief given to big oil and gas companies.”

You see, Nancy, lowering gas prices is not a solution. If America is “addicted to oil”, how exactly is lowering the price going to help us end that addiction? Higher prices will have the effect of slowing down our use of oil, especially if prices stay high for an extended period of time. I can understand your concern for American families, but you are not helping matters by calling for lower prices. Have you ever heard of Global Warming? Didn’t you recently issue a press statement condemning the Bush administration for failing to take action on Global Warming? Do you think lower gas prices will improve the situation? Given that we have had falling gasoline inventories in this country for several weeks, do you think lowering prices will help us build those inventories back up? Or will they make inventories fall at an ever faster pace? That is why gasoline prices are high, Representative Pelosi. The sooner Democrats learn that lowering prices is going to do nothing but make the problem worse, the better.

Politicians. Sheesh. Don’t we deserve something better than constant pandering to people? Can someone have the guts to look into the camera and say “Gasoline prices are high because of YOU, the consumer”? Can someone have a frank talk with the American public and explain that cheap gasoline is not an entitlement? We need some real leadership here. Europe has learned to deal with high prices by learning to conserve. It is time we learned the same lesson, but lower gasoline prices won’t encourage anyone to conserve.

April 18, 2006 Posted by | gas inventories, global warming, Nancy Pelosi, politics | 23 Comments

Politics as Usual

I received a story today from U. S. Newswire that goes to show that some Democrats also don’t “get it”.

House Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi released the following statement today on news reports that the price of oil has skyrocketed to more than $70 a barrel:

“The Republican Rubber Stamp Congress has passed two energy bills, costing taxpayers $12 billion for giveaways to big oil companies. But the Republican bills clearly have done nothing to lower gas prices, as the price of a barrel of oil has settled above $70 a barrel – the highest price in our history. Even the Chairman of the Federal Reserve agrees that gas prices are decreasing the purchasing power of American families and depressing the U.S. economy.

I almost hate to point out that the biggest giveaway was to the ethanol industry, by mandating an increase in the inefficient production of grain ethanol. But that’s not the reason for my ire. This is:

“Democrats have a plan to lower gas prices, taking America in a new direction that works for everyone, not just the few. Our plan would empower the Federal Trade Commission to crack down on price gouging to help bring down skyrocketing gas prices, increase production of alternative fuels, and rescind the billions of dollars in taxpayer subsidies, tax breaks, and royalty relief given to big oil and gas companies.”

You see, Nancy, lowering gas prices is not a solution. If America is “addicted to oil”, how exactly is lowering the price going to help us end that addiction? Higher prices will have the effect of slowing down our use of oil, especially if prices stay high for an extended period of time. I can understand your concern for American families, but you are not helping matters by calling for lower prices. Have you ever heard of Global Warming? Didn’t you recently issue a press statement condemning the Bush administration for failing to take action on Global Warming? Do you think lower gas prices will improve the situation? Given that we have had falling gasoline inventories in this country for several weeks, do you think lowering prices will help us build those inventories back up? Or will they make inventories fall at an ever faster pace? That is why gasoline prices are high, Representative Pelosi. The sooner Democrats learn that lowering prices is going to do nothing but make the problem worse, the better.

Politicians. Sheesh. Don’t we deserve something better than constant pandering to people? Can someone have the guts to look into the camera and say “Gasoline prices are high because of YOU, the consumer”? Can someone have a frank talk with the American public and explain that cheap gasoline is not an entitlement? We need some real leadership here. Europe has learned to deal with high prices by learning to conserve. It is time we learned the same lesson, but lower gasoline prices won’t encourage anyone to conserve.

April 18, 2006 Posted by | gas inventories, global warming, Nancy Pelosi, politics | 10 Comments