Ed Driscoll

Who's Up For Some Serious Pestilence, Smiting and High Energy Prices?

Good King Barack — he won’t lower your gas prices….

With the national average of gas prices hitting $3.65 a gallon, nearing $6 in some parts of the country, and poised to head even higher, America’s families are wondering when the bleeding at the pump will stop. But for Secretary of Energy Stephen Chu, those steep prices aren’t even a concern. In fact, he says his goal is not to get the price of gasoline to go down.

Chu delivered those stunning remarks in testimony before Congress yesterday. When Rep. Alan Nunnelee (R-Miss.) asked Chu whether it’s his “overall goal to get our price” of gasoline lower, Chu said, “No, the overall goal is to decrease our dependency on oil, to build and strengthen our economy.”

As shocking as his remarks are, they shouldn’t come as a surprise. Chu has a long record of advocating for higher gas prices. In 2008, he stated, “Somehow we have to figure out how to boost the price of gasoline to the levels in Europe.” Last March, he reiterated his point in an interview with Fox News’ Chris Wallace, noting that his focus is to ease the pain felt by his energy policies by forcing automakers to make more fuel-efficient automobiles. “What I’m doing since I became Secretary of Energy has been quite clear. What I have been doing is developing methods to take the pain out of high gas prices.”

One of those methods is dumping taxpayer dollars into alternative energy projects like the Solyndra solar plant. Another is subsidizing the purchase of high-cost electric cars like the Chevy Volt to the tune of $7,500 per car (which the White House wants to increase to $10,000). In both cases, those methods aren’t working. Solyndra went bankrupt because its product couldn’t bear the weight of market pressures, and Chevy Volts aren’t selling, even with taxpayer-funded rebates. What’s the president’s next plan? Harvesting “a bunch of algae” as a replacement for oil.

Meanwhile, the Obama Administration is seemingly doing everything it can to make paying for energy even more painful by refusing to open access to the country’s oil and gas reserves and blocking new projects that would lead to the development of more energy in America. Case in point: the president’s decision to say “no” to the Keystone XL pipeline, a project that would have delivered hundreds of thousands of barrels of oil from Canada to Texas refineries, while bringing thousands of jobs along with it.

….But he will bring a fair amount of pestilence and smiting to your land:

I’ve called the judicially-imposed drought in California’s Central Valley “the Dust Bowl Congress created” through its creation of the Endangered Species Act, invoked in this case by the Delta smelt, a fish that’s not suitable for eating…This first came to light more than two years ago, when Sean Hannity featured it on his national television show.  The delay in addressing it makes the financial situation worse with each passing day for farmers in the Valley, and for workers who now have to subsist on government handouts rather than earnings from productive jobs.

If Barack Obama has his way, though, that situation will continue indefinitely.  Late yesterday, the White House announced that Obama would veto Nunes’ bill because — I am not making this up — it would “unravel decades of work” on California water regulations … decades of work that brought California’s Central Valley to its current destruction:

The Administration strongly opposes H.R. 1837, the Sacramento-San Joaquin Valley Water Reliability Act because the bill would unravel decades of work to forge consensus, solutions, and settlements that equitably address some of California’s most complex water challenges.

H.R. 1837 would undermine five years of collaboration between local, State, and Federal stakeholders to develop the Bay-Delta Conservation Plan.  It would codify 20-year old, outdated science as the basis for managing California’s water resources, resulting in inequitable treatment of one group of water users over another.  And, contrary to 100 years of reclamation law that exhibits congressional deference to State water law, the bill would preempt California water law.

The bill also would reject the long-standing principle that beneficiaries should pay both the cost of developing water supplies and of mitigating any resulting development impacts, and would exacerbate current water shortages by repealing water pricing reforms that provide incentives for contractors to conserve water supplies.

Finally, H.R. 1837 would repeal the San Joaquin River Settlement Agreement, which the Congress enacted to resolve 18 years of contentious litigation.  Repeal of the settlement agreement would likely result in the resumption of costly litigation, creating an uncertain future for river restoration and water delivery operations for all water users on the San Joaquin River.

The Administration strongly supports efforts to provide a more reliable water supply for California and to protect, restore, and enhance the overall quality of the Bay-Delta environment.  The Administration has taken great strides toward achieving these co-equal goals through a coordinated Federal Action Plan, which has strengthened collaboration between Federal agencies and the State of California while achieving solid results.  Unfortunately, H.R. 1837 would undermine these efforts and the progress that has been made.  For this reason, were the Congress to pass H.R. 1837, the President’s senior advisors would recommend that he veto the bill.

And woe betide the business who doesn’t support him:

To paraphrase Mel Brooks, it’s good to pretend to be the king. At least until November.

Related: “Hey, Remember When Barack Obama Promised an Energy Plan that Would Reduce Dependence on Foreign Oil?”