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November 14 2011

Is Politics Driving Our Energy Policy?

Carrie L. Lukas

Energy policy is one of those issues that many Americans may fine a yawner. It takes a little time to think through how various policies impact your wallet. Yes, Americans get upset when gas prices spike, but the furor only lasts for as long as the price-spike, and it's easy for politicians to deflect blame during that news cycle, so that no one really knows what policies, exactly, are driving our problems.

Yet the public should spend a little time considering our current energy policies, and its marriage to environmental policy, since it has an enormous impact on our economy and ultimately on every families' financial fortune. It also is a good primer on the worst aspects of our system of government.

As Charlotte wrote last week, the administration is boldly promising to punt on the decision of whether or not to green light the Keystone Pipeline project. As I've written before, this project would be a no brainer in terms of economic development—at a time when we are in desperate of job creation. And, given that someone is going to access this resource, it's also a fine thing for the environment, since it's far better from a green perspective to have the U.S. working to bring Canada's oil to market, than a country with lower environmental standards. Yet apparently, the Obama Administration just couldn't bear the bad press from out-of-touch Hollywood, environmentalist types, so they put off the decision...until after the election naturally.

Senator Murkowski builds on this theme in the Wall Street Journal today (don't miss our daily Best Women of the Web feature!), reminding us of the many ways that the U.S. is hamstringing our economy by failing to access our energy resources, while other countries charge ahead.

Meanwhile, we are learning more and more about the corrupt process that lead to the Solyandra scandal—the hundreds of millions of dollars of taxpayer dollars given to one of those exulted “green” energy companies which just happened to be the pet project of a top Obama donor (and yes, he lobbied—err, that is just discussed the topic with—the White House, of course, in spite previous denials).

This kind of cronyism is a scandal—or would be if it weren't so horrifyingly commonplace. Americans should remember this the next time they see a politician posing at a company groundbreaking and celebrating a taxpayer bailout or giveaway to some business of the fute: There is an almost inevitably corrupt political process that decides who gets what government grants. It's bad for taxpayers, a distraction for industry, and ultimately terrible for our economy as resources flow not to the best providers, but to the most politically-connected.

And finally the Wall Street Journal reports on the EPA covering up its own concerns about how new environmental regulations will disrupt the electricity supply. These regulations have the potential to do significant harm to businesses around the country, as well as leave families without reliable power. Wouldn't you think the public would have a right to know about the concerns that are out there?

So we have corruption,cronyism, a cover up, and a heavy-dose of economically-destructive regulations that are helping destroy the economy. It's a story that we see over-and-over, but that shouldn't lead to complacency, but to outrage and a push for real change.

Independent Women’s Forum’s mission is to improve the lives of Americans by increasing the number of women who value free markets and personal liberty. Sister organization of Independent Women’s Voice.
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