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High Gas Prices are Caused by Governments, Not Companies

When Governor Newsom and New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern met to announce a deal between the tiny country and the broken state, it was another example of California illegally enacting its own foreign policy. And a reminder of why California gas prices are so high.

The memorandum had California promising to be “carbon neutral” by 2045 and to promote the “environmental integrity of carbon pricing instruments”. California’s crooked carbon pricing schemes have become notorious for both their worthlessness and their corruption.

And California drivers are paying the price.

report from Stillwater Associates last year found that California consumers were paying an extra $1.19 a gallon. This year the added costs include a 51 cent state excise tax, an 18 cent sales tax, 20 cents for Fuels Under the Cap, part of the state’s corrupt environmental cap and trade program and 17 cents for the Low Carbon Fuel Standard.

Californians are paying a $1.41 federal and state tax markup on $3 bucks of crude.

Or almost half.

Biden and other Democrats have blamed corporate profits, but the gas stations and suppliers are making a mere 33 cents a gallon or less than a third of the state’s added $1.08 in various taxes. Even the refiners are only making 72 cents. The biggest piece of the pie is coming from the taxes, many of them hidden, imposed by Democrats in the name of saving the planet.

While Newsom and Big Green describe some of these taxes as “allowances” and “credits” as part of a “marketplace”, they are really a corrupt scheme to force consumers to pay money to special interests and politically connected companies under the guise of “saving the planet”.

The Left now attacks Elon Musk, but California’s environmental regulations kept Tesla profitable. For example, in 2020, Tesla reported $428 million in sales from “regulatory credits” amounting to “four times Tesla’s $104 million of net profit for the quarter”. In the first quarter of 2021, Tesla sold $518 million in “credits” and Autoweek noted that it was making “more money selling credits and bitcoin than cars.” Credits are like bitcoins the government forces you to buy.

Regulatory credits are a corrupt environmental scam in which car makers who sell regular cars to ordinary people have to buy “credits” from electric car makers like Tesla, who sell to the rich, and then pass on the high costs on to working class and middle class car buyers.

The dirty truth about California’s electric car market is that it’s subsidized by people who can’t afford them. And the same situation applies to gas prices with their burden of green taxes.

Democrats sold the fuel taxes as penalties on polluters. They claimed that imposing them would “make the polluters pay”. Few Californians seemed to understand that by “polluters”, the Sacramento political establishment meant the single mother picking up her son from school, the supermarket cashier commuting to work, and everyone else who can’t afford a Tesla.

The California average gas price is now over $6 a gallon, compared to $4.60 for the rest of the country, because Democrats are making ordinary drivers, whom they call “polluters”, pay.

Gov. Newsom is touting his new deal with New Zealand, even though most California environmentalists have turned on the corrupt green scam that’s killing the state.

ProPublica, a leftist group, noted that, “California’s oil and gas industry actually rose 3.5% since cap and trade began.” While the idea that there’s anything wrong with carbon is an environmentalist hoax that props up corrupt green special interests, the Brown-Newsom green tax isn’t even coming close to accomplishing the stated goals that is the basis for those taxes.

Bloomberg article last month began by arguing that, “California’s carbon market was supposed to be a model for the US, harnessing the power of capitalism to fight climate change in the world’s fifth-biggest economy. But nearly 10 years after ‘cap and trade’ began, there’s little proof the system has had much direct impact on curbing planet-warming pollutants.”

Before bitcoin, environmentalists created an imaginary “carbon currency” and a marketplace around it that forced ordinary consumers to fund corporate bribery of top Democrats. Some of the biggest companies in the country boast of going “carbon neutral” by 2030, 2045 or 2980, when what that actually means is that they’re buying “carbon offsets” and changing nothing.

The carbon scam has made the right sorts of people rich and everyone else much poorer.

California began trading “emissions” in the 90s with the Regional Clean Air Incentives Market (RECLAIM).A decade later, Anne Sholtz, an environmental law academic and emissions broker who helped set up the program, had been arrested by the EPA on wire fraud charges.

Sholtz had all but invented the modern electronic pollution marketplace. She met with Al Gore and gave plenty of interviews until she was arrested for trying to trade credits she didn’t have.

But can there be fraud when the whole thing is a scam?

Big Green created a massive industry based on trading indulgences from government environmental mandates. An industry now worth billions, is being touted to investors as having the potential to hit $100 billion or $200 billion or infinity by 2030. It’s an industry that, unlike those it’s using the government and leftist activists to shake down, is worth nothing, produces nothing, and exists purely as a rent-seeking parasite destroying American living standards.

Each company and investor joining the regulatory Ponzi scheme is now motivated to pressure governments, local and national, to impose more taxes and push more companies into the market so that those who got in earlier will steal more from those who come in later. This perverse socialist mockery of capitalism is depicted as “saving the planet” even though it has failed to do anything to move the dial even on the environmental hoax that justifies its existence.

And that is one reason why California’s gas prices are some of the highest in the nation.

But like vegans, legal shoplifting, and shopping bag bans, what starts in California, doesn’t stay there. Biden and Senate Democrats have tried to impose a national carbon tax on Americans.

Had Senator Manchin not rejected last year’s proposed carbon tax, the whole country would have been hit with a tax of at least another 18 cents per gallon. Senator Whitehouse’s proposal would have added about 14 cents a gallon, but would have increased “5 percent above inflation annually.” That kicker, also a part of California’s gas taxes, is what’s really making them rise.

And that’s just for starters.

The Obama administration was proposing a carbon tax that would have added over 40 cents per gallon. The EU’s $75 per ton carbon tax applied here would mean over 60 cents more per gallon. A former Carter adviser has proposed a tax that would be closer to 90 cents.

And it would only go up from there.

California is a cautionary tale that when environmentalists, leftists, and other Democrats claim that they want to “make polluters pay”, they mean you.

Driving by a Los Angeles gas station last week, I saw that the price was approaching 7 bucks.

They’re making us pay. Every single day.

AUTHOR

Daniel Greenfield, a Shillman Journalism Fellow at the Freedom Center, is an investigative journalist and writer focusing on the radical Left and Islamic terrorism.

RELATED ARTICLE: White House disarray: Low approval ratings rattle Biden, ‘frighten’ Democrats

EDITORS NOTE: This Jihad Watch column is republished with permission. ©All rights reserved.

While Americans Can’t Afford Gas, Biden Slashes Drilling

It’s not Putin’s price hike, it’s Biden’s. And he insists on reminding us of that every few days.

The Biden administration on Monday reversed a Trump administration plan that would have allowed the government to lease more than two-thirds of the country’s largest swath of public land to oil and gas drilling.

The Bureau of Land Management’s decision will shrink the amount of land available for lease in the National Petroleum Reserve in Alaska…

The decision returns to an Obama administration plan that allows fossil fuel extraction in up to 52% of the reserve, compared to the Trump administration’s effort to open up 82% of the land to drilling.

Nationally gas prices continue to rise, despite increased production, hitting an average of $4.13. Of course, where I live, people would wait on line for an hour to get $4.13 gas and consider $5.13 a mouthwatering bargain.

But that’s what happens when you put enviros in charge of a city, a state, or a country.

While Biden and his lackeys advise Americans to buy $55,000 electric cars, they fly jet planes everywhere and then keep blocking efforts to make America energy independent.

AUTHOR

RELATED ARTICLE: ‘Robert Spencer’s Qur’an: A new annotated Qur’an that belongs in every sensible citizen’s library’

EDITORS NOTE: This Jihad Watch column is republished with permission. ©All rights reserved.

‘Will Not Fix The Problem’: Biden Releasing Oil Reserves Due To Politics, Critics Say

  • President Joe Biden’s decision to tap the U.S. Strategic Petroleum Reserve (SPR) was derided by top GOP lawmakers and experts who said the move was political and won’t move the needle on gasoline prices.
  • “Even if the economic reality of five or maybe 10 cents a gallon of short term impact isn’t that big of a deal, doing nothing might look like a really big political problem,” Kevin Book, a National Petroleum Council member and managing director of ClearView Energy Partners, told the Daily Caller News Foundation.
  • The federal government will release 32 million barrels of oil from the SPR and accelerate the release of 18 million barrels that had already been congressionally mandated, the White House announced Tuesday.
  • “This very temporary measure is not going to solve the supply issue at the pump nor is it a solution to gas prices that have doubled in the last year,” Rep. Fred Upton, the top Republican on a House energy subcommittee, told the DCNF.

President Joe Biden’s decision to tap the U.S. Strategic Petroleum Reserve (SPR) was derided by top GOP lawmakers and experts who said the move was political and won’t move the needle on gasoline prices.

The federal government will release 32 million barrels of oil from the SPR and accelerate the release of 18 million barrels that had already been congressionally mandated, the White House announced Tuesday. Biden’s move to release crude oil from the nation’s emergency reserves was made alongside China, India, Japan, South Korea and the U.K., marking the first internationally coordinated release of emergency oil reserves.

However, experts suggested that the action was likely a political reaction to ever-rising prices at the pump and said it wouldn’t have a significant long term effect.

“It’s possible to say, ‘okay, this is something that politically, if not economically, requires intervention.’ The problem might be that, actually they started talking about doing something back in August,” Kevin Book, a National Petroleum Council member and managing director of ClearView Energy Partners, told the Daily Caller News Foundation.

“The White House was aware of these rising prices and concerned about them, and started taking steps towards intervention and created an expectation for intervention,” he continued. “So, even if the economic reality of five or maybe 10 cents a gallon of short term impact isn’t that big of a deal, doing nothing might look like a really big political problem.”

Book added that the release would have a minimal effect on oil prices, which had already declined over the last several weeks as reports of such a move became public. The price of oil is expected to decrease in the next couple of months due to normal seasonal market fluctuations, according to Book.

A Goldman Sachs report published last week echoed Book’s comments, arguing that tapping the SPR is a “short-term fix to a structural deficit” and was already priced-in to the market. Oil prices may even increase more than expected due to the move, the report concluded.

Biden even acknowledged that he doesn’t have a near-term fix for higher prices and that tapping reserves would barely have an effect during a CNN town hall in October. His administration has mulled an SPR release for months.

But, like Book, Chamber of Commerce Global Energy Institute Senior Vice President Christopher Guith said Tuesday that the White House should focus on long term policies rather than “ineffectual band aids.”

‘A cynical move’

Biden, meanwhile, has faced heavy criticism for his administration’s anti-fossil fuel actions, which include revoking the Keystone XL pipeline permit and banning new oil and gas leases on federal lands. While the president has set ambitious clean energy goals, gasoline prices have risen to their highest level in nearly a decade, government data showed.

Gas prices are tightly tied to the price of crude oil.

“This very temporary measure is not going to solve the supply issue at the pump nor is it a solution to gas prices that have doubled in the last year,” Michigan Rep. Fred Upton, the top Republican on a House energy subcommittee, told the DCNF.

The SPR was established in the 1970s as a tool to help the U.S. survive future energy crises where the global supply of oil dried up. The total inventory is estimated at around 604 million barrels of oil which is kept in deep underground storage caverns in Texas and Louisiana.

The last time the U.S. tapped the SPR was in 2011 when former President Barack Obama ordered a strategic release amid the Libyan civil war, a move that disrupted the Middle Eastern nation’s oil exports.

“President Biden’s policies are hiking inflation and energy prices for the American people,” Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee Ranking Member John Barrasso said in a statement. “Tapping the Strategic Petroleum Reserve will not fix the problem.”

“We are experiencing higher prices because the administration and Democrats in Congress are waging a war on American energy,” he continued.

Dan Kish, a senior fellow at the Institute for Energy Research, said the move was like someone eating everything from the pantry then “shooting the farmers.”

“This is a cynical move by a guy who’s done everything in his power to restrict production here at home and in North America,” Kish told the DCNF. “All the while watching Russia become our number two supplier of foreign oil.”

Kish noted that oil prices have increased since Biden announced the release, a sign that it would have little effect on gasoline prices.

Republican Whip Steve Scalise said the SPR is strictly for emergency purposes in response to a question from the DCNF during an October roundtable. If Biden wanted to lower prices, he would make it easier for firms to drill and construct domestic pipelines, the Louisiana Republican added.

“The SPR is not to be used as a piggy bank just to bail you out when your failed policies create higher gas prices,” Scalise said.

“The answer is very straightforward and it’s right under our feet,” he continued. “Instead of trying to drain what’s left of our reserves, we ought to be producing more energy and creating more jobs here in America to take leverage away from OPEC countries and to take leverage away from Russia.”

COLUMN BY

THOMAS CATENACCI

Energy and environment reporter. Follow Thomas on Twitter

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EDITORS NOTE: This Daily Caller column is republished with permission. ©All rights reserved. Content created by The Daily Caller News Foundation is available without charge to any eligible news publisher that can provide a large audience. For licensing opportunities of our original content, please contact licensing@dailycallernewsfoundation.org.

OUT OF GAS: What Does The Colonial Pipeline Shutdown Say About U.S. Defence Readiness?

On Friday, May 7, hackers attacked the computer systems of Colonial Pipeline, which operates a major gasoline pipeline that brings gasoline and jet fuel from Houston refineries up through the southeastern United States as far as New Jersey.  Out of concern that the hackers might have obtained data enabling them to do physical damage to their facilities, the pipeline operators shut the pipeline down while it was still under their control.

This may have saved the machinery from damage, but it produced a severe regional fuel shortage that affected everything from flights out of Atlanta to drivers’ vacation plans.  As of Sunday, May 16, the pipeline was fully restarted, but the ripple effects of the shutdown meant 88% of Washington, D. C. gas stations were out of gas at one point over the weekend.

This was a ransomware attack by a group calling itself DarkSide with reported links to Russia.  According to Bloomberg News, Colonial Pipeline paid DarkSide about $5 million in bitcoin for software to unlock their systems, only to find that it ran so slowly that they ended up restoring service without its help.

This is by far the most serious ransomware attack ever mounted on a U. S.-based facility, and should become a turning point in our response to this sort of attack.  Although I’ve stated the following position before in relation to other ransomware attacks, it bears repeating now that millions of people are going without gas, including many in Washington, D. C., and are presumably paying attention to the problem.

Article 4, Section 4 of the Constitution of the United States reads as follows, in full:

“The United States shall guarantee to every state in this Union a republican form of government, and shall protect each of them against invasion; and on application of the legislature, or of the executive (when the legislature cannot be convened) against domestic violence.”

The key word of present interest in this section is “invasion.”  An online law dictionary defines invasion as “[a]n encroachment upon the rights of another; the incursion of an army for conquest or plunder.”  The Constitution was written at a time when messages travelled fastest by horseback or sailing ship.  It is safe to say that the current technological facts of instant global Internet access to a domestic firm’s private infrastructure were not in the minds of the drafters of the Constitution.

But notions of justice and international relations were, and the drafters recognised that a federal government that could not successfully defend its constituent states against invasion, as defined above, was not worth organising.  So they put words in the Constitution that gave the federal government the responsibility of defending the states against invasion, and in Article 1, section 8, they also gave Congress the power to “provide for the calling forth the militia to execute the laws of the Union, suppress insurrections, and repel invasions.”  There’s that word “invasion” again.

Pardon what may look like a constitutional detour, but what happened to Colonial Pipeline this month amounts to invasion and plunder by agents of a foreign power.  The DarkSide criminals may not formally be agents of the Russian government, but they operate with its approval or at least without its hindrance.

Suppose a bunch of Canadians armed with tanks and machine guns charged across the Ambassador Bridge in Detroit and took over the headquarters of Ford Motor Company in Dearborn, Michigan, capturing their main computer centre and demanding $5 million in ransom to turn it loose.  This would quite properly be regarded as a foreign invasion, and no one would raise a finger to object to using whatever military force was necessary to repel such an invasion.

I submit that what happened to Colonial Pipeline is morally equivalent to my hypothetical invasion by Canadians.  The technological details are different, but the responsibility of the US government to defend those within its borders from invasion and plunder is something that the Founders intended it to do.

So what has the federal government in fact done?  Hardly anything — a few warnings not to try keeping gasoline in plastic bags, a few adjustments of shipping regulations to allow more ships to land gasoline from abroad, and that’s about it.

There is a well-known saying that generals always prepare for the last war, not the one they’re fighting now.  And that is certainly true in this case.  According to one source, the U. S. military has over 200,000 troops stationed abroad in over 170 countries.  The vast majority of these are conventional soldiers ready to shoot bullets and drop bombs, and certainly, bullets and bombs haven’t gone out of fashion.  But among the more advanced criminal element, it’s much more chic to keep your fingers clean while typing code that will shut down half of the gasoline going to the U. S. East Coast, and make $5 million in exchange for some software that doesn’t even work.

Congress is reportedly drafting legislation to do something about this sort of thing.  That is where the process should start, but it’s clear that a vast reorganisation and re-prioritising of the entire domestic and foreign military establishment is called for.  Cyberwarfare is where it’s at now.  Metaphorically speaking, the Canadians have been rioting through the entire country for years now, and all we have done is have vague discussions about the future of military combat.  Don’t people get it?  It’s happening now.  The fact that nobody was killed in the Colonial hack is due more to the foresight of the pipeline operators than to anyone else, as an out-of-control pipeline can do unimaginable amounts of damage.

But private companies should not have to shoulder by themselves the burden of protecting their facilities against foreign invasion and plunder.  That’s one of the most basic services of the federal government, and so far it is failing miserably in its job.

The gasoline shortage Washington now enjoys has fallen equally on Republicans and Democrats.  We can only hope that they will unite to make major lasting changes in the structure and priorities of the U. S. military so that we can once more be secure in our persons and property against the depredations of foreign invasion, including ransomware attacks.

This article has been republished with permission from Engineering Ethics.

COLUMN BY

Karl D. Stephan

Karl D. Stephan received the B. S. in Engineering from the California Institute of Technology in 1976. Following a year of graduate study at Cornell, he received the Master of Engineering degree in 1977… More by Karl D. Stephan

EDITORS NOTE: This MercatorNet column is republished with permission. ©All rights reserved.

Is Cheap Gas a Bad Thing? by Randal O’Toole

Remember peak oil? Remember when oil prices were $140 a barrel and Goldman Sachs predicted they would soon reach $200? Now, the latest news is that oil prices have gone up all the way to $34 a barrel. Last fall, Goldman Sachs predicted prices would fall to $20 a barrel, which other analysts argued was “no better than its prior predictions,” but in fact they came a lot closer to that than to $200.

Low oil prices generate huge economic benefits. Low prices mean increased mobility, which means increased economic productivity. The end result, says Bank of America analyst Francisco Blanch, is “one of the largest transfers of wealth in human history” as $3 trillion remain in consumers’ pockets rather than going to the oil companies. I wouldn’t call this a “wealth transfer” so much as a reduction in income inequality, but either way, it is a good thing.

Naturally, some people hate the idea of increased mobility from lower fuel prices. “Cheap gas raises fears of urban sprawl,” warns NPR. Since “urban sprawl” is a made-up problem, I’d have to rewrite this as, “Cheap gas raises hopes of urban sprawl.” The only real “fear” is on the part of city officials who want everyone to pay taxes to them so they can build stadiums, light-rail lines, and other useless urban monuments.

A more cogent argument is made by UC Berkeley sustainability professor Maximilian Auffhammer, who argues that “gas is too cheap” because current prices fail to cover all of the external costs of driving. He cites what he calls a “classic paper” that calculates the external costs of driving to be $2.28 per gallon. If that were true, then one approach would be to tax gasoline $2.28 a gallon and use the revenues to pay those external costs.

The only problem is that most of the so-called external costs aren’t external at all but are paid by highway users. The largest share of calculated costs, estimated at $1.05 a gallon, is the cost of congestion. This is really a cost of bad planning, not gasoline. Either way, the cost is almost entirely paid by people in traffic consuming that gasoline.

The next largest cost, at 63 cents a gallon, is the cost of accidents. Again, this is partly a cost of bad planning: remember how fatality rates dropped nearly 20 percent between 2007 and 2009, largely due to the reduction in congestion caused by the recession? This decline could have taken place years before if cities had been serious about relieving congestion rather than ignoring it. In any case, most of the cost of accidents, like the other costs of congestion, are largely internalized by the auto drivers through insurance.

The next-largest cost, pegged at 42 cents per gallon, is “local pollution.” While that is truly an external cost, it is also rapidly declining as shown in figure 1 of the paper. According to EPA data, total vehicle emissions of most pollutants have declined by more than 50 percent since the numbers used in this 2006 report. Thus, the 42 cents per gallon is more like 20 cents per gallon and falling fast. [Ed. note: And pollution is also mostly due to congestion.]

At 12 cents a gallon, the next-largest cost is “oil dependency,” which the paper defines as exposing “the economy to energy price volatility and price manipulation” that “may compromise national security and foreign policy interests.” That problem, which was questionable in the first place, seems to have gone away thanks to the resurgence of oil production within the United States, which has made other oil producers, such as Saudi Arabia, more dependent on us than we are on them.

Finally, at a mere 6 cents per gallon, is the cost of greenhouse gas emissions. If you believe this is a cost, it will decline when measured as a cost per mile as cars get more fuel efficient under the current CAFE standards. But it should remain fixed as a cost per gallon as burning a gallon of gasoline will always produce a fixed amount of greenhouse gases.

In short, rather than $2.38 per gallon, the external cost of driving is closer to around 26 cents per gallon. Twenty cents of this cost is steadily declining as cars get cleaner and all of it is declining when measured per mile as cars get more fuel-efficient.

It’s worth noting that, though we are seeing an increase in driving due to low fuel prices, the amount of driving we do isn’t all that sensitive to fuel prices. Real gasoline prices doubled between 2000 and 2009, yet per capita driving continued to grow until the recession began. Prices have fallen by 50 percent in the last six months or so, yet the 3 or 4 percent increase in driving may be as much due to increased employment as to more affordable fuel.

This means that, though there may be some externalities from driving, raising gas taxes and creating government slush funds with the revenues is not the best way of dealing with those externalities. I’d feel differently if I felt any assurance that government would use those revenues to actually fix the externalities, but that seems unlikely. I actually like the idea of tradeable permits best, but short of that the current system of ever-tightening pollution controls seems to be working well at little cost to consumers and without threatening the economic benefits of increased mobility.

This post first appeared at Cato.org.

Randal O’TooleRandal O’Toole

Randal O’Toole is a Cato Institute Senior Fellow working on urban growth, public land, and transportation issues.

Florida must become energy independent by 2020

What will promote human life? What will promote human flourishing — realizing the full potential of life? How do we maximize the years in our life and the life in our years? Answer: cheap and reliable power.

Organic Fossil Fuels are the Lifeblood of Civilization!

Florida’s Governor, Congressional delegation and state legislature must make it their number 1 priority to make the Sunshine State Energy Independent by 2020 or sooner!

Florida:

  1. Imports all of its natural gas and 99.9 % of its oil.
  2. Imports all of its refined petroleum based products (e.g. gasoline).
  3. Is the second largest user of natural gas, Texas being the largest.

According to the U.S. Energy Information Administration:

  1. Geologists believe there may be large oil and natural gas deposits in the federal Outer Continental Shelf off of Florida’s western coast.
  2. Florida was second only to Texas in 2014 in net electricity generation from natural gas, which accounted for 61% of Florida’s net generation; coal accounted for almost 23%, the state’s nuclear power plants accounted for 12%, and other resources, including renewable energy, supplied the remaining electricity generation.
  3. Renewable energy accounted for 2.3% of Florida’s total net electricity generation in 2014, and the state ranked 10th in the nation in net generation from utility-scale solar energy.
  4. In part because of high air conditioning use during the hot summer months and the widespread use of electricity for home heating during the winter months, Florida’s retail electricity sales to the residential sector were second in the nation after Texas in 2014.
  5. Electricity accounts for 90% of the site energy consumed by Florida households, and the annual electricity expenditures of $1,900 are 40% higher than the U.S. average, according to EIA’s Residential Energy Consumption Survey.

Even as human populations have grown dramatically and increased their use of fossil fuels, the world has become a much better place.

As CO2 emissions have risen so too have the GDP per person, life expectancy and the population.

Florida politicians are addicted to the precautionary principle (“better safe than sorry”). It is a maxim embraced by government planners and regulators in the Sunshine state at every level. They do not even want to determine what organic fossil fuels lay off of Florida’s coastlines. The precautionary principle worked to stop the building of nuclear power plants in the United States after the 3 Mile Island incident. Today the same tactic is being used to stop off shore drilling using the Deepwater Horizon incident.

Off shore drilling naysayers use the example of the Deepwater Horizon spill to strike fear into the hearts of Floridians. But as FDR said, “The only thing we have to fear is fear itself.”  An example of using the fear factor (precautionary principle) is what happened in Japan following the meltdown of a nuclear power plan in Fukushima. The facts are that no one has died from radiation, nor has cancer increased however, 1,600 did die of stress due to the unnecessary evacuation of people from the area.

Fear kills.

What off shore naysayers, fear mongers, don’t tell you is that mother nature is the greatest polluter in the Gulf of Mexico. According to NOAA over 2,500 barrels of oil naturally seeps daily from fissures in the Gulf. This seeping has been going on for tens of thousands of years, yet the Gulf is doing just fine. Would it not be better to capture this oil, and natural gas, than have it continue to seep into the Gulf?

Some argue that even if natural gas is discovered in Florida’s waters that building an on shore natural gas processing plant is not economically feasible or politically doable. There is an answer to this negative with a positive via new technology. Israel is faced with the same concerns about onshore natural gas processing plants. To solve the problem Nobel Energy and Shell Oil have come up with a solution. Process the natural gas using floating plants. According to Robert Sullivan of the New York Times:

It’s called Prelude, and it’s bigger than big. More than 530 yards long and 80 yards wide, it was constructed with 260,000 metric tons of steel, more than was used in the entire original World Trade Center complex, and it’s expected to displace 600,000 metric tons of water, or as much as six aircraft carriers. Even the paint job is huge: Most big vessels dry-dock every five years for a new coat, but Prelude’s paint is supposed to last 25 years. It will produce more natural gas than Hong Kong needs in a year. And it’s so big that you can’t really photograph it, at least not all at once.

[ … ]

What makes this giant liquefied-natural-gas enterprise feasible, paradoxically enough, is the miniaturization its construction represents. It’s much smaller than landlocked equivalents — imagine shrinking your local refinery until it fits on a barge. Shell Oil, which has the biggest stake in the project, describes Prelude as more environmentally friendly than an onshore site. There are no estuaries under threat, no shorelines to run pipe across and reduced risks to population centers, given the explosiveness of natural gas. And it is designed to ride out extreme weather, thanks to three giant 6,700-horsepower thrusters that can turn it into the wind and waves. “These are the things that the naval architects had to worry through,” says Robert Bea, co-founder of the Center for Catastrophic Risk Management, at the University of California, Berkeley. “It works like a big-ass weather vane.”

Read more.

Environmentalists use the fear factor when talking about drilling for natural gas and oil off of Florida’s shores. The same is true for some of Florida’s Congressional delegation, such as Rep. Vern Buchanan. Fear is not good public policy.

What is good public policy is insuring that Floridians have access to cheap and reliable power in the foreseeable future. Now it the time to take action. Waiting is not an option.

If Governor Rick Scott and Republicans are committed to creating jobs, then they must diversify the economy by promoting energy independence. Energy independence will lead to reduced costs for electricity, gasoline and diversify the economy. That is good public policy.

RELATED ARTICLE: Miami-Dade County school district accepts BP oil spill settlement, sets maximum tax rate

Higher Gas Prices Add to Economic Slump

Courtesy of the Heritage Foundation:

Unemployment is at 8.3 percent. The economy is sputtering at 1.5 percent growth. Food prices are rising due to drought conditions across the country. And gas prices are up again, pinching Americans’ summer budgets. It is past time for the President and Congress to pursue smart policies that would put us on a path to relief.

According to AAA’s Fuel Gauge Report, the current national average for regular is $3.66 per gallon. That’s up 28 cents per gallon from a month ago, and July had its biggest price jump since AAA started tracking prices in 2000. To see the average for Florida click here.

There are many factors affecting prices that we cannot control—worldwide tensions, especially in the Middle East, can drive up oil prices. Global demand, especially from China and India’s rapidly growing economies, continues upward.

But after three years of adding regulatory hurdles and blocking exploratory access and development, President Obama’s policies are helping keep prices higher than necessary.

If the President truly wanted to lower gas prices, he would work to increase supply. But when given the opportunity, he has done the opposite. He turned down the Keystone XL pipeline, which would bring up to 830,000 barrels of oil per day from Canada. His Administration has made it even harder for companies to explore and extract domestic energy resources by canceling, delaying, or withdrawing a number of lease sales for exploration and development. Meanwhile, huge swaths of federal lands have been put off limits for energy exploration.

Domestic refinery outages have had a recent impact on gas prices. Two of the factors holding back domestic energy production are regulatory red tape and litigation—and these, we can do something about. As Heritage’s Nicolas Loris notes:

Environmental activists delay new energy projects by filing endless administrative appeals and lawsuits. Creating a manageable time frame for permitting and for groups or individuals to contest energy plans would keep potentially cost-effective ventures from being tied up for years in litigation while allowing the public and interested parties to voice opposition or support for these projects.

We don’t have to stand still. Congress could alleviate the energy crunch in 10 different ways by taking action on things we can control, like restrictions on oil shale development and offshore drilling.

One of the most common objections is that increasing domestic oil production takes too long and would not impact the market for at least a decade. The longer people make this argument, however, the longer it will take. The sooner we make investments in domestic energy, the sooner those benefits will be realized. And with some serious reforms, some of this oil can reach the market in much less than a decade.

Gas prices aren’t under the control of any one President. But Americans shouldn’t settle for policies that restrict oil exploration, refining, and production and artificially drive prices higher.

MORE FROM THE HERITAGE FOUNDATION:

High Gas Prices: Obama’s Half-Truths vs. Reality

President Obama’s 10 Worst Energy Policies