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As I mentioned in my last post, Obama's Energy Secretary, Stephen Chu, longs for high gasoline prices. Here's what he said in 2008:
“Somehow we have to figure out how to boost the price of gasoline to the levels in Europe,” Chu said. Prices in Europe at the time ranged from about $8-$9 per gallon.
The reason Chu desired high gas prices was that it would foster the development of alternative energy, and if Americans suffered as a result...who cares ?
President Obama appointed Chu as his Energy Secretary in January 2009. Obama also favored higher gas prices in 2008, though he said he would prefer a gradual rise instead of a sudden one.
A gradual rise is what we've gotten. When Obama took office in January 2009, gasoline cost $1.83 per gallon. Today's average cost is $3.74 per gallon, and the price is expected to climb to $5.00 per gallon this year.
Okay, maybe that isn't a gradual increase. It's a steep increase.
“We agree there is great suffering when the price of gasoline increases in the United States, and so we are very concerned about this,” said Chu, speaking to the House Appropriations energy and water subcommittee. “As I have repeatedly said, in the Department of Energy, what we’re trying to do is diversify our energy supply for transportation so that we have cost-effective means.”
Chu specifically cited a reported breakthrough announced Monday by Envia Systems, which received funding from DOE’s ARPA-E, that could help slash the price of electric vehicle batteries.
He also touted natural gas as “great” and said DOE is researching how to reduce the cost of compressed natural gas tanks for vehicles.
High gasoline prices will make research into such alternatives more urgent, Chu said.
“But is the overall goal to get our price” of gasoline down, asked Nunnelee.
“No, the overall goal is to decrease our dependency on oil, to build and strengthen our economy,” Chu replied. “We think that if you consider all these energy policies, including energy efficiency, we think that we can go a long way to becoming less dependent on oil and [diversifying] our supply and we’ll help the American economy and the American consumers.”
In other words, Chu recognizes the pain suffered by the American people when gas prices are high, but he doesn't really care because it's conducive to his goal of promoting alternative energy, such as those electric cars. I have some big problems with such an unfeeling ideologically-driven approach, but there's another problem that makes things much worse - if we convert to electric cars to wean ourselves off of oil, we're going to need a lot more electricity.
So, what is the Obama administration doing to bolster the production of electricity ???
It is...FORCING COAL PLANTS TO SHUT DOWN, when over 50% of America's electricity comes from, drumroll please,...COAL:
GenOn Energy Inc. plans to close five of its older coal-fired power plants in Pennsylvania over the next four years.
The company, based in Houston, said Wednesday that tough new environmental rules make it unprofitable to operate the plants, which generate a total of 3,140 megawatts of electricity. The plants are in Portland, Shawville, Titus, New Castle and Elrama. Two plants in Ohio and one in New Jersey will also be closed. The company said the timeframes are subject to further review based on market conditions.
"I am dismayed by the news that hundreds of Pennsylvanians will lose their jobs because of this impending wave of federal regulations. While I fully support sensible, existing power plant regulations to protect our air, the cumulative effect of these new rules, which are some of the costliest in the EPA's history, is overwhelming."
Consider this an Obama campaign promise kept. Back in 2008, Obama said the following:
So, if somebody wants to build a coal plant, they can — it’s just that it will bankrupt them, because they are going to be charged a huge sum for all that greenhouse gas that’s being emitted.
Obama has previously called for a 15% reduction in the use of electricity, while at the same time he calls for a nation full of electric cars. Sounds like a massive disconnect in the President's thinking to me.
While Obama bankrupts coal plants and drives them out of business, what energy source will he use to generate our needed electricity ? Nuclear ? Not a chance. No, instead, the Obamanauts suggest...wind farms. The question then becomes, how many wind turbines would it take to replace coal as an energy source ? Let's check in with Factcheck.Org for the answer:
Interior Secretary Salazar said that the amount of "developable" wind power off the East Coast could produce more energy than all the coal-fired electric plants in the U.S., and that wind’s potential to replace most of our coal power "is a very real possibility." We find his claims to be wildly optimistic, to say the least.
It’s true that government studies show there’s enough offshore wind to generate far more than coal plants currently do – in theory. But converting that wind to enough electricity to replace what’s now produced by coal won’t happen anytime in the foreseeable future. The Interior Department itself made clear its offshore wind estimate was a gross figure of potential resources only, saying in a report that there are several obstacles to achieving that.
We calculate that converting wind to enough electricity to replace all U.S. coal-fired plants would require building 3,540 offshore wind farms as big as the world’s largest, which is off the coast of Denmark. So far the U.S. has built exactly zero offshore wind farms.
Another government study last year concluded that to supply just 20 percent of U.S. electricity with wind turbines would require land-based equipment taking up an area "slightly less than the area of Rhode Island," plus scores of offshore wind farms.
It should be plain to see that we are a very long way off from replacing coal with wind, if indeed it can be done at all. So, why the hell is the Obama administration bankrupting coal plants NOW ?!?!? Is he TRYING to screw up the nation's energy needs ??? I mean, I support alternative energy, but I don't want to bring America to her knees in the meantime. This doesn't sound like coherent energy policy. It sounds like left-wing lunacy.
Maybe there are some other green energy sources that can replace coal. How about solar energy, or some combination of technologies ? The greenies say it will work, but even they acknowledge that reality is decades away. Others question whether intermittent technologies like solar and wind will ever be sufficient to sustain us. One technology that could fit the bill is natural gas, but guess who is against that ? The liberals and environmentalists, that's who, because it involves drilling (fracking).
Maybe with liberals in charge, we can return to the horseback days...oh wait, the libs have to be against all that manure, which contains greenhouse gas.
It's gotten so bad that Obama even promised to veto a bill that will turn the water on for California farmers in one of the most fertile growing areas in the country. The farmers' water was shutoff a couple years ago because of it's adverse effects on a little minnow known as the delta smelt. The area has since been called the Dust Bowl Congress Created. Call me crazy, but I believe in people over minnows.
Add these policies together with Obama's rejection of the Keystone XL pipeline that would bring America oil from Canada, his rejection of offshore drilling, his rejection of oil drilling in Alaska, and his contraction of federal oil leases, and you're left with a picture of a President who is an energy killer, one who is driven not by sound policy decisions, but by blind ideology. That makes him a dangerous man for America. You will hear the President's cronies say oil production is up, but what they won't tell you is, it isn't up because of Obama's policies. In a rare moment of candor, Obama did credit the Bush administration for reducing America's dependence on oil (you could have knocked me over with a feather. That's gotta be a first).
What I do support in Obama's energy policy is expanding fuel economy standards, but overall, his policy is out to lunch and in denial of reality. Just think how long it will take to convert America's entire auto fleet over to electricity. Are we supposed to pay $7-10 for a gallon of gas in the meantime, as both Chu and Obama seem to desire ? That insane, and it's entirely avoidable...but the energy killers don't seem to care.
I've been listening to liberals wax ideologically about energy production for decades, and their mantra is always the same - if the energy source will actually work to supply America with the energy it needs, they are against it. If it is a dubious energy source that may or may not work at some point far in the future, they are for it...and we all suffer in the meantime. No thanks.
Right on cue, Obama has begun demonizing oil company profits again as the source of the problem, to distract people away from the real source of the problem, the government's braindead energy policies. Obama is calling for an end to the $4 billion in "subsidies" that oil companies allegedly receive, without bothering to mention that the oil industry pays the highest tax rates of almost any industry in the country, and does pay more in net taxes than any other industry. Here's the President of the American Petroleum Institute:
API President and CEO Jack Gerard responded to the president’s call for a vote to raise taxes on the oil and natural gas industry:
“It is factually wrong for the president to say that the industry receives ‘subsidies.’ A subsidy is a direct payment of money to a person or business by American taxpayers. The president has it backwards, our industry pays the government nearly 90 million dollars a day—the biggest contributor of government revenue than any other industry in the United States.”
API represents more than 490 oil and natural gas companies, leaders of a technology-driven industry that supplies most of America's energy, supports 9.2 million U.S. jobs and 7.7 percent of the U.S. economy, delivers more than $86 million a day in revenue to our government, and, since 2000, has invested over $2 trillion in U.S. capital projects to advance all forms of energy, including alternatives.
Obama is a snake-oil salesman, nearly incapable of honesty. He doesn't tell you the top oil companies pay over 40% in income taxes. How's that for their "fair share" ??? The truth is the exact opposite of the fiction Obama peddles. The oil companies are a cash cow for the government. Btw, in 30 days, America will have the highest corporate tax rates IN THE WORLD. Apparently, that's not enough for Killer Obama, the worst President in American history.
Update 3/4/12 - How could I leave out Pres. Obama's latest "solution" to our energy problems ? And I quote, "You've got a bunch of algae out there, right? If we can figure out how to make energy out of that, we'll be doing all right." Genius, I tell you. Pure genius.