Last month, Democrats and Republicans released competing energy bills. The only thing they agreed on was a temporary suspension of filling the Strategic Petroleum Reserve, although estimates said it would knock 5 cents, at best, off the per gallon price.
That compromise passed Congress and was signed into law on May 19. Glorious pundit-friendly bipartisanship in action.
And since then, the nationwide average for the price of gas has jumped about 20 cents a gallon, now breaking $4 a gallon.
Another quick fix bites the dust.
To be fair, nobody in Congress sold the Strategic Petroleum Reserve as a comprehensive solution to skyrocketing energy costs. And unlike the proposal “gas tax holiday” quick fix, there’s no harm — like a loss of construction jobs — in suspending shipments to the reserve.
But Congress passed it largely to be able to say, “Hey, we did something!” And the reality is, nobody cares.
People are sick of quick fixes that don’t fix anything. And people don’t care about bipartisanship for bipartisanship’s sake when it does nothing to makes things better.
While some need short-term relief, there is widespread understanding that only a long-term fundamental shift in energy policy will solve our energy problems: major investment in renewable energy and energy-efficiency, giving us accessible and affordable energy and transportation alternatives, so we are no longer at the mercy of Big Oil.
The growing problem of expensive fossil fuels was utterly predictable. Yet the conservatives who have controlled Washington the last eight years did nothing to get ahead of the crisis.
The time is long past for empty political gestures and misguided worship of bipartisanship.
It’s now time to pin the blame where it belongs, get rid of those who stand in the way of progress, and implement the public will of a clean energy economy.