The Dems and Energy

By November 19, 2006Energy

Here’s an AP story on the Dems’ plans for energy. On some of it, we certainly agree. There is no doubt that we need to push for efficiency and alternative fuels, but as we’ve said many times before, manufacturers are at the leading edge of efficiency (we have to be, trying to stay competitive in the face of soaring prices) and we are the ones inventing the new technology on alternate fuels. So mark us down as in favor of those.

But as we’ve also said, efficiency and new sources are not mutually exclusive with tapping our own resources. We actually need to do both. Our competitors are not wringing their hands and declaring their own resources off limits. We shouldn’t either.

However, the most troubling idea is their apparent punitive stance when it comes to the energy industry. They promise a price gouging bill, which is nothing more than political theater. Every investigation of price gouging — in any party’s Administration — has turned up nothing. So be it. But their tax plan has serious consequences. When even the WaPo speaks out against heavier taxes, you know it’s a bad idea. It will only penalize the companies that are doing the research and exploration. Simply put, higher taxes mean less money to invest in research and exploration. That, of course, translates into higher prices for us all.

If the Dems want to drive down energy prices, they can begin by opening the Outer Continental Shelf to exploration. That would have a near-term impact on the middle class and, more importantly, on those on a fixed income, all of whom are paying the (high) price for a long-outdated federal moratorium on natural gas. Just doesn’t make sense.

We look forward to working with the Democrats on the array of energy issues. However, they’d be wise as they take the reins of the Congress to remember Hippocrates rule, which applies to energy as well as medicine: First, do no harm.

Join the discussion One Comment

  • Before anyone pursues an energy windfall tax, it’s worth noting that today’s volatile energy markets can turn very quickly in either direction. There will be no “windfall” to tax when energy prices plummet. Think about it– how long does it take to promulgate, institute, and (if warranted) remove a tax function? Longer than it takes for energy markets to flip?

    Also, please don’t underestimate industry’s potential to become more energy-efficient. The assessments performed this year by the U.S. Department of Energy’s “Save Energy Now” program ( are finding quick-payback savings potential even in the companies that are already recognized for their energy-efficiency achievements. How long does it take to reduce energy waste? Less time than it takes to promulgate new energy supply policies?

    “Price” is only one half of the energy expense equation. “Consumption” is the other. Someday, the concept of “efficiency” may transcend the us-versus-them grumbling of party politics.

    Keep up the good work, and say “hi” to Bill Canis for me.