Environmentalists are to blame

Published 12:00 am Friday, June 13, 2008

Everyone knows the bad old oil companies are to blame for the huge escalation of gasoline prices. Those greedy, self-serving rich guys have bought favoritism in Washington and are now using their influence to gouge the public, right?

Wrong! The truth is more complicated than simplistic finger pointing, but it’s not rocket science. Let’s look at the real contributing factors.

First, who is responsible for the ban on expanded drilling, the ban on new refineries, and the ban on nuclear generating plants? The self-proclaimed “environmentalists,” that is who. These extremists have used spurious claims of environmental Armageddon to bully and frighten Congress into supporting their catastrophic agendas. The predictable results of this legislation are declining domestic oil production, a shortage of plants capable of refining sour crude (most of OPEC’s production), and an increased dependence on fossil fuel for power generation.

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The inevitable impact of these inadequacies is an increase of oil imports. The United States must now compete with the rest of the world for critical supplies, most of which come from sources hostile to our way of life (e.g. OPEC and Argentina). What does this reliance do to the price of gas? Look at the pump.

The second problem is related to the first problem. The dollar is declining in value vis a vie world currency. This trend is caused by unchecked Congressional spending, and, to a significant degree, by the huge outflow of cash to pay for oil imports. It now takes $1.20 to buy $1 worth of foreign goods, including oil.

The third contributor to the high cost of crude is not directly related to supply/demand. The volatility of oil prices on the world market has caused Futures Trading to increase significantly. Speculators are buying and selling unprecedented amounts of crude oil. This process exacerbates the problem because betting on price increases in a Bull Market drives up costs. It has been estimated by oil marketing groups that the buying and selling of futures contracts, not actual products, contributes up to $50 to the price of a barrel of crude.

Blaming the current crisis in the gasoline market on the oil companies is counterproductive. They do not cause it and they cannot solve it. We need to look at the source, which is irrefutably the U.S. Congress. They passed the laws that led to dependency on foreign oil. They allowed the New York speculators to adversely impact prices. Congress sets fiscal policies that cause inflation and devaluation of the dollar. We, the people, must understand the problem and lay the blame where it belongs: The House of Representatives and the Senate of the United States of America. Please contact your representative in Washington, D.C., about taking control of our energy future. We must stop the spiraling cost of crude and only they can do it.