In this State of the Union, President Obama said our nation more energy independent staying we were #1 in oil and gas production and trumpeted US gains in solar and wind energy. He said the sudden drop in gasoline prices would save the average American family over $700. Yet, lurking behind the $2 a gallon gas price is proof that we have made little progress in breaking our “addiction to imported oil,” described by President Bush in his 2006 State of the Union speech.
The euphoria was almost palpable as motorists filled up at their fuel stations with gas prices under $3 a gallon. Even the usual cynical media was giddy over the sudden and unexplained drop in energy costs. The precipitous drop in oil prices was related to the increase in domestic fuel production praised by the President, but not in the way you might think. The Renewable Fuel Standard has forced the US oil industry to blend more ethanol into our fuel supply. This, combined with new sources of domestic oil production from tar sands and fracking, has indeed lessened our dependence on imported oil. So what did the leaders of OPEC do in response? They opened the valves and flooded the market with cheap oil.
So far their strategy is working. The frackers are shutting down, oil fields around the US are laying off oil workers by the thousands, and ethanol producers are seeing profits decline. Once again, like a transatlantic marionette, the US economy moves to the strings being held by the leaders of Saudi Arabia, the largest oil producer in OPEC. What is truly scary is that, either by ignorance or design, our President is playing into the hands of OPEC and strengthening their hold on the US economy.
Not only has the Obama administration been dragging its feet on allowing more renewable energy to be used in the nation’s fuel supply, they are taking steps to give foreign energy producers greater and easier access to the US market. The EPA has approved an application by Argentina to import more biodiesel into the US. This was done over the vigorous objections of US soybean producers who supply soybeans to the biodiesel market. “This decision by EPA on Argentinian biodiesel shows a lack of coordination and alarming tone-deafness regarding the purposes of the Renewable Fuels Standard,” said ASA President and Brownfield, Texas, farmer Wade Cowan. “EPA has put the interests of our foreign competitors above those of soybean farmers here in the U.S. At this point, we can only scratch our heads and wonder what EPA’s priorities are when it comes to the domestic renewable fuels industry.”
In addition to his threatened veto of the Keystone Pipeline legislation that has now been passed by Congress, the President has been rumored to be considering placing some of Alaska’s most oil rich lands in the federal wilderness program which will prohibit exploration of these oil resources. The shackling of US oil and renewable fuel production will continue to put the control of the US economy and the future of US farms and families in the hands of foreign dictators.
Today Brazil blends over 20% of their gasoline with ethanol, and they drive the exact same cars as we do. Many other nations are using more ethanol, much of it imported from the US. With our government refusing to allow more renewable fuel to be blended here, ethanol producers have found a willing market outside of the US. The energy policy of the US at the present time seems to be a decidedly anti-US policy and one that does not have the interests of American citizens at heart.
By Gary Truitt