Byline: Rep. Mike Kelly, SPECIAL TO THE WASHINGTON TIMES
At a congressional hearing Tuesday on De- partment of En- ergy green-en- ergy programs, Secretary Steven Chu said, I am not an expert on oil reserves.
You don't say.
In 2008, Mr. Chu famously said, Somehow we have to figure out how to boost the price of gasoline to the levels in Europe, revealing a level of animus toward oil that President Obama's handpicked energy secretary has carried with him throughout his tenure as America's chief energy policymaker.
When asked yesterday about his 2008 quote, Mr. Chu said, I'd rather dwell on what my record has been in the department since I became a public servant instead of discussing a philosophy he held just months before being sworn into office but that he has since, and rather expediently, eschewed.
Fair enough. Let's dwell on his record instead.
Since Mr. Obama took office, the national average for a gallon of regular gasoline has increased from $1.85 to $3.80, putting America well on its way to achieving Mr. Chu's vision of European-inspired gas prices, which range from $7 a gallon in Spain to around $9 a gallon in Italy, with France and England somewhere in between.
Under Mr. Obama, oil and gas lease sales and permits have been canceled, delayed or suspended at unprecedented levels, with the Obama administration having leased less acreage on federal lands than any other administration on record. In 2011 alone, oil production on federal lands decreased by 11 percent. Drilling on private lands has gone up, and Mr. Obama claims, like a rooster taking credit for the sunrise, that he had something to do with it when, in fact, the increase is a direct result of permits issued under former Presidents Bill Clinton and George W. Bush.
In 2010, the administration issued a moratorium on all new drilling in the Gulf of Mexico, limiting supply and costing up to 12,000 jobs, according to the administration's own estimates. Months later, the administration placed the entire Pacific Coast, the entire Atlantic Coast, the Eastern Gulf and parts of Alaska off limits to future energy production until 2017 at the earliest.
In 2011, when the new Republican-led House passed the Jobs and Energy Permitting Act, which would have unlocked an estimated 27 billion barrels of oil and 132 trillion cubic feet of natural gas, the president opposed it, just as he opposed the House-passed Restarting American Offshore Leasing Now Act (H.R. 1230) and Putting the Gulf of Mexico Back to Work Act (H.R. 1229).
Most recently, even as tensions in the Middle East have escalated and the threat of a nuclear-capable Iran has become ever more real, the president in January blocked the Keystone XL pipeline, a bipartisan-backed project that would have transported nearly a million barrels of oil a day into the United States from Canada, lessening our reliance on fuel from politically volatile parts of the world. …