Dan Gainor

     Angry about the price of gas? It used to be you could simply blame Bill Clinton.

     In December 1995, Clinton helped make sure our margin for error with oil supplies would one day be no margin at all. Clinton vetoed a budget that authorized drilling in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge. Cowardly congressmen refused to overturn that veto that placed our oil security firmly in the hands of nations that hate our guts.

     In mid-May, Congress repeated its mistake. According to the Associated Press, the Senate “rejected a Republican energy plan that calls for opening an Alaska wildlife refuge and some offshore waters to oil development.” The left doesn’t want to drill for oil because of fears about the climate. Our candidates didn’t do well in the vote. Both Sens. Barack Obama (D-Ill.) and Hillary Clinton (D-N.Y.) voted against drilling. Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.), who recently said “global warming presents a test of foresight, of political courage,” was AWOL for the vote.

     It’s estimated bringing that oil to market would take 10 years. Thanks to Clinton I, we are unable to access ANWR’s vast oil reserves. Now we are out of luck until the next vote. Those reserves are estimated at up to 16 billion barrels of oil. Oil is trading at about $125 a barrel. That’s potentially $2 trillion in wealth held hostage by stupidity. Oil experts claim we need to develop just about 2,000 out of 19 million acres to get at the oil. That works out to $1 billion an acre.

     CBS “60 Minutes” reporter Lesley Stahl took a trip to the desolate area and showed it’s the kind of place that makes Siberia look like Miami Beach. That hasn’t stopped more than a decade of propaganda campaigns portraying something akin to an Alaskan Eden and warning of threats to wildlife.

     Such stonewalling works in Washington. Politicians won’t lead when they risk being seen as anti- the media's crusade du jour. Lately, the media pound us with the “green is good” mantra. Anyone who dares challenge it is called a “denier” or a tool of oil interests, as opposed to someone who is just worried about our economy and our energy needs.

     The current Congress and all three presidential candidates show us how foolishly they pander for votes and refuse to fix any of our energy problems. McCain and Hillary Clinton are pushing for a frivolous gas holiday. It would be great to get a tax break. But this isn’t a pardon; it’s a brief stay of execution. 

Dan Gainor

Dan Gainor is The Boone Pickens Free Market Fellow and director of the Media Research Center’s Business & Media Institute.