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Posts Tagged ‘senate foreign relations committee’

Here We Go Again: With Crude Oil at Record 2009 Prices, Where is Our Energy Policy?

Demand and speculators need reigning in; supplies added.

by on Aug.24, 2009


The price of oil is rising once again. Demand is increasing to record levels in China as the U.S. appetite for oil is growing again, too. Reserves  are dropping as well. So crude oil is now selling at more than $73 a barrel, a record for all of 2009.

Moreover, since there has been little change in the way oil is produced, traded or regulated, there is no reason speculators cannot keep oil moving up to the record $147 a barrel that it hit in July of 2008, barely a year ago. In fact, some warn oil prices won’t stop there this time.

A troubling question immediately comes to mind: will the effects of such high oil prices once again send the world’s economies into even deeper recessions than they are currently in? The timing is terrible. Western economies are just now showing signs of recovering.

Next tough question: will these higher oil prices then plunge back down to the $40 a barrel they were in December of 2008 because economies have tanked as a result of the higher oil prices? It’s a vicious circle.

The latest run-up in oil prices is prompting a debate over the various economic theories that purport to explain its pricing. How U.S. regulators and politicians interpret these theories  is key to establishing more effective policies than we have used in the past. Many critics of our lack of a coherent energy policy argue that we haven’t learned from previous mistakes; that we must now have an energy policy that takes back control of our economy and our security from hostile nations. (Click here for the history of U.S. energy policy and its ongoing failure to cut down on oil imports.)


Former President Carter at Energy Security Hearing Blasts U.S. Record on Imported Oil

"As is now the case, enormous sums of money were involved, and the life of every American was being touched."

by on May.12, 2009

Saudi King Fahd and President Jimmy Carter at the White House.

Saudi King Fahd and President Jimmy Carter at the White House.

Former President Jimmy Carter, as part of his appearance today at  the U.S. Senate Foreign Relations Committee hearing on energy security made important observations about the history of U.S. energy policy and its current failure to cut down on oil imports.

He released a statement titled, “Energy Security: Historical Perspectives and Modern Challenges.” Excerpts follow:

“It is a pleasure to accept Senator Kerry’s request to relate my personal experiences in meeting the multiple challenges of a comprehensive energy policy and the interrelated strategic issues. They have changed very little during the past three decades.

“Long before my inauguration, I was vividly aware of the interrelationship between energy and foreign policy. U.S. oil prices had quadrupled in 1973 while I was governor, with our citizens subjected to severe oil shortages and long gas lines brought about by a boycott of Arab OPEC countries. Even more embarrassing to a proud and sovereign nation was the secondary boycott that I inherited in 1977 against American corporations doing business with Israel. We overcame both challenges, but these were vivid demonstrations of the vulnerability that comes with excessive dependence on foreign oil.

“At the time, we were importing 50% of consumed oil, almost 9 million barrels per day, and were the only industrialized nation that did not have a comprehensive energy policy. Senators Dodd and Lugar will remember those days. It was clear that we were subject to deliberately imposed economic distress and even political blackmail and, a few weeks after becoming president, I elevated this issue to my top domestic priority.

“In an address to the nation, I said: “Our decision about energy will test the character of the American people and the ability of the President and the Congress to govern this nation. This difficult effort will be the ‘moral equivalent of war,’ except that we will be uniting our efforts to build and not to destroy.”

“First, let me review our work with the U.S. Congress, which will demonstrate obvious parallels with the challenges that lie ahead.    (more…)