Boston Globe writer Erin Ailworth somberly projects a home-heating energy catastrophe in the making this winter (“A grim forecast for heating costs: Report warns that average 2009 oil bill for Mass. household could top $3,000”).
As Gov. Patrick calls for quadrupling federal energy assistance to help those making less than 200 percent of the federal poverty guidelines, his former classmate, Senator Obama, calls for a windfall profits tax on the oil industry to help citizens pay for $4.00 a gallon gas. And the U.S. Senate and House threaten to sue OPEC and demonize oil futures market speculators as true culprits behind the rising cost of fuel.
A more realistic energy policy would call for an immediate increase in domestic oil drilling activities in order to send to the speculators a market signal that prices are on the way down due to expanded supply of domestic fuel in the near future. The very act of announcing drilling expansion domestically will begin to drive prices down for all consumers of gas and home heating oil.
Unfortunately, Congress has chosen to retain the current restrictive no-drill energy access policies, thus promising a frigid winter, instead of considering the economic rights of American citizens faced with a cold pocketbook issue later this year.
Ralph W. Conner ([email protected]) is local legislative manager at The Heartland Institute.