McCain Scores With Offshore Drilling Proposal
By Dick Morris and Eileen McGann
FrontPageMagazine.com | 6/19/2008
John McCain has drawn first blood in the political debate following Barack Obama’s victory in the primaries. His call yesterday for offshore oil drilling — and Bush’s decision to press the issue in Congress – puts the Democrats in the position of advocating the wear-your-sweater policies that made Jimmy Carter unpopular. With gas prices nearing $5, all of the previous shibboleths need to be discarded. Where once voters in swing states like Florida opposed offshore drilling, the high gas prices are prompting them to reconsider. McCain’s argument that even hurricane Katrina did not cause any oil spills from the offshore rigs in the Gulf of Mexico certainly will go far to allay the fears of the average voter.
For decades, Americans have dragged their feet when it comes to switching their cars, leaving their SUVs at home, and backing alternative energy development and new oil drilling. But the recent shock of a massive surge in oil and gasoline prices has awakened the nation from its complaisance. The soaring prices are the equivalent of Pearl Harbor in jolting us out of our trance when it comes to energy.
Suddenly, everything is on the table. Offshore drilling, Alaska drilling, nuclear power, wind, solar, flex-fuel cars, plug-in cars are all increasingly attractive options and John McCain seems alive to the need to go there while Obama is strangely passive. During the Democratic primary, he opposed a gas tax holiday and continues to be against offshore and Alaska drilling and squishy on nuclear power. That leaves turning down your thermostat and walking to work as the Democratic policies.
McCain has also been ratcheting up his attacks on oil speculators. With the total value of trades in oil futures soaring from $13 billion in 2003 to $260 billion today, it is increasingly clear that it is not the supply and demand for oil which is, alone, driving up the price, but it is the supply and demand for oil futures which is stoking the upward movement.
The Saudis have made a fatal mistake in not forcing down the price of oil. We could have gone for decades as their hostage, letting their control over our oil supplies choke us while enriching them. But they got greedy and let the price skyrocket. The sudden shock which has sent America reeling is just the stimulus we need for a massive movement away from imported oil and toward new types of cars.
The political will for major change in our energy policy is now here and those, like Obama, who don’t get it need to rethink their positions. To quote FDR, “this great nation calls for action and action now” on the energy issue. What has been a back-burner problem now has moved onto center stage and McCain has put himself in the forefront.
The Democratic ambivalence stems from liberal concerns about climate change. The Party basically doesn’t believe in carbon based energy and, therefore, opposes oil exploration. That’s why Obama pushes the windfall profits tax on oil companies – a step that tells them “you drill, you find oil, and we’ll take away your profits.” But Americans have their priorities in order: more oil, more drilling AND alternative energy sources, flex-fuel cars, plug in vehicles and nuclear power.
With his willingness to respond to the gas price crisis with bold measures, McCain shows himself to be a pragmatist while Obama comes off as an ideologue to puts climate change ahead of making it possible for the average American to get to work.
Of course, the high price of gas makes it inevitable that the US will lead the world in fighting climate change. With $5 gas, Americans will switch en masse to cars that burn less gasoline. Already we have cut our oil consumption by 500,000 barrels a day in the past year (about a 3% cut). The move away from oil will be exponential from here on out, dooming radical Islam and reversing climate change at the same time. But while we are getting new cars, we need more oil and McCain has flanked Obama on this issue. Big time.
Dick Morris is a former adviser to Bill Clinton. Eileen McGann is an attorney and CEO of Vote.com. Together, they collaborate on books, columns and foreign political campaigns. To receive free copies of all of their commentaries, please sign up at dickmorris.com.
Just as class struggle forms the nucleus of Marxism, so does it sit at the very core of the Left’s climate alarmism. At a glance, the regressive nature of fiscal Carbon control schemes, be they taxation or cap-and-trade, would appear to be antithetical to liberal thinking. But beneath the veneer of both the domestic and international green agenda lies a devious wealth-redistribution plan compared to which all predecessors pale.
“The bill sets aside a nearly $800 billion tax relief fund through 2050, which will help consumers in need of assistance related to energy costs. The precise details of the relief will be developed by the Finance committee.”
“be used for refundable tax credits and rebates for middle- and low-income households, to compensate for any increase in energy costs resulting from the bill. Tax credits will be used to reach middle-income wage earners and senior citizens, and cash rebates — distributed through the Electronic Benefits Transfer systems used for food stamps — will be used to reach low-income households. All households earning under $110,000 will be eligible. Virtually all costs from climate regulation will be covered for households earning under $70,000, with benefit levels phasing out gradually for households earning $70,000 to $110,000.”
“And guess what this liberal would be all about? This liberal would be all about socialize — uh, uh, would be about basically taking over and the government running all of your companies.”
“In 1867, Karl Marx argued that capitalism’s cycle of labor exploitation could not endlessly sustain itself and would ultimately be its doom. Modern greenies insist that capitalism’s cycle of environmental exploitation will not endlessly sustain itself and will ultimately be not only its doom — but the entire planet’s.”
“The largest threat to freedom, democracy, the market economy and prosperity at the beginning of the 21st century is no longer socialism. It is, instead, the ambitious, arrogant, unscrupulous ideology of environmentalism.”
Greens Thwart Gasoline Production
By Steven Milloy
Fox News | 6/13/2008
Four-plus-dollar gasoline is forcing Americans to realize that we need increased domestic oil production to meet our ever-growing demand for affordable fuel. But even if the greens lose the political battle over drilling offshore and in places like the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge, they nevertheless are way ahead of the game as they implement a back-up plan to make sure that not a drop of that oil ever eases our gasoline crunch.
The Sierra Club and the Natural Resources Defense Council, or NRDC, successfully pressured the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency to block ConocoPhillips’ expansion of its Roxana, Ill., gasoline refinery, which processes heavy crude oil from Canada, the Wall Street Journal reported on Monday.
The project would have expanded the volume of Canadian crude processed from 60,000 barrels per day to more than 500,000 barrels a day by 2015. After the Illinois EPA had approved the expansion, the green groups petitioned the federal EPA to block it, alleging ConocoPhillips wasn’t using the best available technology for reducing emissions of sulfur dioxide and nitrogen oxides.
Apparently, the plant’s planned 95 percent reduction in sulfur dioxide emissions and 25 percent reduction in nitrogen oxides wasn’t green enough. NRDC’s opposition is quite ironic since ConocoPhillips and the activist group actually are teammates in the global warming game. Both belong to the U.S. Climate Action Partnership, a coalition of eco-activist groups and large companies that is lobbying for global warming regulation.
So even though ConocoPhillips is aiding and abetting the NRDC to achieve the green dream of absolute government control over the U.S. energy supply, the enviros still are in take-no-prisoners mode, refusing to allow the expansion of a single refinery.
Imagine what the rest of us can expect from the greens.
Meanwhile, in California, green groups are working through the state attorney general’s office to block the upgrade of the Chevron refinery in the city of Richmond. The $800 million upgrade essentially would expand the useable oil supply by permitting the refinery to process lower-quality, less-expensive crude oil.
California Attorney General, ex-Gov. and climate crusader Jerry Brown claims the upgrade will produce an additional 900,000 tons of greenhouse gas emissions per year. But Chevron says the upgrade actually will reduce the emissions by 220,000 tons.
Whose figure is closer to the truth?
It’s hard to know for sure at this point, but it’s worth noting that material false statements made by Chevron are prosecutable under the federal securities laws and California state law, while Brown and the activists pretty much can say whatever they want without legal accountability.
Whatever the facts are, Brown and the city of Richmond insist that Chevron eliminate 900,000 tons of greenhouse gas emissions so that the upgrade will be “carbon neutral.” While the greens remain vehemently opposed to the project, it seems their plans for blocking the refinery might go awry as Brown and the local government eventually may side with Chevron rather than the greens, but only because the company has deep pockets and is open to being shaken down.
Brown and the city have proposed that Chevron ensure that half the total emissions-reduction projects be undertaken on-site at the refinery and the other half be done either in the city of Richmond itself or elsewhere in California.
Translating the latter part of this “offer that can’t be refused:” Chevron essentially must purchase 450,000 tons of “carbon credits” annually from the city of Richmond or the state. As the street value of carbon credits is about $10 per ton, Chevron is being “green-mailed” to the tune of perhaps $4.5 million per year to upgrade its refinery — amounting to perhaps a 1 percent annual “tax” on the gains in gross revenue produced by the upgrade. And the local government officials are not the least embarrassed about this extortion.
“When you’re dealing with a refinery where the project will cost close to a billion dollars and someone like Chevron with tremendous resources, that’s not a constraint, so they should do everything possible,” an unidentified state official told Carbon Control News in a June 9 article.
The farcical nature of the entire transaction is underscored by that state official’s apparent lack of understanding about how greenhouse gas-induced global warming is supposed to work.
The official told Carbon Control News that the greenhouse gas emission reductions “are vital to protect low-income minority communities in the Richmond area, which already suffer disproportionate pollution impacts.”
Climate alarmism, of course, is based on the notion of global emissions causing global warming, not local emissions causing local warming; moreover, the allegation that low-income minority populations are disproportionately harmed by industrial emissions — the basis of the so-called “environmental justice” concept of the 1990s — hasn’t stuck since no scientific evidence supports it.
Though green and local government shenanigans can be a source of endless amusement, let’s get back to the main point. As the 2005 hurricane season dramatized, oil production, itself, is only one factor in determining gasoline supply and prices.
Damage to Gulf Coast refineries by hurricanes Katrina and Rita reduced gasoline supplies and increased prices worldwide — a real problem given that U.S. refineries operate at or near capacity thanks to other green constraints.
We may produce all the oil we need, but if we can’t refine it, then it won’t do much for reducing gasoline supply problems. So while working to expand domestic drilling, we’ll simultaneously need to expand domestic refining capacity.
It will be quite the Pyrrhic victory to finally produce oil from ANWR and then not be able to do anything with it.
Jim Geraghty reports on an interview Obama gave CNBC on the gas crisis where the candidate came out four square – for higher gas prices:
Barack Obama: I think that… we have been slow to move in a better direction when it comes to energy usage. And the president, frankly, hasn’t had an energy policy.* And as a consequence we’ve been consuming energy as if it’s infinite. We now know that our demand is badly outstripping supply with China and India growing as rapidly as they are.
CNBC’s John Harwood: So could the (high) oil prices help us?
Barack Obama: I think that I would have preferred a gradual adjustment. The fact that this is such a shock to American pocketbooks is not a good thing. But if we take some steps right now to help people make the adjustment, first of all by putting more money in their pockets, but also by encouraging the market to adapt to these new circumstances more rapidly, particularly U.S. automakers…
The obvious inference is that Obama doesn’t object to $4 a gallon gas per se, just how rapidly the price increased. Most Americans hate it and want gas prices to go down as rapidly as possible. Obama wants to “help people to make the adjustment” to “new circumstances.”Is reducing the price of a gallon of gas a policy priority for Obama? Or does he, like Thomas Friedman, believe that the president should “guarantee people a high price of gasoline – forever.”
It’s no secret that liberals believe gas prices have always been too low. But you might notice that they are having much more fun recently skewering Republicans and wailing about the high price of fuel.
Some Democrats in the past have advocated as much as a $5 a gallon increase in the gas tax to punish Americans for driving. Funny, we don’t hear much about those proposals now. And here’s Barack Obama telling us “tough sh*t America, get used to it.”
Something else that’s kind of strange; it’s funny how statements like this by Obama never make it on any other newscasts…