On Thursday, Representative Raymond Cravaack (R-MN-08) reminded his followers on FACEBOOK that :
The House has taken action on the construction of the Keystone XL pipeline four times to address rising energy costs and job creation.
Very interesting … but did you know that between 2009 and 2011, the United States experienced three consecutive years of crude oil production increases for the first time since the early 1980s, as well as the largest surge in output within a three year period since the late 1960s … but Mr. Cravaack wants it to be known that the Republican-managed House has approved construction of Keystone XL pipeline so that TransCanada can move its product from Canada through Midwestern states to refining facilities for potential export overseas.
But what Mr. Cravaack fails to inform his followers is that on Wednesday, May 9, the Congressional Budget Office issued a report regarding oil policies … from the summary :
Policies that promoted greater production of oil in the United States would probably not protect U.S. consumers from sudden worldwide increases in oil prices stemming from supply disruptions elsewhere in the world, even if increased production lowered the world price of oil on an ongoing basis. In fact, such lower prices would encourage greater use of oil, thus making consumers more vulnerable to increases in oil prices. Even if the United States increased production and became a net exporter of oil, U.S. consumers would still be exposed to gasoline prices that rose and fell in response to disruptions around the world.
In contrast, policies that reduced the use of oil and its products would create an incentive for consumers to use less oil or make decisions that reduced their exposure to higher oil prices in the future, such as purchasing more fuel-efficient vehicles or living closer to work. Such policies would impose costs on vehicle users (in the case of fuel taxes or fuel-efficiency requirements) or taxpayers (in the case of subsidies for alternative fuels or for new vehicle technologies). But the resulting decisions would make consumers less vulnerable to increases in oil prices.
Hmmm … CBO is confirming what informed voters already know … US oil production is up … prices are determined on a world market … Iraq and Brazil are increasing production … Iran sanctions and speculators are moving prices higher … and US consumers are paying more.
The while the goal of “energy independence” has merits, a recent report form the Energy Security Leadership Council (which includes retired four-star generals and admirals as well as industry leaders) refutes the notion that the United States can drill its way to energy independence.
Even if the U.S. were able to produce 100 percent of its own oil, we would still not have control over prices for one simple reason: “oil prices are determined in a global market.” As a result, a nation’s vulnerability to high or volatile oil prices isn’t affected by what fraction of oil it imports. All that matters is how much oil that nation consumes. Or, as the report puts it, “rising domestic oil production will not achieve a long-term domestic price advantage in oil.”
Based on this information, it’s clear that the key to unlocking our nation’s energy security isn’t increased domestic production, but rather decreased domestic consumption. Or, again in the words of the report, “the long-term goal of energy security policy must be to break petroleum’s stranglehold on the transportation sector.”
So while Mr. Cravaack wants to remind his followers that the Republican-controlled House is pushing Keystone, drivers from “Hockey Moms” to lunchbox-toting workers to small businesses owners all the way to the Chamber of Commerce, voters are upset that Mr. Cravaack and his fellow House conservatives have blocked progress on a long-term transportation funding bill.
As Michelle Hirsch wrote in The Fiscal Times,
Standard & Poor’s, which downgraded the U.S. credit rating last August after the government came close to defaulting on its debt, is now warning that another credit crisis could occur unless the government adequately funds long-term transportation and infrastructure spending.
In a new report, the major credit rating agency, which called highway, bridge and other transportation projects “the backbone of the U.S. economy,” raised concern that Congress has yet to pass a permanent extension of the U.S. highway spending bill.
A survey by The Fiscal Times of state transportation officials found that in the wake of the latest congressional action, states are putting many of their major long-term projects on the backburner while focusing on basic repairs of dilapidated roads and bridges.
Serge Phillips, federal relations manager for the Minnesota Department of Transportation, complained that his state has been in a holding pattern on federal aid for two years, and is worried about how much longer this uncertainty will continue. “We’re trying to problem-solve, to look at things statewide, continuing to protect public safety with repairs and provide for mobility and work on congestion,” Phillips said. “That doesn’t go away. Those are things we can’t compromise on. We’re trying to get by.”
Mr. Cravaack, it’s time to quit wasting time pumping Republican talking points on FACEBOOK using short-term transportation funding … anything other than a five-year funding plan will be a FAILURE … Keystone may bring some jobs to Nebraska but Minnesota has needs that are being ignored.