Thursday, March 8, 2012

Gas Prices, President Obama, and Keystone XL Pipeline

Read an interesting factoid - 77% of those who voted in seven of the 10 Super Tuesday states said that rising gasoline prices were the most important factor in their vote.  Since January 2009, gasoline prices have more than doubled, and is now reaching levels not seen since the summer of 2008.  Not only are gasoline prices high - they are at unprecedented levels for this time of the year.  Here in SoCal, prices locally are $4.40 a gallon for unleaded regular, and in some neighborhoods of Los Angeles, the prices are near $5 a gallon.

President Obama reminds us that there is no silver bullet for him to use to address gasoline prices. 

His Secretary of Energy is telling Congressional committees that the focus of the Administration is not towards reducing gasoline prices, but lessening our dependence and use of fossil fuels via conservation and promoting alternative green / renewable energy options

The President takes credit for increasing domestic oil production - even though all of the increases are coming from production on private / state lands that are outside the reach and control of the Federal Government.  On Federal lands, production is falling as the regulatory process and Administration policies are preventing new leases and new approvals for oil production.

One of the most visible aspects of this Administration's policies is the Keystone XL pipeline.  This pipeline, under Federal Government review since 2008, is intended to traverse from Alberta to the US Gulf Coast to bring 800,000 barrels of Canadian oil to our refineries every day once built.  However, as President Obama enters his re-election effort - he was faced with a strong objection to the construction of this pipeline by his hard left environmentalist base.  Unwilling to confront this needed base of support, President Obama tried to delay making a decision on the pipeline until after the November election.

Republicans in Congress did not want to let the President punt on this decision.  So they attached to a bill that the President signed into law a provision that required the President to make a decision on the pipeline.  Faced with the inability to delay the decision - President Obama rejected the Keystone XL pipeline...and with the assistance of the ever-so-compliant mainstream media directed the blame towards the Republicans.

Trying to address the problems of the Administration's policies which are directly contributing to higher gasoline prices, the Republicans sought once again to use the legislative process to force President Obama to approve Keystone XL and open a path for the US to replace getting 800,000 barrels of oil per day from unfriendly OPEC cartel members with getting this oil from our number one trading partner and one of our strongest allies.

As reported in today's QH, President Obama has been active lobbying members of the Senate to oppose the Republican Amendment forcing the approval of the pipeline.  The Senate Majority Leader, Harry Reid (D-Las Vegas), flat out declared earlier today that the Senate Democrats would rally behind the President and kill the Amendment...
Reid’s comments came just hours before the Senate is expected to vote on an amendment to transportation legislation that would force approval of the pipeline. The amendment requires 60 votes for passage.

The majority leader stressed that President Obama opposes the GOP amendment, but does not oppose the pipeline itself.

“So the president has not come out saying, 'I oppose Keystone,' ” Reid said. “He opposes doing it in the manner that's been jammed down our throats.”

Republicans pounced Thursday on a report that Obama personally pressed Senate Democrats to reject the Keystone amendment.
Not long ago, the Senate voted on the Republican Amendment...

...and defeated it by a vote of 56 - 42.

60 votes were needed in the Senate to approve the Amendment, and despite 11 Democrats who crossed over and voted with the Republicans, the effort fell 4 votes short of passage.  This is a clear message that many Senate Democrats are concerned over this issue and how it appears during this campaign season. 

Left unaddressed is the vapidity of both the position of the Administration and Senate Democrats supporting the defeat of the amendment.  An Administration spokesman said before the vote that the GOP is only playing politics with the Amendment and pipeline as it will take 'years' before the oil enters the supply in the US to be refined - and affecting gasoline prices.  As noted above, Reid, calls the effort 'jamming the decision down our throats' by not allowing the President to duck the issue during the campaign season.

There is only one party playing politics here.  There is only one party that is putting their political interests ahead of the interests of the American citizens. 

Building the pipeline, increasing domestic oil and gas production, and taking steps to lessen the regulatory burden placed on the energy industry will stimulate economic growth and add jobs.  This will help lower prices - and can be done in an environmentally responsible manner.  But that also requires those to abandon the dogma of man caused global warming and using higher energy costs to redefine behavior of the American consumer / citizen.

The President and Senate Democrats have reinforced to the American consumer where their priorities are regarding energy policy.  Higher prices are acceptable to this Administration - because the end goal - changing behavior to use less - is the ultimate goal of the Administration.  Remember that priority when it comes time to vote in November.

No comments:

Post a Comment