To listen to the president talk, you’d think federal government policy had nothing to do with the high gas prices we face at the pump. Oh, no; Middle Eastern instability or the greed of big oil companies are to blame. Unfortunately for the president, that doesn’t square with his energy record, which has — at every turn — created obstacles to American energy production and, in effect, driven gas prices higher. House Speaker John Boehner has released a timeline that captures Obama’s deleterious impact on the oil and gas industry — and, consequently, on gas prices. The timeline extends to the beginning of Obama’s term in office, but, as a sample, take a look at just the five most recent decisions the administration has made:
- JANUARY 2, 2011 – TIME reported that the Obama administration issued the first in a series of regulations on January 2 designed to unilaterally impose a national energy tax. Gas is $3.05 a gallon.
- MAY 5, 2011 – The White House issues a formal statement opposing House-passed Restarting American Offshore Leasing Now Act (H.R. 1230) and Putting the Gulf of Mexico Back to Work Act (H.R. 1229), legislation designed to jumpstart American energy production, address rising gas prices, and help create new jobs. Gas is $3.96 a gallon.
- JUNE 21, 2011 – The White House opposes the House-passed Jobs & Energy Permitting Act that would unlock an estimated 27 billion barrels of oil and 132 trillion cubic feet of natural gas. Gas is $3.65 a gallon.
- NOVEMBER 8, 2011 – The Obama Administration releases a plan for a five-year moratorium on offshore energy production, placing “some of the most promising energy resources in the world off-limits,” according to the House Natural Resources Committee. Gas is $3.42 a gallon.
Yesterday afternoon, Fox Business Network’s Gerri Willis interviewed Gulf Oil CEO Joe Petrowski, who confirmed what Boehner’s timeline suggests. The government has an inordinate amount of influence over the energy industry and has repeatedly proved itself adept at picking losers to subsidize and winners to penalize.
It makes no sense, this administration’s endless war on energy. It makes even less sense when you consider Candidate Obama’s stated promises to achieve energy independence. If that’s his goal, he has a funny way of showing it. When he ran for president, he even shilled for the Alaska pipeline — a project that, under his actual administration, has met with significant regulatory hurdles and is not slated to begin construction until 2015.
At some point, the president will have to accept that the American public can see through his rhetoric. He might say he wants a clean and secure source of energy, but his actions repeatedly say otherwise. According to a recent AP/GFK poll, 58 percent of Americans disapprove of his handling of high gas prices. What’s up with the other 42 percent?