Just once, wouldn't you love to see the tables turned? Brian Kennedy from the Institute for Energy Research has 10 questions for Senators:
1. Do you understand the fundamental economic principal of supply and demand for commodities pricing in the oil market?
2. Oil is a global commodity, bought and sold on the world market. Given that the nine largest private oil companies hold less than 5% of the entire world's proven oil reserves, isn’t it more likely that the law of supply and demand is “manipulating” current prices than the five corporations represented at your witness table?
3. As a U.S. Senator, you have control over oil production on U.S. federal government lands. Taxpayers own these lands and the energy that lies beneath them, but 97% of the federal OCS and 94% of onshore government lands are not being used. Are you willing to help increase the world’s supply of oil – and thus reduce the price of oil and gasoline – by allowing more U.S. energy to be produced from these lands?
4. The corporations represented at the hearing today produce roughly 2 million barrels of oil per day in America, for American consumers, with an American workforce. How many barrels of American oil, based on Energy Information Administration (EIA) estimates, have each of you voted to produce?
5. How often have each of you voted against supplying American consumers with 10.4 billion barrels of oil from ANWR, 85 billion barrels of oil from the Outer Continental Shelf (OCS), and 2 trillion barrels of oil shale in the West?
6. For those of you who have voted to restrict American energy supplies, especially during periods of increased demand, how are your actions any different than those that you have frequently ascribed to OPEC?
7. The sum of the American resources noted in question five is 2,095,400,000,000 barrels of oil. The total proven oil reserves in the entire world is 1.3 trillion barrels. Which number is bigger?
8. As the gap between supply and demand expands, oil prices increase, and oil company profits rise. What’s the best way for oil company executives to send the entire U.S. Congress a “thank you” note for keeping energy supplies down and corporate profits up?
9. At today’s prices, the United States is sending $1.5 billion dollars overseas – per day – to import oil from foreign countries. Do you think it would be a good idea to spend at least a fraction of that sum producing oil here in the United States?
10. When was the last time you filled up your own gas tank?
Can you imagine the political impact of answers to those questions, if given honesty (no chance of that, so relax)? The good Senators might end up filling their own gas tanks sooner than they expected.
It's now a cliche: fat-cat oilmen control our destiny by holding back supplies, letting prices soar, then pocketing the profits. But if any fat cats are to blame for the energy crisis, it's those on Capitol Hill.
UPDATE: Speaking of the oil execs, what did the Senators learn today?
"If the nation set a goal of increasing domestic production by 2 (million) to 3 million barrels a day by opening up new sources of exploration and production, we could demonstrate to the world that we are in control of our own destiny," Shell Oil Co. President John Hofmeister told a Senate panel today.
Granting greater access, Hofmeister argued, coupled with Congress' previous actions to increase use of renewable fuels and to raise fuel mileage requirements, could help avoid awkward scenarios in which U.S. leaders ask producing nations to produce more and get "an unresponsive reply."
"As repetitive and uninteresting as it may sound, the fundamental laws of supply and demand are at work," Hofmeister told the Senate Judiciary Committee. "Oil exporting nations are managing their natural resource development and production to supply their local and global markets in their own interest."
This afternoon, Neil Cavuto of FoxNews took on a Senator (I forgot who) after the hearing.
Cavuto kept going back to oil production, while the Senator kept going back to "alternative energy". You know these are "oil companies" after all.
Just a few weeks ago, some union ran ads in Pennsylvania tells us that "Obama has a plan to bring help to the pump" or some such nonsense. It’s easy to see now that there is no plan for a plan, let along a plan to "bring help to the pump." And by the time any of the alternative energy products are ready for public use (after OHSA, FTC, DOE, EPA, the Serra Club, Public Citizen, AFSCME, Environmental Defense Fund, Earthjustice, GreenPeace et al are done with them), most of us will be long dead.
As a U.S. Senator, you have control over oil production on U.S. federal government lands. [...] Are you willing to help increase the world’s supply of oil - and thus reduce the price of oil and gasoline - by allowing more U.S. energy to be produced from these lands?
It is entertaining to watch Congress basically paralyze itself. Congress has made a ton of foolish promises to the greenies that it feels it can’t break, so its only option is to stage yet another opera buffa featuring the oil companies.
The oil companies offer solutions which Congress ignores, but Congress can’t come up better solutions, so no fuel gets produced. Back and forth, back and forth.
And federal politicians actually draw salaries. I wonder what would happen if their pay suddenly became performance-based.