Don’t expect gas price relief from region’s progressive lawmakers

It’s no coincidence that as gas prices hit new highs, the approval rating of the Biden administration sinks ever lower — 39%, according to the latest survey from NBC News. Yet as the midterm elections draw closer, the White House and its congressional allies continue to double down on the energy policies that created the current conundrum and could spell even more trouble when winter arrives. Meanwhile, the response to the crisis from New England politicians runs the spectrum from denial to outright indifference.

Anyone who has filled their tank lately has felt the squeeze. Prices are up nearly 50% over the last year. In a grim milestone, a gallon of gas now costs more than $4 in every single state. Over a recent seven-day period, gas hit a new high each consecutive day. Experts believe the worst is yet to come, with some predicting $5 a gallon as the new norm.

At first, the White House tried to deflect blame with the silly “#PutinsPriceHike” stunt. The argument didn’t stick, mainly because it does not take an advanced degree to realize prices were soaring before the war in Ukraine. Yet even as demand keeps rising, Biden’s administration continues restricting domestic supply, canceling federal oil-lease sales in Alaska and the Gulf of Mexico and blocking energy infrastructure projects. In the meantime, Biden has opened up negotiations with Venezuela’s Nicolás Maduro, a brutal dictator, in order to ease restrictions on their oil. No word on how oil from despots is any less harmful to the environment than domestically produced, but no matter.

The reaction from the region’s congressional representatives has been even more pitiful. Don’t expect much in the way of relief from Massachusetts Senator Ed Markey, the proud original co-author of the Green New Deal, the massive legislation with the replacement of all traditional (read “reliable”) forms of energy by their renewable (aka “unproven”) counterparts. Their entire goal is restricting supply.

His Senate colleague, Elizabeth Warren, has, as usual, focused her energy on casting stones at others, introducing half-baked “price gouging” legislation targeting private sector companies. To liberals like Warren, casting blame and calling for more government and higher taxes is always the solution, no matter the problem.

Some politicians have just thrown in the white towel all together. Rhode Island Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse, a climate crusading multi-millionaire, recently declared that high gas prices “will be this way for a little while” in one breath before again trying to shift responsibility elsewhere.

New Hampshire’s Maggie Hassan, facing voters in November, has joined her fellow vulnerable incumbents in calling for a “gas tax holiday” all while continuing to support the White House’s energy policies.

The official start of summer may be just around the corner, but winter is never far behind for New England. This year, home heating costs are poised to spike to new highs amid a severe supply crunch. In recent years, the region has turned to liquefied natural gas as other forms of energy have come off the table. But because the green movement has stood in the way of permits for new infrastructure projects, including storage plants and pipelines, to transport LNG from other parts of the country, we are at the mercy of the choppy foreign LNG market. New England is the only region in America forced to import LNG.

This is the outcome the green movement has always wanted. Implement policies that make energy so unaffordable that consumers have no choice but to change their behavior. But because energy drives literally every facet of our lives, there’s no escaping the pain. As with many facets of the left’s agenda, their policies can sound good in theory but have disastrous real-life implementation. Voters get to weigh in shortly, and the signs are pointing to a much-needed course correction and change of direction.

Colin Reed is a former campaign manager for Massachusetts Sen. Scott Brown and co-founder of South & Hill Strategies.

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