The Corner

Pombo On The Gas Muddle

Rep. Richard Pombo (R.-Calif.), chairman of the House Resources Committee, has issued a press release entitled, “Energy and Common Sense: Both in High Demand, But in Short Supply; Resources Committee to start hearings on supply from federal lands…again.” This title sums up everything that’s wrong with the current arguments over energy supply, almost as well as the current NRO editorial.

Pombo says, and the frustration is tangible:

“If America was facing shortages of milk or water, Congress would certainly take steps to increase supplies,” Pombo continued. “But as soon as we start talking about oil and natural gas – the lifeblood of our economic and national security – liberals in Congress turn the simple principle of supply and demand on its head in ways that defy logic and common sense. Opposing everything accomplishes nothing, except high prices and economic vulnerability for Americans.”

As developing nations like India and China increase the use of energy to improve the quality of life for their people, global demand for energy continues to rise with prices in tow. Fortunately, American taxpayers own roughly 2 billion acres of federal lands and the massive energy resources that lie beneath them. Putting Americans to work producing this energy is the key to lower prices and a strong economy.

“While some in Congress chain themselves to the door of supply – keeping the resources of the ANWR, the deep ocean, and other federal lands under lock and key – many Americans today are struggling to get to work because of high gas prices. This country has made incredible strides in conservation and efficiency, and we must continue to improve, but Americans cannot conserve their way out of an empty tank of gas. Democrats must join Republicans to increase supply. There is no silver bullet in solving this side of the equation, but a billion barrels here, and a billion barrels there, and pretty soon we are talking about real energy.”

Meanwhile, politicians on both sides of the aisle who want the price of fuel to rise to reduce fossil fuel burning and greenhouse gas emissions have absolutely no business complaining about the current price rise. Indeed, if the great American public does not reduce its consumption substantially with these prices, that is empirical evidence that they should be arguing for even higher prices. Honest environmentalists admit that. Someone needs to ask Al Gore what he thinks of the current gas prices. It’d be interesting to see whether he told the truth, however inconvenient it would be to his image.

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