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TEA Party talks gas prices With Running on Empty tour

At right, Dr. James Rust addresses TEA party members Monday, while a large inflatable decrying high gas prices is taken down. Though it was deflated due to fan noise, one person said it was symbolic of what the group wants to do to the prices at the pump.


Before the panelist discussing gas prices could start at Monday’s TEA party meeting, a large inflatable gas pump with information on it had be deflated as the blower was too loud.

As it was going down, someone yelled that it was symbolic of what they hope to accomplish – shrink gas prices. Someone else yelled, “pull the plug on Obama.”

The three person panel tied the high fuel prices in this country to policies and actions of our government. But the speakers said it is as much the entrenched bureaucracy that goes back many years as the governing administration that has run up the prices through burdensome regulations.

The three speakers generally agreed that Washington listens to anti-fossil fuel lobbyists who want to make it expensive and burdensome to meet permit requirements for oil drilling and production in the United States.


Panelist Benita Dodd, from the Georgia Public Policy Foundation, said, “There is no policy; there is an anti-fossil fuel mission.” She said it’s not necessarily the directors or top people in Washington but an “entrenched bureaucracy” that seeks to impose unnecessary restriction and requirements on all the stages of fuel production from drilling to processing and it’s this attitude that runs up fuel costs.

“It’s almost like a religion to them to get us of off our so-called addiction to fossil fuels,” she said.

Fellow panelist Nicole Kaeding, from the sponsoring organization Americans for Prosperity, gave a breakdown of the history of over-regulation of oil companies and fuel production in recent years.

She said when President Barack Obama took office, gas cost $1.83 a gallon and has now risen to $3.383. “This was not an accident, it was what the administration was trying to do,” she said.

She said when the deepwater oil rig in the Mexican Gulf exploded and caused the oil spill, the administration put a ban on new drilling. This ban was later overturned by the courts, but the EPA effectively continued enforcing the ban, through a “permitorium.” Even though new oil rigs are legally permissible, the federal agency won’t release permits.

One member of the audience noted that a common tactic is for federal authorities to give permit applications a pending status rather than deny them. If they are pending, but never granted, they can’t be said to be denied or appealed.

Kaeding said China had a much better approach than either America or Europe with its mostly non-existent environmental rules. “In China there is nothing to hamper growth. There is no environmental policy. It ironic that China gets it, but no one else,” she said.

She said there have been efforts made to de-fund the EPA, but these have not gotten through congress. One member of the audience said the Republicans didn’t do any better than the Democrats with removing regulations on the oil industry, even though the last Republican president was an “oil man.”

The third member of the panel, Dr. James Rust, used most of his time to discuss what he sees as the fallacy of the science behind global warming.

He said the earth’s history clearly shows regular cycles of rising and falling temperatures and that due to the complexities of the earth, its atmosphere and the effects the sun has on the planet’s temperature, predicting future changes is impossible.

“[The computer models] are no good,” said Rust, a retired professor of nuclear engineering from Ga. Tech. “No one knows how the earth will behave. People will never be able to predict [future temperatures].”

Rust wore a “scarlett D” on his shirt as he is a “denier” and says he is ostracized by holding this view in scientific circles.

In their business portion of the meeting, the Pickens TEA Party officials encouraged their members to get involved locally.

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