Dems and Sen. Chafee thwart energy production

John Fund:

After Hurricane Katrina temporarily knocked out 30% of America's oil refinery capacity and caused gasoline prices to spike, it became dramatically obvious that the nation needed to build more refineries away from the vulnerable Gulf Coast. But when a bill to streamline the permitting process and provide incentives to build refineries on closed military bases was headed for the Senate floor, Sen. Lincoln Chafee (R., R.I.) joined with every Democrat on the Senate Environment Committee and blocked the bill.

Mr. Chafee says he opposed the bill only because it lacked provisions to develop alternative fuels and raise fuel-economy standards, although he offered no amendments to that effect. But even if conservation takes center stage in the future, existing energy sources must be expanded now before the economy's health is jeopardized. A just published report by the New England Energy Alliance warns that "energy shortages could be acute soon--by 2010 at the latest" if policy makers in the region don't act aggressively. Unfortunately, Mr. Chafee and other senators appear more concerned about fending off the aggressive criticism of the green lobby. Mr. Chafee's spokesman noted there is strong local opposition in Rhode Island to using two shuttered military bases to add refinery capacity.

Sen. Jim Inhofe of Oklahoma, chairman of the Environment Committee, says he personally urged Mr. Chafee to back his bill, noting that the nation hasn't built a new refinery since 1976. "He sweats a lot," Mr. Inhofe told Human Events, referring to his fellow Republican's re-election battle next year. "He said, 'I just can't do that. I have to win that election. Right now I have a perfect record with the environmentalists.' "

Mr. Inhofe then approached some committee Democrats who he knew were under pressure from home-state businesses to vote for the bill. They rebuffed him too. Noting that a House-passed bill to streamline refinery permitting also failed to get even one Democratic vote, Mr. Inhofe concludes the nation's refinery policy is now being held hostage to partisan politics. "In the next election, high gas prices will be one of the Democrats' big campaign issues."

...

Disengenious Dems do it again. Restricting production and then complaining about price. They muct be hoping voters are not very smart.

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