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Report Finds Obama Policies to Blame for High Energy Prices

A new report from the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform details a disturbing “pattern of evidence” indicating that not only are the Obama administration’s energy policies responsible for higher oil and gas prices, but that the administration’s energy policy, in fact, is higher gas prices. 

The report’s findings are the result of an extensive committee review of public records, policy analysis, statements and e-mails from administration officials, and reveal “a pattern of actions [that] shows the Administration is, in fact, pursuing an agenda to raise the price Americans pay for energy,” according to a copy of the report obtained by National Review Online.

“What President Obama failed to accomplish through the so-called ‘cap and trade’ program, his administration is attempting to accomplish through regulatory roadblocks, energy tax increases, and other targeted efforts to prohibit development of domestic energy resources,” the report concludes.

Among the report’s key findings:

  • Key administration officials, including President Obama and Energy Secretary Steven Chu have gone on record in support of higher energy prices as a means to promote “green” technology by making it more economically viable. The failed “cap and trade” legislation is a prime example of this approach. “The result of this government action is less production, higher costs for producers, and more expensive energy,” the reports states.

  • The United States currently boasts the largest domestic energy resources on earth — “greater than Saudi Arabia, China and Canada combined.” New technology has allowed for greater access to these resources — with the potential to increase domestic production by up to 40 percent — but government regulations threaten to severely limit or restrict development.

  • Despite the fact that the United States relies on carbon-based fuels for more than 80 percent of its energy needs, the Obama administration has been “aggressively suppressing” the utilization of these fuels.

  • Current administration policies have limited the domestic production of oil by restricting access to resources located along the outer continental shelf. Many of these restrictions were put in place before the disastrous Gulf oil spill.

  • Government agencies have stepped up efforts to regulate energy production indirectly through environmental restrictions, for example, by placing on the Endangered Species list certain animals that live in resource rich habitats, or “targeting independent energy producers for environmental concerns not related to their operations.”

  • President Obama’s proposal to increase taxes on the energy industry (and transfer some of the money to “green” energy) will severely impact the independent operators responsible for 95 percent of domestic oil and gas production. The proposed tax hikes would cost these firms a combined $12 billion in the first year alone.

  • Independent operators are responsible for 95 percent of domestic oil and gas wells and they currently invest 150% of their domestic cash flow back into future projects development. Tax increases proposed by President Obama, some of which would be transferred to “green” energy producers, would cost energy producing firms a combined $12 billion in the first year.

  • Many of the “green” energy sources promoted by the administration “create unintended environmental, security and economic consequences,” for example, by increasing the demand for Chinese “rare earth” materials, which subsequently boosts harmful coal production because that’s where more than two-thirds of China’s energy comes from.

According to the report, the administration’s “concerted campaign” to keep energy prices high extends “across government agencies” and constitutes a complete disregard for governmental transparency, much less the pocketbooks of all of those affected by the increased cost of energy. “An effort to intentionally raise the costs of traditional energy sources is a dangerous strategy that will harm economic recovery and job growth,” the report asserts. “If past statements of key administration officials are indeed reflections of the policies they are pursuing, this strategy is playing a quiet but significant role in the higher energy prices Americans are currently paying.”

The committee is releasing the report in conjunction with a hearing Tuesday morning titled “Pain at the Pump: Policies that Suppress Domestic Production of Oil and Gas.” Members will hear testimony from Lisa Jackson, Administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency, and David Hayes, Deputy Secretary at the Department of the Interior. The hearing, designed to examine the harmful effects of government regulation on economic productivity, is part of the House Republican majority’s recent efforts to promote the “growth” portion of its “cut and grow” agenda.

Andrew StilesAndrew Stiles is a political reporter for National Review Online. He previously worked at the Washington Free Beacon, and was an intern at The Hill newspaper. Stiles is a 2009 ...


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