A rebuttal is in order to John Peterson's Times Observer article regarding U.S. energy policy on March 19.
Firstly, President Obama did not push the gasoline prices up by deciding on a Gulf drilling moratorium last year. The moratorium was set to protect citizens from unsafe, tainted seafood after the BP spill of 2010.
Gasoline prices often increase just before holidays like Thanksgiving and Memorial Day when more people are on the highways. The oil companies in America and abroad are making HUGE profits as is shown with BP able to establish a $20 billion fund to compensate victims of the Gulf of Mexico spill thanks to the demand of our President. This year the unrest in Libya and other Middle-Eastern nations which provide oil to the world has caused the uptick of oil on the stock market to $104 a barrel as I write. Many countries internationally are uncertain of the status of current oil production and delivery.
President Obama stated a willingness for off-shore drilling as a compromise last yearthen came BP in the Gulf of Mexico.
February 2010 President Obama, with an eye to reducing our dependence on foreign oil, announced more than $8 billion in future federal loan guarantees for nuclear energy expansion projectsnow the Fukushima Dai-ichi nuclear danger in Japan after their devastating earthquake and tsunami is making the world rethink this form of energy.
Of huge concern to me was "Climate Change" and the "environment" were phrases not used by Mr. Peterson in the entire feature.
February 8, 2011 Vice President Biden announced a six-year, $53 billion proposal to expand high-speed rail in America. This Obama administration plan would create jobs building infrastructure, save gasoline, reduce traffic congestion, provide commuter transportation and give travel options for the retiring baby boomers.
In mid-February Transportation Secretary LaHood announced the recommendation by the Obama administration of $12.9 million in federal construction money (jobs, jobs, jobs) for a Rapid Transit project in Grand Rapids, Michigan as part of a $3.2 billion capital spending proposal for more than 2 dozen transit projects across the country in fiscal 2012.
Energy Innovation Hubs have been proposed for the future to gather our top scientists and engineers to achieve breakthroughs in technology to meet our upcoming energy and climate challenges.
Half of the Department of Energy's Fiscal Year 2012 $29.5 billion budget request, according to Energy Secretary Chu, supports loan guarantees for renewable and energy-efficient technologies, research and development of renewable energy methods and the modernization of the electric grid. This too would create jobs, help reduce our dependence on oil by developing the next generation of biofuels and accelerate electric vehicle research.
Appointment of GE's CEO Jeffrey Immelt as chairman of the Council on Jobs and Competitiveness is a positive sign for input on job creation and environmental concern as he is an advocate. Since GE produces components for wind turbines, advanced battery technology and train engines, perhaps his expertise will lead in a positive direction to high speed rail.
More and more government officials like Senators Kerry and Lieberman are realizing, with military input, that over-reliance on foreign oil is a national security issue of the first degree.
At the beginning of March, with Big Oil raking in record profits, House Democrats offered a Motion to Recommit by ending taxpayer-funded subsidies to large oil companies. Removing these subsidies would have saved tens of billions of dollars of our tax money over ten years. Rep. William Keating (D-MA) made the motion and Republicans voted unanimously against it 176-249 -defeating it.
So I believe there is currently a workable energy plan and initiative by the Obama administration and some members of Congress. It will take the input of American scientists and engineers and reaching consensus across the aisles of Congress. American ingenuity can lead the way with jobs increasing exponentially in the coming years. Efficiency and new technologies hold the promise for reducing greenhouse gases and solving the climate change global challenge. We Americans can lead the way as models of energy conservation and sell our inventions to the world particularly in China, India and African nations where they are progressing toward more use of fossil fuels.