The Post reports:
President Obama on Wednesday will call for a one-third cut in oil imports by 2020, part of a plan he says will reduce U.S. dependence on foreign petroleum. With rising gasoline prices at home and political turmoil throughout the Middle East, Obama will seek in a speech at Georgetown University to rally Americans — and bickering lawmakers — behind a program that draws about half of that import cut from energy savings and about half from greater energy production, according to Obama aides who briefed reporters Tuesday.
It’s nice that he’s discovered the importance of domestic energy development, but his rhetoric overlooks his own policies over the past two years. Yesterday on the Senate floor Minority Leader Sen. Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) blasted the president for comments he made in Brazil “when the President told the Brazilian president that the United States hopes to be a major customer in the market for oil that Brazilian businesses plan to extract from new oil finds off the Brazilian coast.”
You can’t make this stuff up.Here we’ve got the administration looking for just about any excuse it can find to lock up our own energy sources here at home, even as it’s applauding another country’s efforts to grow its own economy and create jobs by tapping into its own energy sources.
For two years, the administration has canceled dozens of oil and gas leases all across America. It’s raised permit fees. It’s shut down deep-water drilling in the Gulf. It won’t even allow a conversation about exploring for oil in a remote, 2,000-acre piece of land in northern Alaska that experts think represents one of our best opportunities for a major oil find. And it continues to press for new regulations through the Environmental Protection Agency that would raise energy costs for every business in America — and lead to untold lost jobs for more American workers.
In other words, in the midst of average gas prices approaching four dollars a gallon and a chronic jobs crisis, the White House plans to make the climate for job growth worse. And that’s why Republicans, led here in the Senate by Senator Inhofe, have proposed legislation to prevent this new energy tax from ever taking effect without congressional approval.
The Obama administration talks a good game on fiscal sobriety, domestic energy production and every once in a while, human rights. But the gap between policy and rhetoric is vast. Congress should test the president’s seriousness on energy development and put a bill on his desk that puts the breaks on the EPA and opens natural gas and oil fields.
UPDATE (12:40 p.m.): McConnell gave a speech on the Senate floor this morning that including these zingers:
Over the past two years, the administration has undertaken what can only be described as a war on American energy. It’s cancelled dozens of drilling leases. It’s declared a moratorium on drilling off the Gulf Coast. It’s increased permit fees. It has prolonged public comment periods. In short, it’s done just about everything it can to keep our own energy sector from growing. As a result, thousands of U.S. workers have lost their jobs, as companies have been forced to look elsewhere for a better business climate.
Consider this: just three of the areas we could tap in Alaska are thought to hold enough oil to replace our crude imports from the Persian Gulf for nearly 65 years. So the problem isn’t that we need to look elsewhere for our energy. The problem is that Democrats don’t want us to use the energy we have. It’s enough to make you wonder whether anybody in the White House has driven by a gas station lately.