OP ED: President’s failed energy policies responsible for soaring gas prices

EDITOR’S NOTE: The following is an opinion editorial submitted by Senator Orrin Hatch (R-Utah). The opinions are solely his and not those of St. George News.

OPINION – To prop up his claim that his policies are working and the U.S. economy is turning the corner, President Obama recently offered some dubious evidence: rising gas prices. He said gas prices are rising “because as the economy strengthens, global demand for oil increases.”

That’s absurd. Far from indicating this White House’s policies are working, the skyrocketing price of oil indicates they are driving our economy into the ditch. They also show the President’s lack of leadership in coming up with a coherent energy policy that creates jobs, keeps gas prices low, develops our domestic resources and lessens our dependence on foreign oil.

When the President took office three years ago, the average cost of a gallon of gas was $1.85. It has nearly doubled since then to a staggering $3.59. And gas prices have never risen so high as early as they have this year.

How high will they go?

Some predict the nationwide price of gas reaching $5 per gallon by Memorial Day; others foresee gas prices spiking at well over $4 per gallon. And, contrary to what the President says, these price hikes are coming despite the fact that domestic consumption declined last year and the International Energy Agency has lowered its forecast for global oil demand this year.

Still, rather than admit the failure of its energy policies, the Obama administration has written off Americans’ concerns about oil prices as “an annual affair bolstered by media hysteria.” But even the media isn’t buying it. NBC’s Chuck Todd recently noted, “There is no issue that has been … a bigger bust for the President than energy policy in general … We can come up with a lot of excuses as to why, but boy … he’s made no progress.”

As harsh as this criticism may seem, I think he is being too kind given this White House’s abysmal record. For example, the Administration is withholding more than $100 million worth of oil leases in Utah and Wyoming. It has further cut access to federal lands for oil shale development in the West by 75 percent and has proposed a 50 percent royalty hike on domestic energy production on public lands. The President also rejected the Keystone pipeline, which would have created 20,000 U.S. jobs and carried more than 700,000 barrels per day of crude oil from Canada to U.S. refineries along the Gulf Coast. As a result, Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper is in talks with Beijing to sell that oil to the Chinese.

And that’s only the beginning of the Administration’s war on domestic energy. Its offshore oil and gas leasing plan for 2012 through 2017, calls for a 50 percent reduction in lease sales and for opening less than 3 percent of offshore areas to oil exploration. It also is regulating many domestic energy developers and as many as seven U.S. refineries out of business.

Incredibly, in his speech this past Thursday in Florida, the President had the audacity to say that “under his administration, America is producing more oil than at any time in the last eight years.” What he failed to mention, as The Miami Herald reported, is that “nearly all drilling was approved under his predecessor, President Bush.”

That said, this White House is having success in two areas – appeasing it radical environmentalist allies and fulfilling Energy Secretary Steven Chu’s quest of finding “out how to boost the price of gasoline to the levels in Europe.”

Well, Europe is a nice place to visit, but Americans have chosen to live here. And with gas prices and home heating costs on the rise, they deserve action to meet their needs, not more campaign speeches from the most anti-American energy Administration in our nation’s history.

— Sen. Orrin Hatch, R-Utah

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  • ron February 27, 2012 at 9:02 am

    On day one of his administration, Obama could have authorized drilling wherever this is space to drill, and prices would STILL be right where they are at this very moment. The reasons behind rising (and falling) gas prices are far more complex than the senator is suggesting. He knows this, but he’s focused on 2012, not on the future of America. We lost our chance to stabilize fuel prices back in 1975 because we refused to focus on the future. No doubt, we’ll make the same mistake again and again. High prices SHOULD force us to drive smaller, more efficient vehicles (as Europeans do) and start getting serious about alternatives. Instead, we’ll probably just rant and rave about drilling and seize this as an opportunity to score political points, as Senator Hatch is doing. Would you expect more from a lifelong politician?

  • Cricket February 27, 2012 at 2:43 pm

    Senator Hatch has his own Solyndra scandals. He’s supported all sorts of ridiculous “green” adventures that have gone nowhere- spending public funds to fund all sorts of ridiculous things. Hatch is a big government loon.

  • Bronco58 February 29, 2012 at 12:58 pm

    Your statisitics are not quite right. Gas had never been above $1.75 in history before 2001. Then it spiked to over $4.00 starting the sharp increase after 9/11 and continuing until fall of 2008. It dramatically dropped below $2.00 briefly in October ’08. Election year price manipulation? Who knows, but its curious. In ’09 prices began to rise again. This has more to do with ever growing foriegn demand and ongoing wars. New drilling in North America does not change the world prices. Its a drop in the bucket.

  • Greta Hyland March 3, 2012 at 3:27 pm

    This is going to be shocking, but U.S. President’s do not determine the price of gasoline; the price of crude oil, determined by the global market does. Some things that affect the global market are: consumption, speculation, and world events (such as a natural disaster). Drilling domestically will not help. Oil is oil regardless of where it is drilled and it goes into the global oil pot. If Obama can control the price of gas then he is Mephistopheles. This argument is fallacious. If you want to be less vulnerable to gasoline prices, use less.

  • Fred March 4, 2012 at 9:21 am

    Of course Obama is responsible for the gas prices. He wants to hurt Americans and bring America down while he helps his Muslim Brothers.

    Also I used to be a big supporter of Senator Hatch and voted for him but since he voted for the NDAA Bill I changed.

    Also I received a letter from Senator Hatch saying he thinks that Obama is perfectly elegible to be our President. With the forged Birth Certificate, suspicious SSA# he is using and so MUCH MORE I wonder where Hatch is coming from. WE HAVE A PRESIDENT THAT SEALED ALL OF HIS RECORDS. Come on everyone wake up.

  • Firefly March 5, 2012 at 9:41 am

    It is an election year…you will all be told what you want to hear. As for Mr. Hatch, 36 years in the Senate is plenty long enough. It is time to retire him and replace him with new yonger blood. Hatch has outlived his usefulness to the State of Utah. and is time to hand the reins to someone else. His record has has done more harm to this country than good. His voting for NDAA is one of the worst things he has done to hurt the American people. Mr. Orrin Hatch has to go!

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