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Timely Death: Climate Bill's Demise Opens Next Energy Debate
June 18, 2008

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Timely death: Climate Bill's demise opens next energy debate

The Oklahoman Editorial  - June 18, 2008

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Timing is everything. Democrats in the U.S. Senate couldn't have picked a worse time for the recent debate on a global warming bill that would've raised prices on gasoline and other energy sources while lopping billions off America's economic output for decades to come.

Americans might not understand the intricacies of the proposed cap-and-trade system to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, but they know $4-a-gallon gas and no doubt felt that those in Washington proposing legislation to kick those prices even higher had lost their minds.

When the key vote arrived on the so-called Lieberman-Warner bill, the floor manager, Sen. Barbara Boxer of California, couldn't scare up 50 votes. Members of the Senate are political creatures first, and they know how to duck and cover when there's a roll-call tally on bad legislation.

Credit Sen. Jim Inhofe, R-Tulsa, for leading the opposition effort. During a similar debate a few years ago, Inhofe had trouble getting much help from his friends. More than 20 Republicans joined the debate to underscore Lieberman-Warner's folly
owing to the current energy picture and Inhofe's personal tenacity.

While we celebrate Lieberman-Warner's timely death, let's hope it catalyzes efforts to change foolish policies that are keeping billions of barrels of U.S. oil unavailable to mitigate the current situation. If anyone is responsible for America's inability to buffer itself against oil price shocks, it's those who have blocked drilling in remote Alaska and offshore for the past two decades.

The United States is late, very late, in using its own resources
but not too late. At a House energy hearing last week Adam Sieminski, Deutsche Bank's chief energy economist, said the mere announcement that Alaska and the outer continental shelf would be tapped in the near future would have a profound effect on current oil prices.There's no excuse for not acting. Sen. John McCain, the presumptive Republican presidential nominee, has been wrong on this issue, but this week said he now favors opening the outer continental shelf for drilling. Better late than never in joining Inhofe and others in getting America's energy resources on line as every other nation on the planet already is doing.

Democrats will be hard-pressed to keep saying no to more supply, as they have for years. Gasoline prices have risen from $2.33 a gallon to more than $4 a gallon on their congressional watch.

We sense they will be held accountable. As The Wall Street Journal's Daniel Henninger wrote in a column last week, "someone needs to explain to them (Americans) why we and we alone are sitting on an ocean of energy but won't drill for it."

The argument is about as compelling as it gets.





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