Regardless of whether there is a raging national debate on gas prices and energy policy, the issue will always have a special relevance in Colorado. We are home to some of the world's largest reserves of natural gas and oil. In fact, in Northwest Colorado alone we have more than triple the amount of oil that Saudi Arabia has in total. The development of domestic energy is more than just a slogan for Coloradans. Often it means a paycheck and food on the table.
While politicians might be able to spill their 'fossil fuels are evil' nonsense in San Francisco (& Boulder), a significant amount of Coloradans see through that sloganeering and the nonsensical solutions that often accompany it. One prime example of a nonsensical solution is President Obama's announcement yesterday that he is releasing 30 million barrels of oil from the Strategic Petroleum Reserve because of the political backlash to high gas prices.
Heretofore, Obama had done not a damn thing to lower gas prices. In fact, he had done just the opposite, with oil and gas leases on federal land down 45% since Obama took office. No wonder Obama's approval rating on gas prices is a lowly 34% in the latest AP poll.
Rather than offer real solutions that would affect gas prices, Obama pulls this transparently political ploy and expects people will buy it as a real solution. You can't find one economist out there who will tell you that it will do a damn thing for long term gas prices. It's a joke and a complete misuse of the reserve. The reserve is there for times of national crisis and emergencies, not when the President is feeling the political heat from a poor energy policy.
Let's look back at what Obama said about tapping the reserve as a Senator:
"…we shouldn’t be tapping the reserve to provide a small, short-term decrease in gas prices."
And what he said as a candidate:
"…the strategic oil reserve, I think, has to be reserved for a genuine emergency."
So when Obama was being honest, and his political hide was not on the line, he acknowledges how inappropriate and ineffective his latest move is in reality. Funny how a little political pressure changes his whole philosophy on the issue.
As the lead sponsor on legislation that would actually make a dent in gas prices and energy independence, and create 50,000 jobs, Congressman Cory Gardner was none-too-pleased with Obama's half-assed attempt at a solution, saying:
"Now is not the time for short term political fixes to long term energy problems. If President Obama was serious about weaning ourselves off of Middle East oil, he would support drilling in Alaska’s Outer Continental Shelf, which can produce in one month what the President is proposing we deplete from our emergency reserves.”
Seeing as Gardner's legislation would allow for more than 10 times the amount of oil every year than Obama is releasing from the reserves, he has a good point. That's the problem with Democrats and energy policy. They don't actually solve the problem. They sloganeer about green energy, and make things up.
Take this fact-challenged tirade from state Senator Morgan Carroll (D-Aurora):
“Right now we’re spending more for fossil fuels in terms of subsidies than with renewable,” said Carroll. “The rebates and incentives out there for renewable energy sources is dwarfed by the incentives currently in place for fossil fuels."
That kind of untrue bloviation might work at a Move-On.org conference, but it doesn't cut it with people who look at the numbers.
Let's look at what the government reports it actually spends on subsidies, and not some state Senator who has no idea what she is talking about. The last report by the Department of Energy on this was released in 2008. Of course, since Obama took office renewable energy subsidies have only increased, but it's striking to look at what "oilman" George Bush gave the renewable energy industry.
Morgan Carroll — we suggest you get a pen and write this down.
- Natural gas/Petroleum liquids — $0.25 per megawatt hour
- Coal — $0.44 per megawatt hour
- Nuclear — $1.59 per megawatt hour
- Wind — $23.37 per megawatt hour
- Solar — $24.34 per megawatt hour
The false promise of renewables as an economically viable energy resource has shown itself in Colorado as well. Journalists not willing to be suckered by the Green Machine have done great reporting on it. For example, Todd Shepherd through open records requests found out the solar panels at the Denver Museum of Nature and Science wouldn't pay themselves off until 2118. Problem is, solar panels only have a life expectancy of 20-25 years.
Energy policy can't be developed with political ploys and false facts. It's time for a serious discussion of energy policy in this country — one based in facts and reality, not the Green Machine's dreams.