Bush and Congress Should Lift Environmental Restrictions on Energy Production

American supply of energy is being strangled by the policies of U.S. federal and state governments.

By Andrew Bernstein

With American consumers currently paying the highest gasoline prices in recent history, and after another winter of high heating costs, many Americans are properly concerned about America’s energy future. Predictably, many politicians and commentators blame the “greed” of U.S. energy companies for the soaring prices. The truth, however, is that prices rise when demand increases relative to supply, and that the American supply of energy is being strangled by the policies of U.S. federal and state governments.

A prime example of such strangulation is the moratorium on offshore drilling for oil and natural gas imposed on 85 percent of America’s coastal waters for the past quarter century. Last week, when the House rejected an attempt to lift the moratorium, it sent a powerful message that the strangulation will continue.

Let us examine some of the other policies that have brought America–a country blessed with abundant natural resources and possessing the technology to produce energy more efficiently than ever–to a state of energy poverty.

In addition to the moratorium on offshore drilling, the federal government repeatedly refuses to permit oil drilling in Alaska’s National Wildlife Refuge (ANWR). Geologists claim that ANWR holds seven billion barrels of oil, enabling it to add significantly to American energy production. Further, in large measure due to environmental restrictions, America has not built a new oil refinery for more than 25 years, meaning a diminished ability to refine crude oil into gasoline, diesel, jet fuel, heating oil, and other petroleum products. Our refineries run at capacity constantly, making repairs difficult, leaving them more susceptible to breakdowns and fires, and–with most centered in the Gulf of Mexico–leaving the country’s supply of refined oil vulnerable to such natural disasters as Katrina.

Additionally, regulations have made building new nuclear power plants economically uninviting–despite the fact that nuclear plants, operated in free countries, where top minds are liberated to create advanced technology, have proven their reliability and safety. In France, for example, nuclear power provides roughly two-thirds of the nation’s electricity. American nuclear plants have had, and continue to show, a superb safety record–and this includes Three Mile Island, whose 1979 partial meltdown led to no deaths or injuries.

Finally, environmental restrictions also limit production of natural gas, which currently supplies 25 percent of the energy Americans consume, a figure that will rise in the future. Huge natural gas reserves in places such as the Rocky Mountain basins, Alaska, and the Outer Continental Shelf are either “off limits” or have their development severely restricted. These unnecessary restrictions endure despite the fact that the wholesale price of natural gas has quadrupled since the 1990s. As an example of the hurdles placed in front of natural gas companies, producers in Wyoming’s Powder River Basin, which holds 39 trillion cubic feet of gas, several years ago saw the federal government suspend the issuing of drilling permits pending the outcome of a second “environmental impact” study. Is this kind of treatment going to encourage more companies to get into the energy business?

The United States is a country rich in both energy sources and the technology necessary to develop them. But the policies of our own government are preventing such development from occurring. America needs to learn from the bitter experience of England. Last century, a popular expression “taking coals to Newcastle” (a center of English coal production) was coined to indicate the absurdity of taking a product to a place that was plentiful in it. But in the late 1940s, when the British government nationalized the coal industry, shortages and rationing resulted, and taking coal to Newcastle became a grim reality. Similarly, the United States today, with its enormous supplies of oil, natural gas, and other energy sources, is suffering high prices because of restrictions imposed by our government.

If the U.S. government established freedom in the energy industry by removing environmental restrictions, we would witness a significant increase in domestic production of oil, natural gas, and electricity. This would do more than increase supply and lower prices for American customers. It would herald a new commitment by the U.S. government to economic freedom and capitalism. The relative freedom of the computer industry has led to an explosion of innovativeness and productivity. The same freedom in the energy industry will lead to the same result.

Andrew Bernstein is the author of “The Capitalist Manifesto” and a senior writer for the Ayn Rand Institute in Irvine, CA. The Institute promotes Objectivism, the philosophy of Ayn Rand–author of “Atlas Shrugged” and “The Fountainhead.”


A Reply to Jimmy Carter
By Rachel Neuwirth

In recent years, former President Jimmy Carter has shown a growing animosity toward Israel. Just this past January, at the Herzliya Conference, President Carter must have astounded his audience when he declared that “you can’t have a Palestinian state living in peace and dignity if it is filled with Israeli settlements.” Doesn’t he know that Israeli Jews have been trying to live in peace and dignity in their state even though their country is filled with over a million Arabs?

Ignorance of the facts or mischievous assertions?

Three months later, in an article published jointly in Pakistan’s Daily Times and Israel’s Haaretz, President Carter made another blunder, most likely intentional:

“The unwavering US position since Dwight Eisenhower’s administration has been that Israel’s borders coincide with those established in 1949, and, since 1967, the universally adopted UN Resolution 242 has mandated Israel’s withdrawal from the occupied territories.”

No one in his right mind would read UN Resolution 242 in those terms, implying a return to the 1949 armistice line.

But Jimmy Carter’s latest article – published in USA Today on May 15, 2006, with the provocative title ”Israel’s new Plan: a Land Grab” – is definitely a tour de force of innuendos, half-truths, distortions and blatant lies. It is said that putting someone to shame, especially a world-renowned individual, is neither fair nor elegant. But when a former President of the United States manages to include two major errors in his introductory paragraph and then goes on with a crescendo of distortions, perhaps we should dispense with the usual niceties accorded to his rank.

President Carter either doesn’t know what he is talking about or, worse, is knowingly and shamelessly peddling falsehoods. He introduces his article with phrases like “the Palestinian West Bank” and the “the internationally recognized boundary between Israel and Palestine.” When did the “West Bank” become Palestinian? Even UN Resolution 338, written as late as 1973, and all the preceding UN Resolutions, never mention the word “Palestinian”. No such international recognition was ever granted, as clearly shown in UN Resolution 242. These allegations by President Carter are nothing short of deceitful since they imply, wrongly, that Israel took over territory rightfully belonging to another nation.

He then goes on to further mislead the uninformed by saying that

“the only division of territory between Israel and the Palestinians that is recognized by the United States or the international community awarded 77% of the land to the nation of Israel.”

This, from a former U.S. president, who should know (and probably knows) that no such ratio was ever recognized and that, in fact, the international community allocated in 1922 the entire territory between the Jordan River and the sea to the future Jewish State. It is also ironic that President Carter views the Gaza Strip (where there have been no Jews since August 2005) as a “politically and economically non-viable region.” Gaza may be considered an experiment in Palestinian self-government which is failing owing to strife within the Palestinian community, but there is no inherent reason why small populous territories cannot be viable. Look at the success of Singapore.

Perhaps the former president could explain how “Palestine” could be made more viable when the same Jew-free status is extended to the West Bank.

President Carter is obviously against the Olmert Plan of partial disengagement from the “West Bank.” He is not the only one to oppose this plan. But if Carter finds it unacceptable, Probably it is because he still clings to the widely discredited Oslo-type paradigm which has only brought bloodshed since its inception. The provisions of the Oslo Accords and the later Roadmap routinely have been breached by the Palestinians, who have shown time and time again that their real objective is not to create a viable state but to destroy Israel in whatever number of phases it would take following successive territorial concessions. The present situation in Gaza, with its simmering chaos and the rocket attacks against Israel, is a corroborating proof of the Palestinian strategy.

President Carter would make us believe that “the nation of Israel was founded [by] U.N. Security Council resolutions.” This assertion is simply astounding. Like many of his Arab supporters, President Carter’s historical horizon seems to be conveniently limited to 1967 or, at best, to 1948. It is hard to believe that a former world leader of this stature would be so ignorant of history.

For President Carter, any partial withdrawal from the “West Bank” is tantamount to “confiscation and colonization.” Of course, having established at the outset that “Palestine’s internationally recognized boundaries” would be violated by such a partial withdrawal, why is he talking about “colonization” – like the Belgians in Congo, the British in India, or the French in Indochina? How could anyone expect truth resulting from a wrong premise? I cannot understand how President Carter can lower himself to the same scurrilous abyss as Israel’s worst detractors.

The proposal put forward by President Carter is to engage in “good-faith negotiations” with Mahmud Abbas, even though the “recently elected Hamas legislators will never recognize nor negotiate with Israel while Palestinian land is being occupied.”

Negotiating in “good-faith” with a democratically elected terrorist government that is neither prepared to “recognize” Israel nor to “negotiate” with it? Only in President Carter’s mind can such a contradiction in terms thrive. And he then tells us that Hamas would be prepared to “recognize and negotiate” when “Palestinian land is no longer occupied”. What is there to negotiate, then?

President Carter apparently never reads the Arab press. Less than a month ago, Moussa Abu Marzuk, deputy-head of Hamas declared:

“One of Hamas’ founding principles is that it does not recognize Israel. We [participated in] the elections and the people voted for us based on this platform. Therefore, the question of recognizing Israel is definitely not on the table unless it withdraws from ALL the Palestinian lands, not only to the 1967 borders.”

The will of the Palestinian people who elected Hamas is clear; Hamas’ objectives are clear; their statements in Arabic are clear; their actions on the ground are clear; only President Carter is deluded, consciously or not.

Deluded, indeed, when he assures us that “a substantial number of Israeli settlers [could be] undisturbed on Palestinian land.” The last time “settlers” (read “Jews”, since illegal Arab settlers in far greater numbers are never mentioned) were living in so-called “Palestinian land” was before 1948, and they were certainly not undisturbed. Up to 1967, every Jew living there had been either murdered or expelled. Even their graves were not left undisturbed. Why should we expect anything different now or in the foreseeable future? It is also interesting to note how this statement squarely contradicts his own earlier warning against “settlers” at the Herzliya Conference (see above).

In his closing remarks, President Carter ominously parrots a well known piece of Arab propaganda. The Israeli-Palestinian situation, he tells us, is“one of the major causes of international terrorism…that could precipitate a regional or even global conflict.”

In that, he is unison with Amr Moussa, Hugo Chavez, Fidel Castro, Noam Chomsky and other luminaries of the far left, not to mention those enlightened Europeans who believe that Israel is the predominant threat to world peace, as shown in a 2003 poll. But the onus is on President Carter to demonstrate that Israel is directly or indirectly responsible for the Islamic terrorism that has been rampant for the past decade. Let us not forget: Paris subway, 1995; Nairobi and Dar-es-Salam U.S. embassies, 1998; Manhattan Twin Towers, 2001; Bali nightclub, 2002; Istanbul synagogues, 2003; Riyadh western compound, 2003; Casablanca hotel and Spanish club, 2003; Madrid train, 2004; London subway, 2005; Iraq kidnappings, beheadings and internecine bloodshed since 2003; Amman wedding party, 2005, and the multiple bombings and bloody terror attacks in India.

Blaming Israel for these events certainly takes a twisted mind intent on perverting reality in a most despicable way.

President Carter’s many interventions in the world scene since the end of his presidency have not been free of controversy. He has been often criticized by both sides of the political spectrum. But on the Arab-Israeli conflict his positions have been routinely against Israel for the past few years and in favor of its enemies, in spite of glaring evidence.

(Thanks to Salomon Benzimra for his contribution to this article.)

The movement to censure Jimmy Carter

The movement to censure Jimmy Carter

Move America Forward, led my Melanie Morgan, a conservative radio talk show host, has formed a movement to censure Jimmy Carter for creating the conditions during his presidency that led to the formation of Islamofacism, and for his support of anti-American regimes around the world. In her essay in World Net Daily, Morgan writes:

There’s a raging battle going on right now for the future of the Middle East and one man is doing his dead-level best to undermine our security needs and objectives in this volatile region.

What is most scary of all is that man will cost American lives as a result of his foolish and dangerous actions.

Yes, that one man is Jimmy Carter, and it’s time to stop him.

Specifically, the Congress of the United States (as the people’s representative) must issue a resolution of censure against Jimmy Carter.

Jimmy Carter, by abandoning the support of the Shah of Iran when Islamic radicals were rioting in the streets, allowed Ayotoallah Khomeini and his Islamic extremists take over Iran.

As Morgan states:

Who can forget Jimmy Carter’s true legacy: The impotent do-nothing policy in response to the Islamic fundamentalist crisis in Iran that led directly to waves of revolutionary fervor and ended in a 444-day hostage crisis.

Henry Precht, the State Department’s country director for Iran during the Iranian crisis admits that the failures in Iran by the Carter administration allowed for Islamofacism to reach new heights.

“There had never been an Islamic revolution” prior to the Iranian situation, Precht acknowledged to the Middle East Journal.

When Jimmy Carter piously backed away from the Shah’s regime in Iran, as Islamic revolutionaries were rioting in the streets, he sentenced the world to a pandemic of Islamic extremist violence for decades to come.

The Iranian military officials who were loyal to the shah (and anti-communist and opposed to the religious extremism of Khomeini) were working to quell the uprising by the Islamic revolutionaries. However, Jimmy Carter used his presidential authority, instructing the Iranian military officials to withdraw their support for the shah, and allowing Khomeini to seize power.

We are all now condemned to suffering the consequences of Carter’s miserable failure in Iran.

She continues:

When Palestinian terrorist groups were setting off suicide bombs in Israel to slaughter innocent civilians, Carter’s response was to go to the Middle East and condemn not the terrorists, but the Israeli government for not playing nice with the terrorists.

When Iraqi dictator, Saddam Hussein, announced he would pay the families of Palestinian terrorists $25,000 for each suicide bombing committed against Israeli citizens, Carter responded by defending Hussein and fighting to lift the U.N. sanctions imposed on Iraq.

Carter went so far as to welcome Iraqi intelligence agent, Samir Vincent, into Carter’s Atlanta area home and treated him to a night on the town. Samir Vincent even became a business associate of Jimmy Carter’s friends in a business venture called “A World of Friends.”

In the most recent elections in the Palestinian territory, Carter rushed to the team to serve as an election observer, hoping to get a little more time in the limelight from the liberal media that loves to promote his “Blame America First” mentality.

Just as he had praised the electoral process that Hugo Chavez had manipulated to achieve power in Venezuela, Carter heralded the Palestinian elections that brought to power the terrorist group, Hamas, as a model for others to follow.

Hamas has called for a nuclear strike against Israel that would wipe it off the map. Despite the fact that they are the most violent and deadly of the Palestinian terrorist groups, they nonetheless have no greater ally or spokesperson in the United States than Jimmy Carter.

Read the whole article.

If you are interested in supporting the Censure Jimmy Carter movement, go here and read more.