The Clinton-Gore Administration’s
Anti-Consumer Energy Policy
Why CSE Cares
Gasoline prices have risen 50 cents to 60 cents per gallon over the past six months, and in some areas costs more than $2.00 per gallon. The surging price of gasoline has highlighted America’s increasing dependence on foreign oil. In 1974, net imports of crude oil supplied about 35% of our gas needs. Imports now supply more than 55% of U.S. petroleum consumption, the highest ever.
In contrast, domestic production has plummeted. Since 1992, production of oil in the United States dropped by 17%, and over the past decade, the number of working oil rigs fell from 657 to 153.
The Clinton-Gore administration has done little to reduce gas prices paid by consumers, other than go-hat-in hand to the Middle East and blame energy producers. They have done nothing to reduce our dependence on foreign oil. Rather, the administration’s energy policy has increased the cost of gasoline and discouraged domestic production.
· The Clinton-Gore administration has pushed for new taxes and regulations on gasoline and other fuels.
· The administration has encouraged a sharp decline in domestic production and opposed new exploration for oil.
· Additional taxes and regulations favored by the administration, such as the Kyoto Protocol, would raise the price of gasoline even higher.
America needs common-sense policies that will increase competition, lower prices, and reduce our dependence on foreign oil. Government needs to cut gasoline taxes, allow domestic production to increase, and eliminate regulations that interfere with free markets.
The Clinton-Gore Administration’s
Failed Energy Policy
Btu Tax. In 1993, the Clinton-Gore administration proposed a new tax on energy known as the Btu tax. The Btu tax would have raised the cost of gasoline by 7.5 cents per gallon. Congress rejected the tax, but in a press conference one year later Vice President Gore left no doubt that he would try to impose the Btu tax at a later date.
New Gas Taxes. In place of the rejected Btu tax, Congress voted to increase the federal gas tax by 4.3 cents per gallon. As president of the Senate, Vice President Gore cast the deciding vote to approve the tax hike. Federal gas taxes alone now cost consumers 18.4 cents per gallon.
U.N. Global Warming Treaty. The Clinton-Gore administration strongly supports the Kyoto Protocol, also known as the U.N. global warming treaty. The Department of Energy estimates the Kyoto Protocol could cost the U.S. almost $400 billion per year, and economists believe it would increase gas prices by about 60 cents per gallon. Moreover, the treaty will do nothing to address any concerns about global warming because it exempts most of the world from its mandates.
New Carbon Taxes. Among the many radical ideas in Vice President Gore’s book Earth in the Balance, is a proposal for a new tax on carbon-based fuels. The tax would hit energy sources such as gasoline, heating oil, coal, and natural gas. Although it is difficult to predict how much, the carbon tax would undoubtedly cause higher prices at the pump.
New Regulations. Even as gas prices rose, the Clinton-Gore administration imposed a new mandate on domestic oil producers. In a classic example of one-size-fits-all regulation, the administration demanded a reduction in the sulfur content of fuel from 300 parts per million to 30 parts per million. This mandate is expected to increase gas prices by 5-6 cents per gallon.
Increased Mandates. In June, regulations pushed by the Clinton-Gore administration for reformulated gasolines (RFG) like ethanol went into effect. These have raised prices by at least an additional 5 cents per gallon. Rather than issue waivers for areas facing dramatic price spikes, the administration has insisted on rigid adherence to the RFG mandate.
Higher Fees. In March 2000, the Clinton-Gore administration raised the royalties charged on companies that produce oil on government-owned land – this at a time when gas prices were already rising.
Blocking New Production. The Arctic National Wildlife Refuge (ANWR) consists of 19.5 million acres in Alaska north of the Arctic Circle. Seventeen and one-half million acres of this area are closed to development. The remaining 1.5 million acres may hold as much as 16 billion barrels of oil. This could replace all oil imported from Saudi Arabia for close to 30 years. But, the Clinton-Gore administration opposes any oil production in this area.
The administration has pushed for higher taxes on gasoline and other fuels.
· The Clinton-Gore administration supported the Btu tax.
· Vice President Gore cast the deciding vote to increase the federal gas tax.
· Vice President Gore wants to impose a new “carbon tax” on energy sources such as gasoline, heating oil, coal, and natural gas.
The Clinton-Gore administration has implemented new regulations on fuel users and producers, which have led to higher prices, and supports even more mandates.
· Low sulfur fuel regulations.
· Reformulated gasoline mandates.
· The administration supports the economically-destructive UN Global Warming Treaty.
Domestic production of oil has plummeted, and the Clinton-Gore administration opposes new production.
· Oil imports now supply more than 55% of U.S. petroleum consumption, the highest percentage ever.
· Since 1992, production of oil in the United States has dropped by 17%.
· The Clinton-Gore administration opposes oil production in a small area of Alaska that could hold up to 16 billion barrels of oil–enough to replace all of the oil imported from Saudi Arabia.
Why CSE Cares
In 1997, the Clinton-Gore administration signed the Kyoto Protocol, also known as the UN Global Warming Treaty. The internationally-enforceable treaty is intended to stop what some believe is an unnatural warming of the planet caused by human use of fossil fuels. Since the Senate has refused to ratify the treaty, there have been numerous proposals for domestic greenhouse gas reduction schemes and the administration has attempted to implement the treaty through the back door.
There is no solid scientific evidence that the use of fossil fuels and the emission of greenhouse gases has any effect on out climate. The Kyoto Protocol and other domestic greenhouse gas reduction schemes will have no effect on greenhouse gas emissions, because they exempt the developing world, and will cripple the U.S. economy.
· There is no solid scientific evidence that the planet is heating up unnaturally. Temperature measurements on Earth have measured a small increase, about half a degree over the last 100 years. But surface measurements do not take temperatures across the entire globe, do not take measurements in the same way, and do not use the same equipment. They are also vulnerable to the urban “heat island” effect, which causes readings to be higher than normal.
· The main greenhouse gas that concerns global warming alarmists is carbon dioxide. Humans produce only about 5% of the carbon that enters the atmosphere each year. The rest comes from natural sources. Climate science also tells us that carbon levels in the atmosphere have varied greatly in the past, without human influence.
· The Kyoto Protocol would do nothing to stop emissions of greenhouse gases because it exempts the developing world, which will account for the majority of greenhouse emissions in the near future. However, the Department of Energy estimates the UN Kyoto treaty could cost the U.S. economy close to $400 billion annually, costing the average family $2,700 per year.
Without any clear scientific understanding of what our role, if any, may be in affecting our climate, it makes little sense to pursue policies that will only hurt our economy and take away our freedom. Rather than giving into the demands of those who support greenhouse gas reduction policies like the Kyoto Protocol, we must continue pursuing scientific discovery to get the answers we need about our climate.
The Comprehensive Everglades
Why CSE Cares
The Comprehensive Everglades Restoration Project (CERP), previously called the Re-Study, is a plan designed to revamp the Central and Southern Florida Project (C&SF). The C&SF now delivers flood protection and fresh water to nearly six million South Floridians in a 16-county region. However, the C&SF also caused extensive damage to the unique environment of South Florida and the Everglades. In response, Congress called for a study of possible changes to the C&SF in 1992 and again in 1996.
The authors of the CERP – the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and the South Florida Water Management District (SFWMD) – claim that implementation of the plan can restore the Everglades while at the same time providing fresh water for a growing South Florida population. However, serious concerns have been raised from all sides about the plan’s lack of focus, its lack of environmental restoration, its potential for threatening the water supply of South Floridians, and its open-ended cost.
· Cost estimates for the CERP have risen dramatically, from $1 billion to nearly $11 billion.
· The science behind the CERP is suspect, and the plan has been criticized for its lack of Everglades restoration and its potential to jeopardize the water supply.
· The Corps still admits to considerable uncertainties about the CERP and the plan lacks focus and direction.
There is already funding in place for numerous Everglades restoration projects. Until these are completed and their effectiveness evaluated, it makes little sense to irrevocably commit to a 20-30 year plan that may not work and may be unnecessary. At the least, the pilot projects that will determine how well exotic new technologies will work should be completed before the rest of the plan is authorized.
Why CSE Opposes the Comprehensive
Everglades Restoration Plan
· Uncontrolled Costs. The original cost of the CERP was estimated at $1 billion, split 50-50 between Florida and the federal government. The Corps now estimates the cost at $7.8 billion – but the real cost is closer to $11 billion. Essentially, the Corps is asking for a blank check.
· No Everglades Restoration. The Corps can make no assurances that the CERP will restore the Everglades. In fact, environmental groups have complained that the CERP will provide few, if any, benefits to the Everglades.
· Jeopardizing Public Health. The Corps admits that aquifer storage and recovery wells, the primary source of fresh water planned under the CERP, have never been tested on the scale proposed, and may make drinking water unsafe.
· No Focus. The overall plan for the CERP has no focus. The Corps has stated that. “The Restudy, to date, has no set direction; the details will come in time.”
· No Definition of Success. The Corps has said that they have no time frame or criteria for judging the success – or failure – of what they call the largest environmental restoration project in history.
· Critical Uncertainties. The Corps admits to critical uncertainties about the CERP. In perhaps the worst instance, the Corps states. “There is very real and, to a great extent, unresolvable uncertainty about what the new ecosystem will look like. Because no one knows for sure what the ecosystem will look like, no one knows for sure what the hydropattern required to produce it will look like. This is, in our view, the greatest uncertainty in the entire study. Moreover, we do not know with certainty what the linkages between hydropatterns and the ecosystem are.”
· No Accountability. Despite its lack of focus and critical uncertainties, the Corps expects Congress to approve and fund the CERP before any questions are answered. The Corps also insists that the entire 20-30 year plan must be completed exactly as they envision it.
· Flawed Models. The Corps admits that the computer models used to develop the CERP cannot be relied upon if future weather conditions vary, and that much of the data that went into the models “had to be approximated or even guessed.”
· Possibly Unnecessary. There is already funding in place for numerous Everglades restoration projects. Until these are completed and their effectiveness evaluated, it makes little sense to irrevocably commit to a 20-30 year plan that may not work and may be unnecessary. Moreover, Everglades National Park scientists have raised concerns that the CERP may actually interfere with these ongoing Everglades restoration projects.