Toomey’s Take: We Need A Plan, Not Politics, To Lower Gas Prices Every time gas prices skyrocket, hardworking Americans hear the same talking points from some members of Congress about the need to pursue more expensive, less efficient sources of energy.
BigNews.Biz - Jun 03,2012 - Toomey’s Take: We Need A Plan, Not Politics, To Lower Gas Prices
Every time gas prices skyrocket, hardworking Americans hear the same talking points from some members of Congress about the need to pursue more expensive, less efficient sources of energy.
Unfortunately, this is the Obama administration's approach. In 2008, Steven Chu, President Obama's eventual energy secretary, declared, "Somehow we have to figure out how to boost the price of gasoline to the levels in Europe." Now-Secretary Chu's plan was simple: Artificially drive up gas prices to force Americans to switch to more expensive, less efficient forms of energy.
In the face of political pressure, Secretary Chu recanted his statement, but his attempt at damage control doesn't change the fact that the administration has gone out of its way to implement this strategy. Immediately after the president took office in 2009, gas prices were at about $2 per gallon. Since then, the administration has restricted access to America's resources on and off our shores, scaling back leasing plans for offshore production and denying or delaying permits for dozens of projects. As a result, oil production on federal lands was down 14 percent in 2011.
President Obama brags about oil production increases in America, but he ignores the fact that it is only trending upward on state and private lands because new formations such as North Dakota's Baaken Shale are largely outside the grasp of federal regulators.
On top of all this, the Environmental Protection Agency has announced new regulations mandating refiners to meet costly new emissions requirements for Tier 3 fuel standards, which a recent study found would raise the cost of gasoline further. And let's not forget the president's rejection of the Keystone XL pipeline. One high-ranking Democratic senator even wrote a letter asking Saudi Arabia to provide more oil to help reduce gasoline prices. This approach is unfair to the American people. As gas prices hover near $3.65 dollars a gallon, the country needs a serious, long-term energy plan that will lower costs and reduce our dependence on foreign oil.
Instead of asking Middle Eastern countries to do us a favor while increasing our dependence on them, Congress should spend more time and effort increasing energy production at home.
During my first year in the Senate, I promoted policies that would expand our domestic sources of energy. For example, I co-sponsored legislation to grant permits for the construction of the Keystone XL pipeline. Not only would this create thousands of construction jobs right here in the United States, it would expand our access to more than 700,000 barrels of oil a day from our ally Canada. I also co-sponsored the 3-D Act, which would open up new areas to domestic drilling and would require the federal government to act on stalled onshore permits. Finally, I have worked with my colleagues to prevent the EPA from using backdoor tactics to impose a cap-and-trade tax that would drive up the cost of energy, including gasoline.