Democrat slams Obama’s anti-energy policies

May 13, 2011 05:31

Harold Ford, until recently an important Democratic representative from Tennessee is doing the criticizing of President Barack Obama’s energy policy.

From The Americano

One thing is when the criticism comes from a conservative or a Republican, and quite another when it comes from a former Democratic congressman.

In this case it is Harold Ford, until recently an important Democratic representative from Tennessee who is doing the criticizing of President Barack Obama’s energy policy.

“When President Obama introduced his energy plan in March, he pointed out that the U.S. keeps going ‘from shock to trance on the issue of energy security, rushing to propose action when gas prices rise, then hitting the snooze button when they fall again,” Ford wrote in an Op-Ed article published Wednesday in the Wall Street Journal.

Ford acknowledged that since the Nixon administration U.S. leaders have all made the same commitment to cutting our reliance on foreign oil, finding reliable sources of clean energy, and keeping energy prices low.

“Yet Americans keep hearing only short-term solutions and narrowly focused rules and regulations. The U.S. still imports more than half its oil, gasoline prices are at historic highs, and consumers are paying the price,” he wrote.

Ford blamed both Republicans and Democrats, pointing out that President George H.W. Bush took aggressive steps to keep off-limits vast supplies of oil and gas along the coasts of California and Florida.

“Since then, the build-up of restrictions, limitations and bans on drilling (onshore and off) have cost the U.S. economy billions of dollars while increasing our dependence on foreign sources of energy,” Ford said. “In the year since the Deepwater Horizon spill, the Obama administration has put in place what is effectively a permanent moratorium on deep water drilling. It stretched out the approval process for some Gulf-region drilling permits to more than nine months, lengths that former President Bill Clinton has called ‘ridiculous.’”

The former Democratic legislator also criticized the administration’s efforts to pass new taxes on energy at a time when gas prices are climbing.

“Characterizing legitimate tax credits as ‘subsidies’ or ‘loopholes’ only distracts from substantive treatment of these issues,” Ford wrote. “Lawmakers misrepresent the facts when they call the manufacturing deduction known as Section 199—passed by Congress in 2004 to spur domestic job growth—a ‘subsidy’ for oil and gas firms. The truth is that all U.S. manufacturers, from software producers to filmmakers and coffee roasters, are eligible for this deduction.”

Ford also proposed steps that the government should take if it wants greater energy independence.

He suggested that:

• First, let’s conduct a comprehensive review of existing policies, rules and restrictions and root out any that needlessly hamper energy production at home. Do the existing environmental rules, for example, accurately reflect the industry’s technological advancements in the ability to safely recover oil and gas supplies?

• Second, let’s develop the skills we need to find new and better ways to recover domestic supplies of energy—and to develop next-generation fuels to secure the future. That means encouraging more students to study math, science and other disciplines this industry needs.

• Third, let’s stop demonizing Big Oil to score political points. It does nothing to encourage the new talent, new ideas, and new entrepreneurs who are most likely to make breakthroughs in new sources of energy.

His conclusion was simple.

“The kickoff of the presidential campaign season and the spike in fuel prices offer an opportunity to constructively debate a comprehensive national energy strategy,” Ford said. “Effective policies will ensure sufficient domestic production and the healthy operation of U.S. companies abroad, which together will provide the secure, affordable energy supply that Americans need.”

The Americano/Agencies

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