Clinton-Gore Accused of Lacking Energy Policy

July 7, 2008 - 8:25 PM

( - House Republican Conference Chairman JC Watts (R-OK) Tuesday accused the Clinton-Gore administration of failing to develop an energy policy over the last seven years, and he said the current increase in fuel prices is a national security issue.

Speaking to reporters on Capitol Hill, Watts said rather than sending Energy Secretary Bill Richardson "around the world talking about OPEC increasing their output, wouldn't it have been nice that over the last seven years if we could have had a real energy policy."

According to Watts, a real energy policy would consist of encouraging domestic production, not just to stabilize prices, but also to make the United States less dependent on foreign oil.

"I remember back in 1992 in Oklahoma, when the Clinton-Gore team hammered Bush-Quayle for not having an energy policy. But over seven years since they [Clinton-Gore] have been in place, they've done zilch in order to encourage domestic productivity, which again makes us less dependent on foreign oil, and also stabilizes domestic prices," Watts said.

Watts said he would favor a repeal of the present 4.3-cent federal tax on gasoline, but over the long term, he suggested it may not have the desired effect: "I am not so sure that we are going to see a drop in oil prices if we repeal the 4.3 cent gas tax."

When asked by if the United States should begin dipping into the Strategic Petroleum Reserve as a way of reducing high fuel costs, Watts said he doesn't think that would help stabilize prices.

"I think that reserve is there for a reason, and I think that it is part of a strategy of trying to maintain national security." He said dipping into the reserve would be a short-term solution to rising fuel prices, but that "doesn't mean that it's going to stabilize oil prices over the long haul."