Bush on Energy, Inaction on ANWR

By April 29, 2008Energy
  • Dow Jones: “WASHINGTON (Dow Jones)–Addressing a myriad of economic worries, U.S. President George W. Bush pushed lawmakers to expand domestic energy production, streamline a “bloated” farm bill and pass an overhaul of the Federal Housing Administration.”
  • Washington Post:”President Bush today blamed Congress for many of the nation’s economic woes, charging that lawmakers have blocked his proposals for dealing with problems ranging from soaring gasoline prices to the increasing cost of food.”
  • Bloomberg: “April 29 (Bloomberg) — President George W. Bush blamed Congress for blocking his initiatives to mitigate rising energy costs by expanding domestic production and said lawmakers also are delaying action on other measures to address higher food costs and the mortgage crisis.”
  • And the expected analysis, hauled out regularly on occasions like this.

    WASHINGTON, April 29 (Reuters) – The Bush administration says the United States would be less addicted to foreign oil and fuel prices would be lower if Congress had only opened up Alaska’s Arctic National Wildlife Refuge to drilling.

    But that claim doesn’t reflect the long lead time to develop the refuge’s huge oil reserves, which would not be available for several more years and initial volumes would still be small if Congress in 2002 had approved the administration’s plan to drill in ANWR, energy experts say.

    This line of thinking invites paralysis: “Since that extra week of overtime won’t pay enough to buy a new car by June, I shouldn’t do the work, even though it might help raise the funds by November.”

    Other points:

  • The market responds to expectations of supply and policy signals, and drilling in ANWR would not be considered in a vacuum. A commitment to domestic energy development as reflected in opening of ANWR in 2002 would have sent a powerful signal.
  • Bush got to the issue of ANWR as soon as he could. Congress changed the law to open the possiblity of energy development in 1980. Both the Senate and House approved drilling in ANWR in 1995, but President Clinton vetoed the legislation.
  • Finally, with energy costs rising and reliance on foreign supplies growing, the argument for ANWR has only gotten stronger. It’s quite surprising that elected officials previously opposed to ANWR have not reassessed their positions given the serious consequences of inaction.

    Join the discussion 2 Comments

    • Stuart Burns says:

      Opening up ANWR has less to do with the soaring oil price than it has to giving in to Geroge Bush’s oil buddies. There is no shortage of oil in the world. The current price is due to the appaling state of the US economy under George Bush’s presidency, the dollar has collapsed and speculators have piled into oil and other commodities like metals as a hedge against the currency and inflation. Balance the books and the currency would recover and commodities would come off. the correct price for oil is probably around $70-80/barrel factoring in its long term decline, the premium we pay is a reflection of the hedge being played. ANWR oil would sell at world prices anyway, it wouldn’t change the price Americans paid one cent.

    • PJ says:

      “Opening ANWR now would be like stopping at the bathroom on your way to the electric chair; you’re only delaying the inevitable.”
      – Glenn Beck, 4/24/08

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