Our Tanks Are On FullNewt Gingrich
The energy crisis is an artificial one, created by bad policies.
For the past 30 years, America has grown increasingly dependent upon foreign sources of energy, sending American dollars to countries that are hostile to American interests and leaving us vulnerable to wild fluctuations in energy prices.
This energy crisis has not gone unnoticed in Washington. Every U.S. president since Richard Nixon has spoken about the need to make America more energy-independent. Despite their strong words, no rational strategy has been implemented for achieving that goal. In fact, where government has acted, it has usually made the problem worse.
Let's be clear: our energy crisis is not due to a lack of American energy resources. We have more coal than any other country in the world. There are 86 billion barrels of oil and 420 trillion cubic feet of natural gas lying undeveloped offshore. Shale-oil reservoirs in parts of Colorado and Utah could hold upwards of 1 trillion barrels of oil—more than three times the proven reserves in Saudi Arabia. Nuclear power is a clean source of energy that produces zero carbon emissions. It generates 20 percent of America's electric power today, and with the right investment could generate far more.
Instead, America is suffering from an artificial energy crisis, one that is the product of our government's policies, not despite them. For example, until September 2008, Congress had made it illegal to drill for oil and natural gas in most areas off our coasts. Congress still forbids the development of the vast shale-oil reserves in the Rocky Mountains even though there are promising technologies that could make extracting oil from shale economically competitive. In addition, laws passed in the 1970s banning the recycling of spent nuclear fuel forced nuclear-power plants to invest in techniques to dispose of the fuel; the long-running feud over where to store the spent fuel has helped prevent the construction of more plants.
And now, in 2009, instead of making energy cheaper—which would help create jobs and save Americans money—President Obama wants to impose a
crap cap-and-trade regime. Such a plan would have the effect of an across-the-board energy tax on every American. That will make our artificial energy crisis even worse—and raising taxes during a deep economic recession will only accelerate American job losses.
© Janet Crain
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