Fantasyland Energy Policy; Field of 'Green' Dreams Can't Replace Power of Oil and Natural Gas

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Byline: Charles T. Drevna, SPECIAL TO THE WASHINGTON TIMES

Dreaming can be a beautiful escape - but when we mistake it for reality, we're in for a real-life nightmare. This is what is happening today with America's energy policy, and the American people are suffering as a result. Instead of basing U.S. energy policy on the world as it is, too many elected officials and special-interest groups favor an energy policy based on the world as they would like it to be - a world without fossil fuels.

These dreamers would like to put a giant do not disturb sign on the treasure trove of energy buried under our feet and off our nation's shores. They would rely on power from the sun, wind, waves and farm fields - even though the technology to use these supposed alternative energy sources efficiently and affordably in a competitive market doesn't exist.

There's another big problem with this fantasyland energy policy: It requires the elimination of fossil fuels that are proven, abundant, reliable and more affordable than the possible replacement energy sources.

How can this possibly be accomplished? One way to try is to shower billions of dollars in taxpayer subsidies on alternative sources of energy that can't compete in the free market, as the federal government has done.

Another way is to make fossil fuels more expensive and harder to produce by piling excessive taxes and regulations on the oil and natural gas sector. We see this playing out as the Congressional Joint Select Committee on Deficit Reduction (commonly called the supercommittee) is besieged by demands to impose billions of dollars in discriminatory energy taxes on the oil and natural gas sector.

These tax increases would hurt consumers and employers by raising the costs of driving, manufacturing and transporting products, and operating business. They would wipe out jobs and weaken our economy. They would make it harder for American oil and gas producers and fuel and petrochemical manufacturers to compete with foreign rivals, thereby increasing America's reliance on foreign oil, fuels and petrochemicals.

Instead of increasing the amount of tax revenue collected, these tax hikes would actually decrease tax collections because they would reduce the amount of fuels, petrochemicals, oil and natural gas produced in the United States.

Yet, almost every day, some elected official or special-interest group demands energy tax hikes to make companies in the oil and gas sector pay their fair share of taxes and stop receiving oil subsidies.

In fact, these companies already pay far more than their fair share of taxes and earn less income per dollar of sales than many other companies. …