NCPA - National Center for Policy Analysis

STORM WARNING

September 8, 2005

The damage Hurricane Katrina has done to our energy infrastructure is nothing compared to what Congress and Democrats have done and failed to do, says Investor's Business Daily (IBD).

In the wake of the hurricane's damage to offshore drilling rigs and refinery operations, crude oil prices were briefly driven above $70 a barrel. Suddenly, says IBD, the oil locked up in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge (ANWR) looks even more appealing. If ANWR had been approved in 1995, when President Clinton nixed it, we would be producing another million barrels a day -- 5 percent of our total consumption -- reducing gas prices, oil imports and our vulnerability to emergencies like Katrina.

But it's not just ANWR. Consider:

  • In July 1998, Clinton extended a moratorium on most offshore drilling for 10 years and banned drilling in national marine sanctuaries; the Energy Information Agency estimates these restricted areas contain 75 billion barrels of recoverable crude and 262 trillion cubic feet of natural gas.
  • According to a report by the Industrial Energy Consumers of America, this policy has increased the price of environmentally friendly natural gas by 83 percent in the last 41 months at a cost to consumers of more than $111 billion.
  • We have not built a single new gasoline refinery since 1976, mainly because of environmental regulations and resultant costs, but we do have 13 special, congressionally mandated "boutique blends" of gasoline that add 4 to 8 cents a gallon to the price of gas.

IBD says Congress should remove obstacles to domestic production and the environmental albatross it has placed around the necks of energy producers.

Source: Editorial, "Storm Warning," Investor's Business Daily, September 1, 2005.

 

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