- The Washington Times - Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Former President Bill Clinton and former Vice President Al Gore warned Monday against letting low oil prices lure consumers back into gas-guzzling cars, thereby stalling efforts to develop clean energy sources.

Mr. Gore warned that the country’s “political will” to invest in renewable energy projects and break its dependence on oil has waxed and waned as the price of oil has fluctuated over the decades.

“We need to get the market to work for us by putting a price on carbon,” Mr. Gore said.

Standoff: U.S. troops block Russian forces from capturing Syrian oil field
Trump asks nation to pray over his impeachment, says he's done nothing wrong
McConnell changes resolution at the start of Trump impeachment trial after pushback

Mr. Clinton said that his home state of Arkansas’ attempts to cut back on using fossil fuels routinely have been stymied when the price of oil dropped.

“Every time oil dropped, people said give me my Hummer back,” the former president said.

The price of oil peaked at around $147 a barrel last year, pushing the price of a gallon of gas to more than $4 across the nation, but fell sharply as the global economy tanked dropping to just more than $30 a barrel.

Lawmakers, environmentalists and energy experts have generally stated that the volatility of oil prices has made it hard to develop a national energy strategy which reduces carbon-dioxide emissions and fortifies national security.

Some energy analysts have proposed establishing a price floor for oil through a government tax, but the concept has been given little credence on Capitol Hill. President Obama’s transportation secretary, Ray LaHood, floated the idea of changing how the gas tax was administered last week, but was quickly shot down by the White House.

Mr. Clinton and Mr. Gore talked during an expansive conference hosted by the Center for American Progress Action Fund and focused on how to reduce the nation’s dependence on oil, invest in renewable energy sources and build out an expansive “smart” energy grid.

While there’s broad support in Washington for cutting back the amount of oil the nation imports, lawmakers have split over whether to allow expanded drilling for oil at home.

The Obama administration put the brakes on a last-minute Bush administration policy which would have allowed for expansive drilling for oil and natural gas offshore, and canceled leases to allow for drilling in Utah. The administration has said that domestic oil production will be part of a broader energy plan to wean the nation off of foreign oil.

Environmentalists have asked Congress to reinstate a ban on offshore drilling that lawmakers allowed to lapse last year, but House Natural Resources Committee Chairman Nick J. Rahall II, West Virginia Democrat, has said that it is unlikely to happen.

The committee plans to examine offshore drilling this week.

Sign up for Daily Newsletters

Manage Newsletters

Copyright © 2020 The Washington Times, LLC. Click here for reprint permission.

Please read our comment policy before commenting.


Click to Read More and View Comments

Click to Hide