Why Energy Policy Matters to Americans

Ordinary Americans have been hit hard by rising gas prices.  The vast middle of America doesn’t have chauffeur-driven limousines or multiple cars on different coasts – and $4 a gallon gasoline means cutbacks and making hard family decisions around the kitchen table.

The real question many Americans have is – what has President Obama done to help ordinary Americans at the gas pump? The answer is: Nothing. In fact, he has helped raise gas prices through his policies of “no, no, and no.” No drilling. No hydrofracturing. No Keystone XL pipeline.

After the BP oil spill in April 2010, the president’s reaction was to stop drilling in the Gulf.  Jobs were lost, the economy suffered, gas prices spiked.  That moratorium was not lifted until October 2010.  Since then, the pace of deep water permits approval has been almost 30 percent slower than it was at the beginning of 2010.

Currently, there are 11 fewer rigs working in the Gulf of Mexico than before the spill and production hasn’t recovered. It takes three months to approve an offshore drilling plan under this President, whereas it used to take less than two. In 2012 the Interior Department approved 23 percent of proposed drilling plans submitted, compared with over 70 percent before the spill.

This has devastated the economies of Mississippi and Alabama, whose citizens benefit from oil and gas exploration.  Mississippi has an unemployment rate of 10.4 percent, Alabama’s stands at 8.1 percent.  Both are far too high.

You’d think the unemployment rate alone would be motivation for President Obama to want energy exploration expansion – but instead, President Obama refused to approve the Keystone XL pipeline, which would bring oil from Canada to our refineries in the Gulf of Mexico to make into gasoline.  Those refineries are facing lower supplies of oil from Venezuela and Mexico, and they need Canadian crude.

Because of this President’s environmental agenda, now Canada is planning to ship its oil to China.

This President’s agenda doesn’t just stop with oil and gas, President Obama has also discouraged new electricity generation – forcing many parts of the country to experience rolling blackouts.  That means that millions of Americans will live with a power grid that is second rate, like a Third World country.

To many Americans, rolling blackouts meant throwing rotting food from freezers away, spending sleepless nights in houses where the air conditioning won’t work, trying to find crying children in homes without lights.  To add insult to injury, each month these Americans pay astronomical electricity bills.

For instance, last September, the San Diego Gas & Electric Company shut down, affecting power in Southern California and Arizona.  The blackout affected 1.4 million homes and 5 to 6 million people. Flights out of San Diego International Airport were suspended.  People were trapped in elevators.  Cell phones and landlines went dead.  Many gas stations shut down.

President Obama, Americans are tired of your energy policy.  We’ve tried it.  It doesn’t work.

Many American’s work in coal mines and at power plants.  Sadly, over one hundred coal-fired plants in America have closed since January 2010 and that’s a devastating statistic when you consider coal produces 45 percent of our electricity and many American jobs.  In Alabama and Missouri, coal plants have been closed because of costly Environmental Protection Agency regulations.  In Kansas, a coal-fired plant faces operating delays due to a federal government inquiry.

Obama’s energy policy does work for his close friends – but not every American can own a company like Solyndra, though, or have a wind farm or a biofuels company that hasn’t yet created gasoline out of algae—but which gets federal funds for trying.

Despite the President’s personal agenda, the fact is, oil exploration is a vital part of the U.S. economy.  On March 2 the Eagle Ford Consortium announced that its oil production for 2011 was more than twice analysts’ expectations.  The Texas-based company produced 22 million barrels of oil in 2011, rather than 9 million forecast.

The first well was drilled in 2008, and now production has already surpassed expectations. The formation stretches for 400 miles beneath 24 counties in South and Central Texas. 

In addition to oil, Eagle Ford produced 221 billion cubic feet of natural gas,compared with a forecast of 122 billion cubic feet.

This is good for the economy.  Bank deposits in the Eagle Ford region have risen from $14 billion in 2008 to $16 billion in 2011.

However, Secretary of Energy Chu thinks that energy prices in America are too low.  He thinks that gasoline prices should be twice as high as they are. This Administration tries to make Americans ashamed for consuming energy.

In my home state of Pennsylvania market forces are being used to explore for natural gas. Some experts predict that this exploration will create up to 200,000 jobs by 2020. This has contributed to dramatically lower natural gas prices for consumers, transformed struggling rural communities, created additional revenue for state and local governments, and helped the environment through expanded use of natural gas.

When I am president, I’ll approve the Keystone Pipeline for jobs and energy security, and sign an order on day one unleashing America’s domestic energy production, allowing states to choose where they want to explore for oil and natural gas and to set their own regulations for hydrofracking.

Federal energy policy will work for ordinary Americans because my energy policy will put ordinary Americans back to work.  I won’t make Americans ashamed for using energy.  In fact, I’ll make them proud. America has always been an energy-intensive country.  Our economic growth has been fueled by energy.  So too will be our future.

Rick Santorum, a former representative and senator from Pennsylvania, is a candidate for the Republican nomination for president. 

  1. The King Prawn

    $4/gallon gas doesn’t just mean hard decisions around the dinner table; it also means hard decisions about what’s on the dinner table for many families. As the cost of fuel pushes up the cost of groceries (because nothing magically appears in grocery stores, it’s all brought there via hydrocarbons), these families will take a double hit. The cost of living is going up while wages are stagnating or declining. Americans have cut unnecessary expenses, reduced their reliance on credit, and are reaching their wits end. This president and his asinine, arbitrary policies aren’t just bankrupting us as a nation. He is bankrupting individual families.

  2. Mel Foil
    The King Prawn: $4/gallon gas doesn’t just mean hard decisions around the dinner table; it also means hard decisions about what’s on the dinner table for many families. As the cost of fuel pushes up the cost of groceries (because nothing magically appears in grocery stores, it’s all brought there via hydrocarbons), these families will take a double hit……

    A farm tractor can burn 16 gallons an hour too. And if fuel (and fertilizer) prices cause some marginal farmers to drop out of farming altogether, what does that do to food prices and food quality? It may not show itself right away, but having fewer and bigger farms will probably not be great for consumers.

  3. The King Prawn
    etoiledunord

    The King Prawn: $4/gallon gas doesn’t just mean hard decisions around the dinner table; it also means hard decisions about what’s on the dinner table for many families. As the cost of fuel pushes up the cost of groceries (because nothing magically appears in grocery stores, it’s all brought there via hydrocarbons), these families will take a double hit……

    A farm tractor can burn 16 gallons an hour too. And if fuel (and fertilizer) prices cause some marginal farmers to drop out of farming altogether, what does that do to food prices and food quality? It may not show itself right away, but having fewer and bigger farms will probably not be great for consumers. · 1 minute ago

    Indeed. Talk about a multiplier effect…

  4. HVTs
    Rick Santorum: Obama’s energy policy does work for his close friends – but not every American can own a company like Solyndra, though, or have a wind farm or a biofuels company that hasn’t yet created gasoline out of algae—but which gets federal funds for trying.

    Senator,

    You won’t recapture the narrative from the Democrat-dominated media using vague references to Obama’s “close friends.”  You’ve got to connect the dots between Obama’s contributors and ‘bundlers’, and our tax dollars which enrich them through boondoggles like Solyndra.  To attract undecided voters, Obama’s superficially pleasing “green energy” mantra needs to be ‘outed’ as the  fundamentally corrupt, Big Government – Crony Capitalist wealth transfer and power grab that it is.

  5. tabula rasa

    Mr. Santorum:  Perhaps you could explain this to President Obama, who said, “we can’t just drill our way to lower gas prices.”

    Let’s see.  We drill (of course, it takes a while to begin extraction, but smart people who watch oil markets begin pricing new production into prices), which creates more supply.  Assuming the new supply will be greater than new demand, prices will go down.  And, from what I hear, we can easily begin to put a lot more supply on the market relatively quickly.  So, if I understand my basic macroeconomics, we can drill our way to lower gas prices.

    Oh, and the Canadians can drill and deliver the oil to our refineries in Texas.  All we need is a pipeline.  So if that were to happen, we and the Canadians can really drill our way to lower gas prices.

    Is this really so hard for the president?

  6. Freeven
    HVTs

    To attract undecided voters, Obama’s superficially pleasing “green energy” mantra needs to be ‘outed’ as the  fundamentally corrupt, Big Government – Crony Capitalist wealth transfer and power grab that it is. · 7 minutes ago

    Yes. It’s time to take charge of the narrative. Conservatives need to rebrand  the “green” in “green energy” to evoke thoughts of money — wasted on subsidies, kick backs, higher taxes, and crony statism. (EJ, you busy?) “Green energy” needs to become a label the Left wears at a political cost, one that begins to be mocked on the late night talk shows. We’ll know we’re winning when the Left start eschewing “green energy” in favor of some other warm and fuzzy language, just as “liberal” became “progressive” and “global warming” became “climate change.”

  7. Stuart Creque

    Senator, there is a parable from the Middle East that you should consider using in your campaign regarding energy policy.

    A young child asked an old man in a field what he was doing.  “I am planting this olive tree sapling,” the old man replied.

    “I will help you pick the olives tomorrow,” said the child proudly.

    The old man laughed and said, “But it will be many years before this tree bears fruit.  I will be long dead before then.”

    The child asked, “If you will be dead before there are any olives, why do you plant this tree?”

    “See these trees around us,” explained the old man.  “My father planted these so that I could eat.  I plant this one so that you will eat.”

    We can’t “drill our way” out of today’s crisis (although announcing that we will develop all our energy resources including oil and gas wherever it exists in the USA will drive down oil prices through altered expectations).  But if we don’t start drilling now, our children and their children will suffer crisis after crisis.  We should drill THEIR way out of those shortages.

  8. DocJay

    It should be noted over and over that Obama’s energy policy is akin to national suicide.

  9. Del Mar Dave

    “…For instance, last September, the San Diego Gas & Electric Company shut down, affecting power in Southern California and Arizona…”

    I live in northern San Diego County, and this is the first I’ve heard about an SDG&E “shutdown.”  As I remember, the power outage was caused by a power worker’s removal of a piece of monitoring equipment in Arizona, triggering the shutdown of a major powerline.

    Saying SDG&E shut down leads the unknowing to infer that the company did so for lack of fuel for generators or something else resulting from Obama’s policies.  I have no evidence that either is the case.

    Senator, this is a great issue.  Please get your facts right. 

    And while you’re at it, please don’t get distracted by non-winning issues over on the “social” side.

    I hope I’m proven wrong, but I think Republicans are in the process of seizing defeat from the jaws of victory.

  10. John Murdoch

    DelMar Dave/Mothership_Greg–

    Not to worry. Texas has lost significant generation in the past few months–a number of those hundred coal plants shut down were in Texas. Texas, last summer, went right to the edge of their grid capacity–now the EPA has shut a bunch of that capacity down.

    The electric grids in the U.S. are not one entity–there is a grid east of the Mississippi, there is a grid west of the Mississippi, and there is a grid in Texas. They do not interconnect–Texas is an island. (And there are specific reasons they do not interconnect–it is not a matter of just stringing some wire.)

    The result is that this summer people in Texas will be blacked out. Manufacturers will lose days of production. People will be laid off. In extreme heat, some people (the elderly, people with poor respiratory systems, children with asthma) will die. 

    Not because there isn’t enough power. But because the EPA has forced Texas to shutter some of that power–knowing full well what will happen. 

    This will be an issue in Texas, but also in Arizona and Nevada too.

  11. John Murdoch

    Senator–

    The case is worse than you describe. Due to EPA closure of coal-fired power plants east of the Mississippi, much of the eastern electrical grid will see voltage reductions (so-called “brownouts”) this summer. 

    That doesn’t just mean that household lights flicker–brownouts damage electric motors. Sewing machine motors. Cutting machine motors. Printing press motors. Bindery machinery motors. Motors that score, cut, bend, fold, lift, band, turn, spin, seal, and separate. Motors that make stuff–and provide income for working families.

    Manufacturers will flee areas that do not have a stable, reliable electric supply. No manufacturer in his right mind will locate where there is not a stable, reliable electric supply.  

    Stephen Chu understands this–I have worked closely with former colleagues of his. He knows this–and chooses to ignore it. This is not just the folly of having Berkeley professors picking winners and losers in energy production–this is a willful blindness to the inevitable consequences of hamstringing American energy production.

    Were I thee, I would make Stephen Chu a centerpiece of my fall campaign strategy.

  12. Dave Carter
    C

    Obama-s-No-Job-Zone.jpgSenator Santorum, I see a lot of signs like this when I drive my semi through West Virginia and Eastern Kentucky.  These people are hurting, and I hope your efforts help alleviate not only their suffering, but that of the people who depend on the electricity that these people used to produce.  Besides, what good does it do to plug in your shiny new Volt if there’s no electricity because we’re shutting down coal plants?  

    I’d like to briefly offer my thanks to you and the other candidates who decided not to sit on their hands this time around.  You guys decided to put yourselves out there, to stand and be counted, and I salute you for it.  If any one of you gentleman can do half of the myriad things you vow to do on your first day, the remaining days of your term will be a lot easier.  

  13. Fred Cole

    Senator, it’d be a lot easier to take you seriously if you didn’t open this piece with a cheap class-warfare attack on Gov. Romney.

    Class warfare is a disgusting tactic.  That you opened with that is extremely discouraging.

  14. Mothership_Greg
    John Murdoch: 

    The case is worse than you describe. Due to EPA closure of coal-fired power plants east of the Mississippi, much of the eastern electrical grid will see voltage reductions (so-called “brownouts”) this summer. 

    That doesn’t just mean that household lights flicker–brownouts damage electric motors. Sewing machine motors. Cutting machine motors. Printing press motors. Bindery machinery motors. Motors that score, cut, bend, fold, lift, band, turn, spin, seal, and separate. Motors that make stuff–and provide income for working families.

    Manufacturers will flee areas that do not have a stable, reliable electric supply. No manufacturer in his right mind will locate where there is not a stable, reliable electric supply.  

    Stephen Chu understands this–I have worked closely with former colleagues of his. Heknowsthis–andchoosesto ignore it. This is not just the folly of having Berkeley professors picking winners and losers in energy production–this is a willful blindness to the inevitable consequences of hamstringing American energy production.

    Were I thee, I would make Stephen Chu a centerpiece of my fall campaign strategy. · 3 hours ago

    Thanks, John.  This stuff is important, and Santorum et al need to get it right.

  15. Mama Toad
    Fred Cole: Senator, it’d be a lot easier to take you seriously if you didn’t open this piece with a cheap class-warfare attack on Gov. Romney.

    Class warfare is a disgusting tactic.  That you opened with that is extremely discouraging. · 4 hours ago

    Edited 4 hours ago

    I don’t disagree with you Fred, but when I first read it, I actually saw it as a slam on the President, not on Romney. It wasn’t until I read your comment here that I went back and re-read and saw that it was a slam also on Mr. Romney. Gratuitous indeed. Perhaps people who live in $1.4 million houses shouldn’t throw stones? I don’t mind people having wealth, but I do dislike people sneering at those who have done well, as though having wealth is a crime or something to be ashamed of. I’m not wealthy, but I sure would like to be — not by taking away from others, but by being successful. 

  16. Fred Cole
    Mama Toad

     I don’t mind people having wealth, but I do dislike people sneering at those who have done well, as though having wealth is a crime or something to be ashamed of. I’m not wealthy, but I sure would like to be — not by taking away from others, but by being successful.  

    EXACTLY.  Class warfare is no substitute for effective public policy.  I don’t like the us-and-them mentality.  But, when it comes to class warfare, let them do that, we’re better.

  17. Mothership_Greg

    Hmm:

    “The outage appears to be related to a procedure an APS employee was carrying out in the North Gila substation,” an APS spokesman said in a statement. “Operating and protection protocols typically would have isolated the resulting outage to the Yuma area. The reason that did not occur in this case will be the focal point of the investigation into the event, which already is underway.”

    Despite temperatures that reached into the 100s in San Diego and Imperial counties, excessive electricity demand didn’t appear to be a factor in the power loss, said Stephanie McCorkle, a spokeswoman for the California Independent System Operator, the agency that oversees most of California’s electrical grid.

    “It was not a case of a high-demand day,” she said. “The operating reserves were fine.”

  18. michael kelley
    HVTs

    Rick Santorum: Obama’s energy policy does work for his close friends – but not every American can own a company like Solyndra, though, or have a wind farm or a biofuels company that hasn’t yet created gasoline out of algae—but which gets federal funds for trying.

    Senator,

    You won’t recapture the narrative from the Democrat-dominated media using vague references to Obama’s “close friends.”  You’ve got to connect the dots between Obama’s contributors and ‘bundlers’, and our tax dollars which enrich them through boondoggles like Solyndra.  To attract undecided voters, Obama’s superficially pleasing “green energy” mantra needs to be ‘outed’ as the  fundamentally corrupt, Big Government – Crony Capitalist wealth transfer and power grab that it is. · Mar 10 at 9:27am

    This is very good advice.  Let’s try the truth for a change.

    A novel concept.

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