Today Americans United for Change, the progressive advocacy group that is visiting districts throughout the country on the “Bush Legacy Tour,” hammered David Dreier for being a tool to Big Oil and special interests. From their release:
With gas prices above $4, Americans United for Change, the progressive issue-advocacy group that recently launched its national Bush Legacy Bus tour, blasted Rep. David Drier today for standing in the way of lower gas prices for California families by voting against meaningful legislation to release 70 million barrels of light, sweet crude oil from the nation’s Strategic Petroleum Reserve into the open market and replace it with heavy, sour oil that is tougher to refine – a move that has historically brought down gas prices and strengthened our national security.
The SPR has been tapped or suspended before by the current President Bush, President Clinton, and the first President Bush and each time oil has been released the impact on prices has been dramatic and immediate. For example, in 1991, oil prices immediately dropped by 33 percent. The 2000 exchange drove oil prices down by 19 percent. And the release by President Bush in 2005 resulted in a 9 percent drop.
“With gas prices hovering above $4 a gallon, Rep. Dreier was given a chance today bring real relief now to California families forced to make incredible sacrifices choosing between bills, gas, and food,” said Caren Benjamin, for Americans United for Change. “But without apology or question, Congressman Dreier chose to put his loyalty to Bush and his addiction to big oil cash ahead of relief for struggling Californians.”
I don’t know if the “Free Our Oil” campaign and focusing on the Strategic Petroleum Reserve is the most effective message, but clearly somebody has to show some leadership on the energy front. Contrary to popular beliefs, Democrats are NOT being pushed out of this debate. In a recent poll by The Wilderness Society, the public is split on the question of drilling or protecting arctic lands and offshore areas, and they believe 76%-19% that the best way to secure our energy future is to invest in new technologies and renewable sources rather than continue to drill. In addition, by a 63%-31% score, those polled believe that the President’s proposal to open up ANWR and the Outer Continental Shelf to drilling “is more likely to enrich oil companies than to lower gas prices for American consumers.” That’s why it’s so crucial for AUFC to note that David Dreier has taken $129,400 in contributions from oil company executives over the years.
There’s starting to be some real pushback on this “drill now” blather. The Democrats put forward this SPR bill today and most Republicans took the bait of voting against it. Jimmy Hoffa Jr. of the Teamsters, in a real game-changer of a move, came out with a very strong statement rejecting “drilling our way out” of this crisis, and demanding long-term energy solutions. Democratic Congressional candidate John Boccieri from Ohio made this amusing Web video to mock his opponent’s reliance on drilling:
And just to your left, CA-46’s Debbie Cook has put together a comprehensive 10-point plan to realize Al Gore’s vision of receiving 100% of our electricity from renewables by 2018.
There’s work to be done – by candidates, policy wonks, advocacy groups, and regular people – but together we can beat back these shortsighted solutions and expose those who want to wed our energy needs to the failures of the past.