Politics

Drill Here, Drill Now

Former Speaker Newt Gingrich’s petition to Congress demanding the removal of government obstacles to increasing our energy supplies is gathering momentum by the minute, while the Democrats’ do-nothing Congress wants to raise fuel prices.  

Actually, labeling Congress a bunch of “do-nothings” is almost right, but not quite.  They’re doing their best to create more obstacles to growing our energy supply.  And while the price of energy is already unreasonably high, they’re working hard on a liberal agenda that will raise the prices consumers pay for gasoline, diesel fuel, natural gas and home heating oil.

With the summer upon us (and the November election fast approaching) the price of gasoline should be on the mind of every member who wants to keep his job after November.  There is a conservative approach to the problem:  relieve government burdens on the energy market.  But Congress isn’t controlled by conservatives:  the Democrats rule both houses of Congress and – even with gasoline prices reaching all-time highs almost daily — the Dems are doing their best to raise the burden on the voters.

As Speaker Gingrich told me in a Wednesday interview, “Every time I turn around I see Congress and bureaucracy making it harder to produce energy, increasing the price you and I are paying, reducing the amount that’s available, and then trying to find someone else to blame.”

That’s right:  while many Americans are paying more than $4/gallon for gasoline (add another 75¢ for a gallon of diesel fuel), Congress is coming back on Monday to try to pass legislation such as the Warner-Lieberman “cap and trade” anti-global warming bill which — by itself, and without the costs added by other Democratic initiatives — would boost the price of a gallon of gas to levels paid in Europe.  (Yesterday, the price of a gallon of gas in England was about $6.23.)  

Gingrich told me:

At a time when the Congress should be finding ways to lower the amount of cost to put gas in your wife’s car, they are actually proposing to increase the cost of gasoline, increase the cost of diesel fuel, increase the cost of aviation fuel, increase the cost natural gas, and increase the cost of coal. This is at a time when truckers are at a danger of being put out of business.   Airlines are in danger of being put out of business. It’s just absolutely amazing.

It is amazing, because there are so many government obstacles to energy development that Congress could eliminate, if it chose to.  Gingrich explained:

[I]t’s currently illegal to explore the Atlantic. It is illegal to explore the Pacific. It is illegal to explore the Eastern Gulf Of Mexico. It is illegal to explore Alaska and it is currently illegal to look for shale oil. Now, if you basically…and this is what makes the recent decision by the House to vote to sue OPEC an act of absolute childishness. If you’re not prepared to allow Americans in America to look for oil and gas in America, how can you have the arrogance to say to some foreign country they have to pump more of the stuff we’re not willing to pump?

The vote to sue OPEC only produced another “Kucinich moment” for Nancy Pelosi’s Democrats.  The little fact that no court would have the power to penalize OPEC didn’t deter the Pelosicrats from this frivolity.  

Gingrich’s petition starts with the commonsensical proposition that instead of creating more burdens on the energy market, Congress should go about taking down the old barriers.   In Gingrich’s characteristically plain English the petition says:

We, therefore, the undersigned citizens of the United States, petition the U.S. Congress to act immediately to lower gasoline prices by authorizing the exploration of proven energy reserves to reduce our dependence on foreign energy sources from unstable countries.

As of about 8:30 pm Thursday, the petition had about 150,700 signatures.  Gingrich aims to get 200,000 signatures by this coming Monday.   Every conservative — and every voter who wants to see energy prices go down and not up — should sign the petition. (You can sign the petition by clicking on this link).

And after Monday?  

Gingrich said:

“We’re going to print out the petition, take it up and give it to the US Senate. Then, we are going to continue to gather names. When we get to 500 thousand we’re going to take it up and give it to the US House, and then we’re going to try to gather an excess of a million signatures before the Democratic National Convention and the Republican National Convention.

He proposed that we have a “straight-up” argument in this country on energy and on the Dems’ elitist view that we’re not paying enough.  The Dems apparently believe that the answer to economic pain is more pain.  As conservatives, we should view this debate to be equal in importance to the illegal immigration debate we forced last year.  

It is, like the illegal immigration debate, a question of our nation’s economic survival, our national security.  Last year, conservatives prevented passage of the “comprehensive immigration reform” — i.e., amnesty — bill.  This year, we can — at least — prevent passage of legislation that will make our energy supplies more expensive.  

And next year?

HUMAN EVENTS is researching and will soon publish a conservative energy agenda, one designed to remove government barriers to exploration, development and distribution of energy in the United States.  We believe this is exactly the kind of mess that Ronald Reagan had in mind when he said, “Government is not a solution to our problem, government is the problem."