Paul Driessen

There is no distinctly native American criminal class, Mark Twain observed – except Congress.

A century later, government power and intrusiveness have increased exponentially. Virtually every business and interest now employs lobbyists who can navigate Washington, explain technology to tech-challenged members and staffs, show why provisions are vital or disastrous, and give clients “a seat at the table” where subsidies, mandates, taxes and penalties are meted out.

The system is both the cause and result of far too many congressmen becoming members of what commentator Charles Krauthammer calls an “ambitious, arrogant, unscrupulous knowledge class” that has arrogated unto itself the right to rule American citizens – today in the name of saving planet Earth.

Even legislators who don’t keep wads of thank-you cash in their freezers have committed misfeasance and malfeasance, by handling vital energy, environmental and economic matters in ways that would likely be prosecuted if done by businessmen. Lawmakers and their eco-activist comrades routinely engage in social experimentation and central planning akin to previous Great Leaps Forward – and refuse to acknowledge the damage their actions inflict on businesses, workers, families and minorities.

They have locked up enough oil, gas, coal and uranium to power the United States literally for centuries. Representatives of six of the nation’s eight biggest petroleum-consuming states routinely vote to ban drilling off our coasts and in Alaska’s Arctic National Wildlife Refuge.

The Interior Department says these lands could hold more than the proven oil reserves of Iran or Iraq: 139 billion barrels that could be obtained with today’s technology. When Congress tells Americans we can’t have energy that is rightfully ours, it forces us to import more oil, export trillions of dollars, and give up jobs, taxes, royalties and security that developing US resources would generate.

Drilling bans also increase the risk of more spills from tankers carrying oil to replace what politicians have put off limits. In sixty years of offshore oil operations, only the 1969 Santa Barbara blowout resulted in significant oil reaching shore. Offshore oil platforms rarely pollute; they create magnificent artificial reefs. As a scuba diver, I’ve seen them firsthand, including the beauty where that blowout occurred.

When Senator Maria Cantwell and colleagues demand that President Bush tell Saudi Arabia to produce more oil – or else – they are saying: We don’t care if we’re devouring oil the rest of the world desperately needs, and driving up the cost of food and fuel for the poorest families on Earth. No drilling for US oil.

Paul Driessen

Paul Driessen is senior policy adviser for the Committee For A Constructive Tomorrow (CFACT), which is sponsoring the All Pain No Gain petition against global-warming hype. He also is a senior policy adviser to the Congress of Racial Equality and author of Eco-Imperialism: Green Power - Black Death.

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