A commentary by State Senator Frank Lasee.
The pain at the pump is less lately. Gas prices are dipping far below the highs from earlier this year.
Isn't it convenient that gas prices always seem to peak at record highs in the spring or mid-summer of election years and then somehow drop down to tolerable levels in November?
High energy prices hurt our economy in a number of ways, and if the United States economy is going to pull out of this recession, we're going to need an energy policy that is more substantial than lowering the price of gasoline around election time.
Our current administration put the kibosh on the Keystone Pipleline, a virtual jobs corridor from the oil sands of Canada to the Gulf of Mexico, where new off-shore drilling has also been stamped out.
As the President boasts that domestic oil production is the highest it's been in since 2003, he fails to mention that his moratorium on off-shore drilling is largely responsible for the fact that oil production on Federal Lands is the lowest it has been since the Government began keeping track of the statistic in 2003.
The latest and greatest (heavy on the sarcasm) policy initiative by the administration is to increase the regulation of the fracking industry on Federal lands. That seems like an alright idea, right? It's the government's property, why shouldn't they be able to have their own regulations for it.
That seems plausible until you realize just how much land is controlled by the 536 wise men and women in Washington DC.
Here's the thing, domestic energy production and the jobs that go with it are lost when the government creates too many regulations for producing our energy right here. More regulations mean more costs. It's like gravity, it always works that way.
North Dakota has encouraged oil production in the state and look what's happened. They have the lowest unemployment rate in the nation.
The average oil well in North Dakota will pay $2.1 million in wages over the course of its lifetime and nearly $4.6 million in taxes.
I wonder how many oil wells it would take to balance the $1.3 trillion annual federal deficit.
If we opened up more areas to drilling, we'd create more, good paying, jobs and actually bring in more money from the taxes collected.
Instead, the government has focused on the "feel good" message of renewable resources and green jobs. Jobs that have to be subsidized to stay afloat, and even then companies like Solyndra go bankrupt after accepting over half a billion dollars in our taxpayer money.
That's the equivalent of throwing the revenue from 108, revenue generating, tax paying, job creating, family sustaining oil wells down the drain.
The lesson to be learned from this is that "black gold" brings a lot of green into government coffers, while "Green" energy leaves us in the red, all the while making the cost of living and doing business more expensive.
We need to realize that government hurdles to progress at any level have effects further down the line. Moratoriums on frac sand in Wisconsin and Minnesota increase the cost of sand, and therefore oil for all of us, while robbing people of good paying jobs in the process.
The best way to end our dependence on foreign oil is domestic production. Not only does this create jobs and increases tax revenue without raising taxes, it keeps our money here in the United States instead of sending it over to the Middle East.
It also lowers the cost of the gas that you and I pay for at the pump.
Producing our own energy should be a win/win, not a wind/lose.
I look forward to hearing from you about the issues of concern to you. Feel free to contact me, Sen.Lasee@legis.wisconsin.gov