Americans for Prosperity’s $6.1 million dollar media campaign has taken no prisoners concerning its message to President Obama to stop tanking America. It has forced the Obama campaign to respond to them twice this year concerning the administration’s record of wasteful spending, exporting jobs overseas and its nonsensical commitment to clean energy initiatives, which led to the Solyndra fiasco.
However, AFP isn’t just hitting the airwaves to spread their message. They have organized various town-hall events and rallies to energize the grassroots support and the conservative base of the Republican Party in key states like Virginia and Florida where energy issues are a highly salient issue. I was fortunate to attend the McLean rally last Wednesday night, despite the inclement weather, which was well attended with two great guest speakers, Robin Millican and Alexandra Liddy Bourne, from The Institute for Energy Research and The American Energy Freedom Center who detailed the failure of clean energy initiatives and the costs that are driving gas prices sky high.
Ms. Millican, Policy Director for the Institute for Energy Research, reiterated the administration’s policy of picking and choosing winners and losers in this economy. More disturbingly, were her comments about the Department of Defense that signed a $12 million dollar contract with two biofuel companies to produce 450,000 gallons of the advanced liquid. It comes out to $26 a gallon, but once blended with traditional fuel, it will be more like $15 a gallon. This ludicrous expenditure is grounded in the words of Navy Secretary Ray Mabus who said “We are doing this for one simple reason: It makes us better fighters…our use of fossil fuels is a very real threat to our national security and to the U.S. Navy ability to protect America and project power overseas.” I’m sure the environmental left wanted to give him a nice kiss on the cheek with a box of chocolates, but as Millican pointed out, the federal government has a portion of land in Alaska called the Naval Petroleum Reserve which is specifically set aside to meet the energy demands of the military. Yet, we are going to pay companies to make fuel for our armed forces that is four times more expensive than standard fuel.
Ms. Millican also delivered some remarks about the the $500 million dollar loan allocated to Solyndra. A company principally financed by George Kaiser who was also a huge bundler for the Obama campaign in 2008. In all, big government breed corruption, crony capitalism, and dependency. She aptly pointed out that these subsidies are not meant to better society, but are goodie bags to the politically connected. She says “look no further than a government funded program that relies on a stamp of approval from a group of unelected bureaucrats who have no technical experience.” The process in determining which system maximizes efficiency is not rigorous and comes down to nothing more than corporate welfare. Continuing on the waste this administration has incurred due to its quest for clean energy initiatives, Millican detailed the Section 1603 program that has allocated $20 billion dollars in cash payment, not loans that need to be repaid, to companies that install solar, wind and geothermal properties. Congress want to extend this program for an additional year at the tune of $3 billion dollars.
Relating to AFP’s media campaign, Ms. Millican discussed the $529 million dollar loan to Fisker which produced the $100,000 dollar Karma automobile that is principally made in Finland. Is this investing in America? Ms. Millican astutely pointed out that renewables only constitute 1.5% of our entire energy consumption, but get the majority share of the funds allocated from Congress. Wind is two times more expensive as traditional coal and solar is three times more expensive and dithering from this administration to accept more traditional forms of energy are hitting fixed and lower income households the most. Lastly, we should follow Europe on this front. Europe is desperate to cut subsidies for clean energy. In Spain, for every one green job created, 2.2 jobs were lost. Does that sound sustainable?
Alexandra Liddy Bourne of The American Energy Freedom Center detailed the paradoxes of American energy policy stating we’re the third largest producer of oil, yet we import 51% mainly to be utilized for transportation. She stated how the ethanol mandate has made gas prices increase due to the fact that our pipeline infrastructure cannot transport ethanol to every part of the country. We need to ship it or put in on trains to get it to their respective destinations. The current mandate, E10, states that gas must have 10% ethanol blended in the fuel. The EPA want to increase it to 15%, which has the oil and car companies going ballistic due to the fact that any car made before 2007 will be ruined since ethanol pulls all the dirt and impurities into the gasoline, therefore, destroying the engine. You’ll be spending more time in the garage than on the road if this mandate is enacted next year. Hence, Americans would have to buy a new car to accommodate the mandate. Is this looking after the middle class Mr. President?
Furthermore, Ms. Bourne refuted the claim that oil companies were the enemy in this fight. Ninety-five percent of the oil is owned by nation-states and gas companies only make a 9% profit at the end of the day. A vast majority of the cost does rest on the price of crude oil, but 14% of the cost rests with local, state and federal taxes on gasoline. This source of price creep that could be tackled immediately by reducing the taxes, but the administration has balked at that suggestion. The Obama administration has continued to fund money to subsidize solar, wind, and alternative fuels with their accompanying jobs being shipped to Mexico, China, and Finland.
In all, both speakers detailed the intransigent regulatory policy this administration is placing on our energy needs. From recommending new mandates, creating new federal boards for land oil exploration/fracking, and wasteful investments with less traditional forms of energy, the Obama administration is stalling our recovery. Ms. Bourne insightfully stated that the cornerstone of our recovery will rest with the ability for our businesses to transport goods and accumulate wealth. With high energy prices, that process is stunted. As a result, we have an anemic recovery.