The Corner

Bennett: ‘They’re not serious about this’

Sen. Bob Bennett (R., Utah), a member of the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee, tells National Review Online that President Obama’s proposal to open areas of the American coastline to oil and natural gas exploration is “more of this administration talking a good fight about moving toward domestic sources of energy.” Yet when “you get into the details,” he says, “they’re clearly moving as strongly as they can in the opposite direction.”

While the administration may act like it is moving to the political center on energy, Bennett says that “tucked away in the language of its policy are countless actions that make it all the more difficult” for exploration. “Just look at what’s happening in Utah,” he says. “I’m trying to push Secretary Salazar in our direction. He keeps telling us that the administration is interested in natural gas, yet there is always some regulatory or legal hang-up that’s cited to keep anything from moving forward. They’re not serious about this. They want to implement onerous regulations. Same goes for coastal exploration.”

Bennett adds that energy will be a key issue in many states come November, and that “the marketplace, the ability of companies to explore,” will be how success in this sector is measured by voters. “[President Obama] is not going to get away with this, in Utah and elsewhere,” he says. “Just drawing a new line on the map means nothing unless those areas are actually opened, and not burdened or blocked by new taxes, fees, and red tape.”

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