The Campaign Spot

Jindal’s Clinic on How to Talk About Energy Policy

Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal, at a press conference today with Virginia Gov. Bob McDonnell and South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley, was asked what President Obama could do about high gas prices and rising energy prices when the price of oil is set by the global market.

Jindal offered a quick, detailed explanation that ought to be emulated by every aspiring Republican president – and every other GOP candidate at any level, for that matter.

“Gasoline prices have doubled since this president came into office,” Jindal said. “For a state like Louisiana that produces a lot of oil and gas, rising energy prices in the short term may be helpful in terms of revenues and jobs, but the reality is if we’re serious about rebuilding our manufacturing economy, if we’re serious about helping American families to have the money they need to pay for other essentials, we can’t continue to have  these escalating energy prices.”

“Several things he should be doing: For the last few years now, he’s been slowing down the leasing activity both offshore and onshore. When you look at oil and gas leasing on public lands, they talk about the record production here domestically. What don’t tell you is how much of that activity is taking place on private lands, and what they don’t tell you is how much of that activity is based on decisions made before he became president.”

“The president himself talked about how energy prices are being driven now by the sense of future risk, not that current supply and demand are imbalanced. One of the things a president can do is create a predictable environment for energy production. He hasn’t done that in permitting and leasing even now. Offshore, we’re still not up to normal permitting activity and we’re still not up to normal leasing in the Gulf.”

“As an administration, they can send a clear signal on fracking, procedures which have revolutionized our supply natural gas, that they’re not going to shut this down. That’s incredibly important… Take a look at the price of natural gas. It makes a tremendous difference if you’re a steel manufacturer, if you’re a fertilizer company, if you’re a plastics company. It makes a tremendous difference for those using natural gas to heat their home. It makes a tremendous difference to those who use natural gas to fuel their vehicles. This administration could send a clear signal that they understand that fracking is a safe way for us to produce energy and that they’re not about to shut that down. There’s tremendous concern in the industry. These are huge, multi-year capital investments. Companies are looking for certainty.

You talked about the CO2 emissions that could come out of the EPA. The mere threat of cap and trade regulation… A Democratic governor asked today, ‘Mr. President, what can you do in the short term?’ Some Democratic congressmen have talked about using the Strategic Petroleum Reserve. Even the president himself said, releasing from the SPR without international action isn’t going to do anything, because other producers could just lower their production.

This president could stand up tomorrow and give a speech to the nation that says, ‘I understand how important it is for us to have affordable reliable energy, so I’ve instructed my cabinet heads to make sure we’re not issuing any regulations that are interfering with safe, sound domestic production of energy. I’m making sure we’re doing everything we can to bring more reliable energy to this country, and so I’m going to reverse my decision on the pipeline. I’m going to make sure Keystone gets built, so that we make sure the Canadians don’t go and sell their energy to the Chinese.’

We’ve got an ally that has been a steadfast ally and trading partner, for us to tell them we’re going to politicize the decision about whether they should sell energy to us or to the Chinese – that has an impact on supply and prices.

Maybe you can ask him to give that speech, since I don’t think he’ll listen to us.”

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