1/14/2016 6:01 PM EST It might have been the biggest jaw-dropping moment during the State of the Union address. “We’ve cut our imports of foreign oil by nearly 60%, and cut carbon pollution more than any other country on Earth,” President Obama proclaimed. “Gas under two bucks a gallon ain’t bad, either.”
Sure, Mr. President. Take a bow for the smashing success of the domestic oil and gas industry you have tried to destroy.
But even Obama couldn’t carry this one off. The smirk on his face as he sang the praises of an oil and gas industry was unmistakable. This is the man who just two months ago pledged to his pals in the multibillion-dollar climate-change industry that he is committed to shutting down American fossil fuel production.
Right after he boasted of these low gas prices, the president reverted back to form:
“We’ve got to accelerate the transition away from dirty energy” — by which he means fossil fuels. Then the hammer came down: “I’m going to push to change the way we manage our oil and coal resources, so that they better reflect the costs they impose on taxpayers and our planet.”
So 30 seconds after toasting lower gas prices he pledges to find ways to make gas more expensive.
Climate Change Fanatic
The irony of Obama’s war against fossil fuels is that America’s shale oil and gas revolution has saved him.
During his first term, all the net new jobs created in the U.S. came from oil and gas as fracking took off in Texas, Oklahoma, North Dakota, West Virginia, Ohio and Pennsylvania. Obama owed his reelection to the frackers, but instead he and his EPA have tried to shut them down.
The EPA has issued three regulations in the last year — a clean power plant rule, a methane rule and tougher clean air statutes — that have begun to shut down fossil-fuel production as planned. Arch Coal has filed for bankruptcy, thanks to Obama’s climate-change fanaticism.
How bad are these rules? According to Harold Hamm of Continental Resources, a major driller in North Dakota: “These rules and red tape are killing us. They are raising our costs at a time when oil prices are low and margins are already thin. This means layoffs of workers.”
Obama seems to be doing exactly what the Saudi oil sheiks are trying to achieve: shut down fracking in America.
Meanwhile, Obama won’t allow drilling on federal lands or give the go-ahead to the Keystone XL pipeline or any other pipelines. Instead, he wants to raise taxes on oil and gas production and just handed out hundreds of millions of dollars to keep the solar and wind industries from bankruptcy. Other than that, he’s pro oil and gas.
Cleaned By Freedom
The president also neglected to mention that the major reason why carbon emissions are falling is that cheap and clean-burning natural gas from shale drilling is becoming America’s No. 1 source of electricity production. The lesson: free markets and innovation are almost always the best way to clean the environment.
If Obama’s vision of an American energy future is fulfilled, the price of oil and gas will skyrocket — again. He’d like that to happen because wind and solar companies privately concede it’s the only scenario that makes green energy financially feasible.
Raising the cost of energy — and particularly gas prices at the pump — will be a gut punch to consumers. Motorists are saving about $500 a year from these lower gas prices. It’s one of the few positive trends in an otherwise limping economy.
One last point about low gas prices. Why when oil prices rise is the entire industry accused of price-fixing to gouge consumers? And if the industry has the monopolistic power to keep prices as high as possible, why isn’t it doing that now?
The answer is that in the new era of shale oil and gas the industry is brutally price-competitive — unlike in the past when the OPEC was able to fix prices. The cartel can no longer manipulate prices because the U.S. will soon be the world’s largest producer. All the more reason to let the domestic oil and gas industry flourish.
For now, however, Obama will hog the credit for lower gas prices that he never wanted in the first place while he finds every way possible to make gas more expensive in the years to come.
• Moore is a Fox News contributor and a member of the IBD Brain Trust.Follow enlightenedlbrl