EDITOR’S NOTE: The following is an opinion editorial submitted by Senator Orrin Hatch (R-Utah). The opinions are solely his and not those of St. George News.
OPINION – To prop up his claim that his policies are working and the U.S. economy is turning the corner, President Obama recently offered some dubious evidence: rising gas prices. He said gas prices are rising “because as the economy strengthens, global demand for oil increases.”
That’s absurd. Far from indicating this White House’s policies are working, the skyrocketing price of oil indicates they are driving our economy into the ditch. They also show the President’s lack of leadership in coming up with a coherent energy policy that creates jobs, keeps gas prices low, develops our domestic resources and lessens our dependence on foreign oil.
When the President took office three years ago, the average cost of a gallon of gas was $1.85. It has nearly doubled since then to a staggering $3.59. And gas prices have never risen so high as early as they have this year.
How high will they go?
Some predict the nationwide price of gas reaching $5 per gallon by Memorial Day; others foresee gas prices spiking at well over $4 per gallon. And, contrary to what the President says, these price hikes are coming despite the fact that domestic consumption declined last year and the International Energy Agency has lowered its forecast for global oil demand this year.
Still, rather than admit the failure of its energy policies, the Obama administration has written off Americans’ concerns about oil prices as “an annual affair bolstered by media hysteria.” But even the media isn’t buying it. NBC’s Chuck Todd recently noted, “There is no issue that has been … a bigger bust for the President than energy policy in general … We can come up with a lot of excuses as to why, but boy … he’s made no progress.”
As harsh as this criticism may seem, I think he is being too kind given this White House’s abysmal record. For example, the Administration is withholding more than $100 million worth of oil leases in Utah and Wyoming. It has further cut access to federal lands for oil shale development in the West by 75 percent and has proposed a 50 percent royalty hike on domestic energy production on public lands. The President also rejected the Keystone pipeline, which would have created 20,000 U.S. jobs and carried more than 700,000 barrels per day of crude oil from Canada to U.S. refineries along the Gulf Coast. As a result, Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper is in talks with Beijing to sell that oil to the Chinese.
And that’s only the beginning of the Administration’s war on domestic energy. Its offshore oil and gas leasing plan for 2012 through 2017, calls for a 50 percent reduction in lease sales and for opening less than 3 percent of offshore areas to oil exploration. It also is regulating many domestic energy developers and as many as seven U.S. refineries out of business.
Incredibly, in his speech this past Thursday in Florida, the President had the audacity to say that “under his administration, America is producing more oil than at any time in the last eight years.” What he failed to mention, as The Miami Herald reported, is that “nearly all drilling was approved under his predecessor, President Bush.”
That said, this White House is having success in two areas – appeasing it radical environmentalist allies and fulfilling Energy Secretary Steven Chu’s quest of finding “out how to boost the price of gasoline to the levels in Europe.”
Well, Europe is a nice place to visit, but Americans have chosen to live here. And with gas prices and home heating costs on the rise, they deserve action to meet their needs, not more campaign speeches from the most anti-American energy Administration in our nation’s history.
— Sen. Orrin Hatch, R-Utah