Posts Tagged ‘refineries’

Redistributing Failure: Obama EPA Goes To War Against Texas

December 28, 2010

The last Census pretty much proved the point: there is a clear population flow from failed liberal states to successful conservative ones.  And the state of Texas was the biggest winner of all.

Here’s a great title that pretty much sums it up:

Census Winners (Texas) and Losers (Obama)

So what is a good liberal to do?

Ensure that Texas is forced to employ the same utterly failed and immoral policies that are crippling blue states across the country:

EPA, Texas go to war over carbon-emission rules
posted at 2:00 pm on December 27, 2010 by Ed Morrissey

And so it begins, and on the most fertile red-state territory in the nation.  Texas, which got four more seats in the House through the 2010 Census reapportionment, has had its air-quality rules superceded by the EPA as part of its aggressive new action on carbon emissions.  Governor Rick Perry promises a fight:

The federal Environmental Protection Agency on Thursday effectively declared Texas unfit to regulate its own greenhouse gas emissions and took over carbon dioxide permitting of any new or expanding industrial facilities starting Jan. 2.

The EPA also set up a framework for regulating greenhouse gas emissions in seven other states: Arizona, Arkansas, Florida, Idaho, Kansas, Oregon and Wyoming. In addition, the agency set a timetable on establishing regulated levels of greenhouse gas emissions.

The action will give the EPA permitting authority over refineries, power plants and cement facilities in Texas, the agency said, but will not affect small pollution source facilities, such as restaurants and farms.

Well, perhaps not directly, but the increase in energy prices and shortages created by the EPA imposition of what will essentially be carbon taxes will impact businesses throughout the Texas economy, as well as consumers who ultimately pay the costs of the regulatory regime. Rick Perry has signaled a court fight to stop the EPA and the Obama administration:

Texas is the only state that has refused to implement the new rules. President Barack Obama is pressing ahead with the regulations after Congress failed to pass legislation capping carbon emissions. Perry, a Republican, calls the rules overreaching by the federal government that will cripple his state’s economy.

“The EPA’s misguided plan paints a huge target on the backs of Texas agriculture and energy producers by implementing unnecessary, burdensome mandates on our state’s energy sector, threatening hundreds of thousands of Texas jobs and imposing increased living costs on Texas families,” Katherine Cesinger, a Perry spokeswoman, said in an e-mailed statement.

The timing is certainly interesting. The EPA made this move two days before Christmas, when most people had stopped paying attention to political news. The EPA’s move thus got missed by most of the national media, even though it demonstrates well the Obama strategy in 2011 to win through regulation what it could not win through legislation. And by focusing on Texas, where Republicans have a chance to redistrict with practically no interference from Democrats, the move will certainly incentivize the GOP to limit as much as possible the representation of Democrats in their Congressional delegation as the Republican-controlled House attempts to stymie the EPA’s regulatory innovation.

This also will vault Rick Perry to the highest level of national politics, even as he continues to insist that he won’t run for President. With a third term as governor in hand and a perfect political battle opening in front of him, though, the opportunity may be too much to resist for a man who could possibly unite conservatives and the GOP for a big run against a stumbling Obama in 2012.

There’s a joke I remember: What’s the difference between an American [capitalist] and a European [socialist]?  The American capitalist is riding on a bus and sees a man driving a fancy sports car and thinks, “Some day I’ll be able to afford a car like that.”  Versus the European socialist who is riding on the bus and sees the same thing and thinks, “Some day that sonofabitch will be riding the bus just like me.”

The liberal worldview was best summed up by Reagan:

“If it moves, tax it.  If it keeps moving, regulate it.  And if it stops moving, subsidize it” ~ Ronald Reagan

Punish success.  That way you can get to subsidizing failure.  And then you can move on to subsidizing all the failures that subsidizing failure produces.

Because failures will vote Democrat in order to keep benefiting from other people’s success.

Texas survived the Alamo.  But surviving Obama is like surviving stage IV brain cancer.

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Obama’s “New Stand” On Energy Just Dumb In A Different Way

August 6, 2008

Yesterday’s New York Times ran an article on Obama’s new energy plan, titled “Obama, in New Stand, Proposes Use of Oil Reserve” by Larry Rohter.

As the New York Times puts it, Barack Obama now has a “new stand” on energy. Maybe it’s a new stand, but it’s the same old flip flopping from a serial panderer who has long-since proven he will say anything to get elected.

And his energy plan is still dumb, just dumb in a slightly different way.

According to the article, Obama “outlined an energy plan that contrasts with Senator John McCain’s greater emphasis on expanded offshore drilling and coal and nuclear technology.” That’s his first mistake. It’s bad enough to take oil – by far and away our dominant energy source – off the table. But to then take coal and nuclear energy off the table as well is to remove the only alternatives to oil that could even theoretically take up the slack. It amounts to sacrificing common sense to political gamesmanship.

Most of the reasons liberals and environmentalists have given over the years in decrying nuclear energy have turned out to be patently false. The French have been safely, effectively, and efficiently using nuclear power for decades. Rather than the half life of their fuel being millions of years, we are learning that it is actually only about sixty years. Big diff.

What Obama is doing is frankly abandoning what would best work in favor of what is most politically expedient.

John McCain is promising to increase our energy supply. Obama is promising to conserve. The problem is, you don’t grow an economy by conserving energy. We need more energy in order to continue growing our economy, and Obama refuses to allow its production.

The second thing Obama says – in contradiction from his earlier positions – was to open up the reserves and swap heavy crude for light crude. The problem with that is that heavy crude is difficult to refine, and requires special refineries. Elgie Holstein, an Obama energy advisor, said that while fewer refineries now are capable of refining the heavier stuff into gasoline, that won’t be the case in the future.

But it certainly WILL be the case in the future, unless Barack Obama and the Democrats are swept from power in an overwhelming Republican victory. It has been Democrats who are overwhelmingly to blame for the fact that we haven’t built any refineries for over thirty years. And it has been Democrats’ liberal supporters among the ranks of environmentalists and lawyers who continue to thwart effort after effort to build this vital energy infrastructure.

There’s something even larger at issue regarding Obama’s reversal to open up the strategic reserves, however. Opening up the reserves would lower the price of fuel by temporarily injecting more oil into the market. The very fact that Obama is calling for this step is an implicit acknowledgment that we need more oil. His policy thus comes into direct contradiction with his rhetoric. If we do what he says and open the reserves, what will we do when the price goes back up? Where will we get the oil we need then? Thus we find that Obama – in calling for the reserves to be opened – is really only calling for a temporary solution that he hope will take oil prices off the table long enough to get himself elected. This “solution” is therefore really just incredibly cyncial politics of the very worst kind.

Tapping our Strategic Petroleum Reserves won’t increase the total supply of oil. Only drilling will.

This leads to another example of Obama’s hypocrisy and stupidity on energy.

“Obama said his goal was to have 10 percent of the country’s energy needs met by renewable resources by the end of his first term, more than double the current figure.” But again, can’t you see that he is implicitly affirming that the energy sources he is actively opposing would still amount to supplying 90% of our energy needs even given his own best case scenario?

An intelligent man would worry more about securing the more than 95% of our energy we currently use and less about the 5% he intends to double to 10%. His previous policy against ANY increased drilling amounted to a suicide pact with environmentalist groups. And regardless of what he says now – in direct contradiction to his past position – is simply not to be trusted. Barack Obama has already assured us that he is a candidate who doesn’t want more oil, coal, and nuclear power. He wants less of them. But those are the very things that give us 95% of our energy!!!

We have had solar and wind tecnhology since the early 1980s. It’s not that we don’t have the technology; it’s that these technologies – and others as well – are nowhere near cost effective, efficient, or versatile enough to meet our needs. And other alternative sources are still more theoretical than practical. Are you willing to gamble your future and your children’s future on unproven theories?

T. Boone Pickens has been calling for increased wind power in his massive advertising campaign. He is also calling to drill up the whazoo and to produce more oil, more coal, and more natural gas energy even as we develop the alternative source of wind technology.

The remaining thing that Obama wants is a bunch of handouts. He wants $150 billion to go to his voters as a big government transfer payment, and he wants to have the government subsidize hybrid automobiles to the tune of $7,000 each. He also wants to add on a massive “windfall profits” tax against oil companies.

What we want is better sources of energy; what we don’t want is worse sources of energy. When government takes the decision out of the hands of the market and subsidizes something, the political intrusion very often encourages bad ideas and discourages good ones. Politicians understand special interests, political action committees, and cleverly disguised quid pro quo donations well enough; but they don’t understand the fundamentals of science, engineering, or economics. A classic example of this is corn-based ethanol. Politicians were essentially induced by campaign donations from special interests to subsidize ethanol in order to bring the price down to a level where it could compete, thereby preventing other technologies from entering the market. And now we know that using our food source as an energy source was a very bad idea.

Children are literally starving to death in some parts of the world, thanks to the Democrat-inspired effort to turn our food into fuel to avoid using oil. And it is also causing food shortages, higher costs, and hunger in the U.S. It was a terrible and immoral idea; and it was your Democrats at work.

Barack Obama wants the government to make the same fundamental mistake again and again. He is a socialist at heart, and he simply can’t trust the wisdom of the free market.

But that isn’t the end of Obama’s error of subsidizing one thing and taxing another.

When you tax something, you make it more expensive and you make it more scarce. Taxing oil companies – which already are the most heavily taxed corporate entities – amounts to penalizing them for producing the very thing we need more of. We tried windfall profits taxes during the Carter years and it was a fiasco for the same reasons it would be a fiasco today. What we need is cheaper and more abundant energy; what Obama wants to bring us is scarcer and more expensive energy.

To then offset a terribly flawed policy by underwriting it with government funding is a fool’s solution.

Obama recently said, “Breaking our oil addiction is one of the greatest challenges our generation will ever face,” the Illinois Democrat told a supportive audience as he began a week’s focus on energy issues. “It will take nothing less than a complete transformation of our economy.”

Obama is just as wrong to call Americans’ need for oil an “addiction” as he would be to call our need for water, food, or clothing an addiction. The American way of life has been based on readily available oil. Obama’s slogan betrays an anti-American agenda that would dramatically alter and impoverish our way of life if implemented. He is also wrong in his lack of understanding as to what such a “complete transformation of our economy” would cost, and he is wrong for not informing the American people of the REAL costs of his policies.

On a whole host of issues that will face the next president and chief executive, we need a grown-up who can provide mature solutions. Barack obama – a pandering flip flopper who offers one bad idea after another – simply isn’t that guy.

Democrat’s ‘Commonsense Plan’ Revealed: Let’s Nationalize the Oil Industry

June 19, 2008

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi swept the Democrats into power two years ago with the following promise:

Washington, D.C. – House Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi released the following statement today on President Bush’s, Speaker Hastert’s, and the Republican Congress’ empty rhetoric on gas prices. Key facts on the Majority’s failure to address gas prices follows Pelosi’s statement.

With skyrocketing gas prices, it is clear that the American people can no longer afford the Republican Rubber Stamp Congress and its failure to stand up to Republican big oil and gas company cronies. Americans this week are paying $2.91 a gallon on average for regular gasoline – 33 cents higher than last month, and double the price than when President Bush first came to office.

“With record gas prices, record CEO pay packages, and record oil company profits, Speaker Hastert and the Majority Congress continue to give the American people empty rhetoric rather than join Democrats who are working to lower gas prices now.

“Democrats have a commonsense plan to help bring down skyrocketing gas prices by cracking down on price gouging, rolling back the billions of dollars in taxpayer subsidies, tax breaks and royalty relief given to big oil and gas companies, and increasing production of alternative fuels.”

And did Pelosi and her fellow Democrats deliver on their “commonsense plan”? Sure they did. They demonized Bush, demonized the oil industry, got a bunch of television face-time presiding over a bunch of hearings where they didn’t hear a word the experts said, and basically demagogued their way to gas prices that have shot through the roof since their promise to fix the problem.

House Minority Leader (and Republican) John Boehner observed the second anniversary of Pelosi’s Great Big Fat Giant Pandering Demagoguing Lie by observing:

House Republican leaders on Tuesday challenged Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) to release a plan to lower gas prices that they say Democrats touted when they were in the minority.

“Two years ago this week, you stated that House Democrats had a ‘commonsense plan’ to ‘lower gas prices,’ ” the letter said. “In light of the skyrocketing gasoline prices affecting working families and every sector of our struggling economy, we are writing today to respectfully request that you reveal this ‘commonsense plan’ so we can begin work on responsible solutions to help ease this strain.”

The letter is signed by Minority Leader John Boehner (R-Ohio), Minority Whip Roy Blunt (R-Mo.), Conference Chairman Adam Putnam (R-Fla.), Policy Chairman Thaddeus McCotter (R-Mich.) as well as other members of leadership: Reps. Kay Granger (R-Texas), John Carter (R-Texas), Tom Cole (R-Okla.) and Eric Cantor (R-Va.).

In a press release dated April 24, 2006, Pelosi said, “Democrats have a commonsense plan to help bring down skyrocketing gas prices by cracking down on price gouging, rolling back the billions of dollars in taxpayer subsidies, tax breaks and royalty relief given to big oil and gas companies, and increasing production of alternative fuels.” The letter cited policies put in place during the GOP control of Congress that the Speaker claimed had raised prices on American consumers to benefit oil companies.

The House GOP leaders’ letter points out that the price of gasoline has spiked $1.18 since Democrats took over in January and stands at $3.51.

“Once a nightmare scenario, $4 gasoline is now a very real possibility of becoming a summer staple,” the letter stated. “In some cities, including San Francisco and Chicago, it is already a startling reality.”

Pelosi’s office did not respond immediately for comment.

In my neck of the woods, for the record, gas was $4.45 a gallon today at the discounted Sam’s Club station (June 18, 2008).

But don’t worry: the Democrat’s are working on their “commonsense plan” even now…

Ta Daaa! Let’s nationalize the oil refineries!

It’s the commonsense Marxist totalitarian thing to do. Our good buddy Hugo Chavez over in socialist Venezuela did it. C’mon, guys; it’ll be even more fun than controlling health care!

As President Bush implored the Congress to open up ANWR, the coastal shelves, and other known oil reserves for drilling, and as he called on Congress to open up more refineries, one Rep. Maurice Hinchey (D-NY) shared The Plan:

At one point during press conference, Hinchey of New York seemed to veer from the Democratic talking points to suggest that U.S. refineries be nationalized.

“Our Republican friends also talk about the need to, you know, set up ways in which the material can be refined; refineries. Well, do we own refineries? No, the oil companies own refineries.

Should the people of the United States own refineries? Maybe so. Frankly I think that’s a good idea. Then we could control the amount of refined product much more capably that gets out on the market.”

When it came time for reporters to ask questions, a reporter jumped on this:

Q I’ve got a question about the issue of — you mentioned the issue of nationalizing refineries and having nationally owned refinery capacity. A lot of other countries have nationalized their oil industry. You mentioned that the oil and gas companies may not want to drill on these lands, so that they can take advantage of ever- higher gas prices. Is there any thought to having bills that would nationalize some of these refineries or start a national oil company?…

… REP. HINCHEY: “Yeah, there’s thought going on about this. Frankly, this is something that I think is essential. And I think it’s only a matter of time before it takes place. I think that the — we’ll — what we have to do has to be in the interest of the American people, primarily, basically, in the interest of the American people, not in the interest of some major corporations. And the determination as to how much of this very important material gets refined, and consequently out on the market, is in the hands of the oil companies. And they just do. They make those decisions based upon their efforts to drive up the price as high as they can and keep it as high as they can for as long as they can.

So I think that this is something that this Congress should be thinking about. And certainly it’s something that I’m thinking about, and I think that there are a few others already in the Congress who are thinking about it as well.”

Hinchey joins prominent Democrat Rep. Maxine Waters (D-CA), who earlier used the even better term: “socialize,” to describe The Plan To Socialize Everything:

A report by Fox News, captured in a clip posted on YouTube.com, showed Waters challenging the president of Shell Oil, John Hofmeister, to guarantee the prices consumers pay will go down if the oil companies are allowed to drill wherever they want off of U.S. shores.

Hofmeister replied: “I can guarantee to the American people, because of the inaction of the United States Congress, ever-increasing prices unless the demand comes down.”

The Shell exec said paying $5 at the pump “will look like a very low price in the years to come if we are prohibited from finding new reserves, new opportunities to increase supplies.”

Waters responded, in part, “And guess what this liberal would be all about. This liberal will be about socializing … uh, um. …”

The congresswoman paused to collect her thoughts.

“Would be about, basically, taking over, and the government running all of your companies. …”

The oil executives responded, according to Fox News, by saying they’ve seen this before, in Hugo Chavez’s Venezuela.

Well, it’s a good thing the Democrats are finally releasing their “commonsense plan.” I was getting worried that the Democrat’s promise to fix the high oil prices were nothing more than their usual pandering.

Congress couldn’t even run a cafeteria without driving it into the ground. But don’t worry: I’m sure they’ll do much better running the health and oil industries.

What will be the legal grounds for this move? Well, the same Democrats who care so deeply about the rights of foreign terrorists that they want to give them full access to the rights and privileges of U.S. courts take a slightly different tact with big oil companies. At the last round of the staged communist show trial known as the Big Oil Hearings back in May, Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz (D-FL) told the oil executives, “I can’t say that there’s evidence that you are manipulating the price but I believe that you probably are so prove to me that you’re not.”

You see, in the bizarro world of Democrats, terrorists must be considered innocent until proven guilty with all the rights and privileges of the American legal system, whereas American companies – and the American citizens who run them – are simply guilty until proven innocent.

Oh, socializing/nationalizing the oil industry isn’t their only idea, of course: they’ve already managed to brilliantly send food prices through the roof by mandating corn-based ethanol (people in the third world are literally starving because of this idiocy), which produces an incredibly expensive government-subsidized fuel source that requires more energy to produce than it actually generates. And Democrats also plan to attack the oil industry with a “windfall profits” tax that oil companies would immediate pass on to consumers (Jimmy Carter tried this, and it backfired on him too, but fortunately for Democrats no one pays much attention to history any more).

One day, the American people will finally hold Democrats accountable for their stupid, shortsighted, ignorant, pandering, demagoguing nonsense.

I’ve got dibs on a cave I came across on a hike. When our society comes crashing down because it was starved of the energy (by which I mean ‘oil’) that was essential to sustain it, it will be nice to have a nice warm place to go instead of freezing in the dark. And we won’t let the Democrats take over the new energy source (by which I mean ‘firewood’) – at least for a couple hundred years until some future society sufficiently dumbs down enough to give them power again.

Maybe liberalism is some kind of means to control the growth and success of the human race: from the slime, to the protozoa, to the fish, to the monkey, to the ape, to the human, to the liberal… and then right back down the drain to the slime again.

Understand one thing: Democrats don’t give a damn about how much it costs you to drive to work. They care about “global warming” and “maintaining a pristine environment.”

I’ve got a couple of articles on the global warming issue: “What You Never Hear About Global Warming,” and “What the Science REALLY Says About Global Warming.” Realize the most heinous regimes in human history were all preceded with lofty claims; and that the big government Illuminati can run roughshod over any one and any thing when they are acting in the name of “saving the planet from ourselves.”

The secret truth of the matter is that Democrats do notrepeat do not – want to increase the oil supply. They want to reduce the use of oil by means of conservation and by embracing windmills and such (well, as long as the windmills aren’t in their back yards, anyway). The only way Americans will conserve oil is if they are forced to do so. And the only way Americans will be forced to do so is if oil becomes a lot more expensive than it is now.

I would love it if Democrats – who don’t want to increase the oil supply in favor of conservation – put their money where their mouth is and quit using up the oil supply and started conserving. Quit driving; quit heating your homes in the winter; that sort of thing. Then both sides could have what they wanted: Democrats could conserve; and Republicans could have an increased supply. But that sort of idea rests on the premise that Democrats are not hypocrites – so it will never happen.

I watch darn near everyone go flying past me on the freeway while I drive the speed limit darn near every single day, and I know for a fact that Americans aren’t particularly interested in “embracing conservation.”

Enter the Democrats, who don’t know how to fix anything, but sure know how to massively screw things up through taxes, legislation, regulation, litigation judicial activism, and more lies than you can shake a stick at on your best stick-shaking day.

When you are paying $10 a gallon the way they already are in other socialist European countries, just think about those happy polar bears.

Maybe you can recite the liberal-environmentalist mantra to yourself to calm down: “Polar bears are more important than my kids. Polar bears are more important than my kids. Polar bears are more important than my kids…

Democrats Refuse to Allow Domestic Oil Production

May 23, 2008

Gene Dale wrote:

OK, want to know why I detest Chuck Schumer?:

NY Times, 1999, on releasing strategic reserves…

Mr. Schumer said the United States should begin selling a few hundred thousand gallons a day from the Strategic Petroleum Reserve, which now contains 571 million gallons. ”A relatively modest amount of oil released from our oil reserves will keep prices flat and actually reduce them,” he said.

April 30, 2008

Senator Schumer, responding to Bush’s ANWR proposal: ““And what does the President do? He takes out the old saw of ANWR. ANWR wouldn’t produce a drop of oil in 10 years, and its estimated that if they drilled in ANWR in twenty years it would reduce the price one penny.

You should know ANWR will produce 1 million barrels a day.
May 14, 2008

“If Saudi Arabia were to increase its production by 1 million barrels per day that translates to a reduction of 20 percent to 25 percent in the world price of crude oil, and crude oil prices could fall by more than $25 dollar per barrel from its current level of $126 per barrel,” Schumer insisted during a speech on the Senate floor.

“In turn, that would lower the price of gasoline between 13 percent and 17 percent, or by more than 62 cents off the expected summer regular-grade price – offering much needed relief to struggling families,” he added.

And that is a pretty darned good reason to detest Sen. Chuck Schumer. A classic example of the twisted logic of a pandering demagogue in action.

First of all, it is important to point out that if President Bill Clinton hadn’t vetoed the Republican measure to drill in ANWR in 1995 – by Schumer’s own 10 year timeframe – we would have oil from those fields stabilizing our energy for a good three years now.

Second, ANWR has a lot more oil than Democrats or their environmentalist “experts” admit, and ANWR is only the tip of the U.S. oil supply iceberg: we have massive sources of oil all over the continent that Democrats won’t allow us to touch, such as the continental shelf.

It is simply a fact that Democrats have been obstructing efforts to increase U.S. domestic oil production for years and years. While Democrats and their many media allies have attempted to phrase this issue in terms of everything BUT oil independence, it remains a fact that the steadfast policy of Democrats has been to oppose every effort to increase our supply of oil.

Last year President Bush again attempted to open up more areas to drilling, but Democrats wouldn’t have any of it. “Whatever pressing energy issue comes before the American people, the Bush administration always responds with the same oil answer: more oil,” said Representative Nick J. Rahall II, Democrat of West Virginia and chairman of the House Natural Resources Committee.”

MAYBE THAT’S BECAUSE WE NEED MORE OIL!!!

Shell’s John Hofmeister tried to explain this to Democrats, but Democrats view “hearings” as opportunities to pander, not as opportunities to learn:

While all oil-importing nations buy oil at global prices, some, notably India and China, subsidize the cost of oil products to their nation’s consumers, feeding the demand for more oil despite record prices. They do this to speed economic growth and to ensure a competitive advantage relative to other nations.

Meanwhile, in the United States, access to our own oil and gas resources has been limited for the last 30 years, prohibiting companies such as Shell from exploring and developing resources for the benefit of the American people.

Senator Sessions, I agree, it is not a free market.

According to the Department of the Interior, 62 percent of all on-shore federal lands are off limits to oil and gas developments, with restrictions applying to 92 percent of all federal lands. We have an outer continental shelf moratorium on the Atlantic Ocean, an outer continental shelf moratorium on the Pacific Ocean, an outer continental shelf moratorium on the eastern Gulf of Mexico, congressional bans on on-shore oil and gas activities in specific areas of the Rockies and Alaska, and even a congressional ban on doing an analysis of the resource potential for oil and gas in the Atlantic, Pacific and eastern Gulf of Mexico.

The Argonne National Laboratory did a report in 2004 that identified 40 specific federal policy areas that halt, limit, delay or restrict natural gas projects. I urge you to review it. It is a long list. If I may, I offer it today if you would like to include it in the record.

When many of these policies were implemented, oil was selling in the single digits, not the triple digits we see now. The cumulative effect of these policies has been to discourage U.S. investment and send U.S. companies outside the United States to produce new supplies.

As a result, U.S. production has declined so much that nearly 60 percent of daily consumption comes from foreign sources.

The problem of access can be solved in this country by the same government that has prohibited it. Congress could have chosen to lift some or all of the current restrictions on exportation and production of oil and gas. Congress could provide national policy to reverse the persistent decline of domestically secure natural resource development.

Senator Orrin Hatch also questioned Hofmeister about proven reserves discovered in Utah, Colorado and Wyoming totaling at least 800 billion and as many as 2 trillion barrels of oil, which could be recovered at a cost that would be a powerful offset against the rising cost of oil. The last part of this discussion is insightful:

HOFMEISTER: I don’t know what the exact cost would be, but, you know, if there is more supply, I think inflation in the oil industry would be cracked. And we are facing severe inflation because of the limited amount of supply against the demand.

HATCH: I guess what I’m saying, though, is that if we started to develop the oil shale in those three states we could do it within this framework of over $100 a barrel and make a profit.

HOFMEISTER: I believe we could.

HATCH: And we could help our country alleviate its oil pressures.

HOFMEISTER: Yes.

HATCH: But they’re stopping us from doing that right here, as we sit here. We just had a hearing last week where Democrats had stopped the ability to do that, in at least Colorado.

HOFMEISTER: Well, as I said in my opening statement, I think the public policy constraints on the supply side in this country are a disservice to the American consumer.

Add to that the recent discovery in the Bakken Play, a North Dakota field that stretches into Montana and Saskatchewan, Canada, which is expected to yield 100 – and possibly even 200 – billion barrels of oil, and we truly have an abundance of domestic oil that could easily meet American energy needs for decades to come. If we were only allowed to exploit those resources.

Instead, the United States is forced to rely on countries and regimes that are either hostile to our interests or politically unstable. This dependence is a clear threat to our national security, and – as long as this situation remains – “oil security will continue to be one of the primary drivers of US foreign and military policy.”

In other words, if Democrats really want America out of the turmoil of the Middle East, THEY SHOULD LET US TAKE ADVANTAGE OF OUR OIL RESERVES.

But these people have long since proven that they would rather pander than produce, would rather demagogue than dialog.

Take a leading Democrat, Rep. Maxine Waters.  Her contribution to the Democrat-engineered “show trial” of oil executives was to say, “And, guess what this liberal will be all about? This liberal will be about socializing… uh, will be about, basically taking over and the government running all of your companies.”  That’s right.  That ought to work.  The government that brought us the $1500 toilet seat will undoubtedly do a bang-up job in lowering gas prices.  And the fact that this prominent Democrat is openly proclaiming socialism while calling for a heavy-handed Marxist approach to economics shouldn’t trouble anyone.

The United States has not had a new oil refinery since 1976, due to a pattern of unyielding Democratic opposition, nonstop environmentalist litigation, and one impossibly burdensome environmental regulation after another. Democrats are clearly standing in the way of any kind of increase in refining capacity. In the last effort to increase our refining capacity, 99% of Republicans supported the bill, and 92% of Democrats opposed it.

“Everyone is quick to say “look at these refiners, they’re driving up the price,'” said Phil Flynn, senior market analyst at Alaron Trading in Chicago. “But if I wanted to build a refinery tomorrow, I couldn’t do it.”

Today on Fox News, one industry expert predicted that if we have a single refinery disaster during this hurricane season, we will see $7.00 a gallon gasoline this summer. Why? Because our limited refining capacity is already stretched to maximum, and any delay will send already stressed prices through the roof.

Why? What possible explanation can Democrats offer to account for their incredibly absurd energy positions?

Here’s a couple Democrat’s answers to the question “Why Are Democrats Against Building More Refineries?” that quite accurately reflect the Democrat position:

* “As a Democrat I want alternative fuel not more oil. More refineries = more oil. Let us turn the page and go forward.”

* “We don’t need more refineries, we need alternate and better fuel sources. More refineries is a temporary “fix” to a very big problem. Also, was there anything hidden in the bill?

Democrats dismiss the FACT that increasing the domestic oil supply will have a profound positive impact on the price of U.S. gasoline.  Amazingly, by and large Democrats readily acknowledge that an increase in OPEC production will decrease prices; yet in practically the same breath they claim that a similar increase in American production would have no effect whatsoever.

Democrats demand that we turn away from what has provided well over ninety percent of our energy for a century and instead rely on costly, inefficient, impractical, and unproven alternatives. As one example, “Take out the 51-cents-a-gallon federal subsidy, and the true cost of U.S.-produced ethanol is equivalent to paying $6 a gallon for the same energy as gasoline, calculates Michael B. McElroy, Harvard professor of environmental studies.”

Democrats – who frankly don’t seem to understand much of anything – point to the complexity of the “very big problem” of meeting our energy needs.

And of course, Democrats love to punt to some version of a conspiracy theory rather than allowing any effort that would solve our energy crisis. One Democrat during yesterday’s hearings told the oil executives that, although she had no proof of collusion, believed that oil companies were conspiring to keep prices high, and challenged them to prove her wrong. I’ve actually wanted to pose a similar “when-did-you-stop-beating-your-wife”-style question to Democrats by demanding that they prove to me that they are not insane, but I thought it would be unfair to ask until now.

Democrats keep refusing to allow any increase in oil production or refining capability, citing the argument that they want to reduce demand by means alternative energy and by changing American’s behavior. But the problem is, the overwhelming majority of Americans don’t want to change. Not long ago, I set my cruise control to the speed limit on the highway while on a sixty-mile drive, and counted the number of cars, trucks (excluding big rigs), and SUVs that went by me versus the number of cars I passed. The result: 421vehicles passed me, and I passed only 5. And cars and trucks routinely go flying by me on the road.

And while people are currently not buying a lot of gas-guzzling pickups and SUVs, previous gas-spike behavior assures me that once prices come back down, people will quickly go back to their previous ways and go back to buying the guzzlers.

The Democratic Party’s approach is to try to force automakers to produce cars that by-and-large customers don’t want; try to force vehicles to conform to shockingly-stringent environmental standards that will add thousands of dollars to the sticker price of each car; and try to force oil companies to invest in non-oil energy technologies (which is rather like trying to force Microsoft to invest in Apple). Such measures are largely ignored by consumers. What would really be interesting is if Democrats attempted to pass legislation requiring that speed-restricting governors to be placed on every new car sold. THAT would be a nice barometer to gauge genuine public opinion of their approach to energy.

The sad truth of the matter is that, unless draconian limitations on individual freedom are imposed, most of the Democrats’ energy policy will do nothing to nothing to reduce the costs of energy for the overwhelming majority of Americans. In fact, by refusing to increase the supply of oil in a global environment that is increasingly demanding a resource in increasingly restricted supply, they are only serving to drive up the cost of that energy.

That is outrageous enough. But to then turn around and attack President Bush, the Republican Party, and oil companies for a problem that Democrats themselves have been creating for over thirty years is nothing short of despicable.