Cheat-Seeking Missles

Saturday, June 07, 2008

Quote Of The Day: Gas Wars Edition

"We're in a difficult position where we have a lid on production and we have increasing demand in the world. I would devoutly hope we see a reduction of the use of oil in the world on the one hand, and an increase in the supply so we can see some mitigation in the pressure on price,"
-- U.S. Energy Secretary Samuel Bodman

What?! No talk of cutting taxes on gasoline or subsidizing wind farms? Just supply and demand?

The shock! From a federal official yet!

Let's put this all in perspective with the help of the Natural Resources Defense Council, a "special interest" -- specifically, a national no-growth environmental litigation and lobbying practice. Last night on Hannity and Colmes, one of the guests was an energy policy spokeswoman for the NRDC, and the dialog went something like this:
Hannity: Do you support drilling for oil in ANWR?

NRDC: No, but I support alterna...

Hannity: Do you support drilling for oil off the coast of Florida or California?

NRDC: Yes, but not in the area of current leases. [Translation: No.]

Hannity: Do you support new nuclear power plants?

NRDC: Not with federal subsidies. [Yet she supports federal subsidies for less productive "alternative" technologies]

Hannity: Do you support extracting oil from oil shale in Montana and Wyoming?


Hannity: Do you support new oil refineries?


Hannity: Do you support increased coal mining?

NRDC: Only if clean coal technologies are available [with only the NRDC's definition of "clean" acceptable].
Bodman, speaking at a meeting of G8 energy chiefs in Japan, represents one end of the spectrum in the energy argument, calling for solutions that may not get sprinkled with Gorian holy water, but will solve the current short-term energy crisis that is hurting more people today than global warming is.

Ms. NRDC represents the other view: Lament high prices, but put the perceived global warming "crisis" ahead of the very real economic crisis, even if the long-term view ignores human suffering and threatens economic stability.

This is a tipping-point situation. Either the world is going to tumble head over heals into a deep recession caused by global warming hysteria, or it's going to slap down the Warmies and fix the oil biz.

I felt a bit "tippish" yesterday, when I paid over $4 for gas -- $75 to fill up my tank vs. $40-something a few months back. I feel it (and am adopting a more reserved driving style as a result), and I'm in better economic shape than most. Representing many of those who aren't in particularly good economic shape is the famous civil rights group, the Congress of Racial Equality, CORE. Here's what they have to say on the matter:
De Facto “War On The Poor” Being Waged By Environmental Extremists

Congress of Racial Equality Charges That Polar Bear Listing, Climate Change Schemes Are Disproportionately “Enslaving” Low-Income Families

Anchorage, AK (June 4, 2008) – Environmental extremists in Alaska and across the Lower 48 are waging a de facto “war on the poor” through policies such as the threatened species listing of the polar bear and climate change proposals like the Lieberman-Warner-Boxer legislation, according to Roy Innis, Chairman of the Congress of Racial Equality.

"Those who are pushing these extremist policies are trying to hamstring Alaska’s and America’s ability to produce American energy,” Innis said in a keynote address to the 33rd Annual Meeting of the Resource Development Council of Alaska. “That will raise the price of energy and the basic cost of living. And that amounts to de facto war on the poor.”

Innis explained that that higher energy prices disproportionately impact the poor. “The average medium income family in America devotes about a nickel on the dollar to energy costs,” he said. “The average low-income family devotes 20 cents on the dollar to energy cost. Truly poor families must spend up to 50 cents on the dollar. And, here in Alaska where we rely so much on diesel fuel for electricity, the burden is probably even higher for many native Alaskan families.”

"In Colorado, a recent study found that homeless families with children cited high energy bills as one of the two main reasons they became homeless," he said.

Low-income families and working poor will be the “biggest losers” from both the polar bear listing under the Endangered Species Act and climate change legislation such as Lieberman-Warner in Congress.

“There are seven deadly sins against the poor inherent in the polar bear listing,” Innis explained.
  1. It is based on faulty data and highly speculative science.

  2. It will hurt the polar bear as a species, because it will tie up locally led polar bear conservation efforts into the straightjacket of the highly inflexible Endangered Species Act.

  3. It will deal a body blow to consumers because of it will constrict energy supply and raise prices on virtually everything that we buy.

  4. It will deal a body blow to our economy because of the flood of destructive lawsuits it will unleash.

  5. It will visit the worst economic harm upon the low-income families and further handcuff the poor into the bondage of poverty.

  6. It will put environmental groups and radical lawyers in charge of America’s climate change policy instead of our duly elected political representatives.

  7. It will weaken America by limiting our ability to provide American energy to Americans. That makes us more dependent on foreign nations that are downright hostile to our nation and who give our petro-dollars to terrorists who target and kill Americans.” ...
“Too many government leaders have bought into the predictions of environmental Armageddon that we hear from radical environmental groups,” he said. “Instead, our government leaders need the same moral courage we had in the 1960s. We cannot allow environmental radicals to pass economic Jim Crow laws on their way to ending the American dream."
(I got this excerpt via email and can't find the transcript on the CORE web site. Here, however, is the contact info from the email if you would like to verify this or request more information: Brian McLaughlin,

This is a terrible situation that needs a fix, but it can't be fixed as long as the NRDC and their many friends -- basically every Dem in Congress -- stubbornly stick to arguments that were only marginally viable when gas was under $3 a gallon.

In another CORE statement (this one on-line), Innis looks at first, the ineffectiveness of black Congressional leadership on energy, and then at the Obama view on energy:
The Congressional Black Caucus Foundation recently hosted its annual legislative conference in Washington. A keynote session – billed as an “energy brain trust” – promised a lively three-hour discussion by top executives from oil companies, associations, government agencies and universities. It would “transform dialogue into action” and “bolster the relationships between the energy industry and African-American community.” Unfortunately, the session moderator squandered the opportunity and failed to explore ways America’s energy policies could be improved.

Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee of Texas knows the oil business and stressed that “energy is the foundation of our economy, the engine that drives the world.” But she showed up 40 minutes late, posed for photos, bemoaned oil industry shortcomings, and only then introduced the speakers. The session was half over.

The first panelist noted that many “public policy barriers” restrict exploration, production and delivery of needed energy. Several said more minorities and minority businesses must be involved in the energy industry, while others noted that US laws and policies raise energy prices, make excellent prospects off limits to drilling, and reduce opportunities for businesses and employment. Rep. Lee did not pick up on any of these critical issues, but nodded as her “good friend,” the CEO of CITGO Petroleum, extolled Hugo Chavez’s generosity to Katrina victims and pontificated about “building bridges” between Venezuela and poor US communities.

Most speakers kept to five minutes, to leave time for questions and debate. But after each talk, Mrs. Lee introduced various “good friends” in the audience – and her son, who “needs a job” – frittering away more time. There was little dialogue, much less an effort to analyze US energy needs or improve industry-community relationships.

An hour later, presidential aspirant Senator Barrack Obama declaimed that climate change is the most serious threat facing African-American families, and “environmental justice” demands that factories not be built in minority communities, because they might pollute. The message was politically correct, reminiscent of Democratic Party and Sierra Club talking points. But it was the same deficient analysis that brought us child welfare mothers “raising” children in fatherless families, schools ruled by incivility and violence, and uneducated youths suited for gangs but not jobs.

These are critical issues. African America cries out for thoughtful leadership. Our country hungers to embrace a strong black candidate for national public office. Instead, our Black Caucus mouths platitudes and marches in lockstep with activists and legislators whose policies are disastrous for low income and minority families.
Is the McCain campaign and the NRC listening to this? Why is McCain mouthing Warmie propaganda when he has the opportunity to speak for the multitudes that are fed up with the current policy, and are aching for a leader who will dial back the cost of energy?

If the current situation remains or worsens (a good bet), the election will turn on energy policy. The GOP must be the party that promises more production, more refining and sufficient environmental protections, leaving the Dems to be the No Change Party, the party of no more production, no expanded refining and continuing overly robust environmental regulation.

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