The Hayride

LANDRY: The NAT GAS Act Is A Republican Sellout

LANDRY: The NAT GAS Act Is A Republican Sellout
January 16
15:31 2013

The elections are over, and the Republican Party continues to face an identity crisis – a crisis created by insincere Republican candidates continually promising conservative voters an end to big government and crony capitalism.

The truth is the GOP is filled with establishment officials who, after Election Day is over, support programs contrary to their promises. A recent example is a number of newspaper articles quoting a couple of our Louisiana congressmen praising the merits of the Nat Gas Act.

These “conservative” congressmen claim passage of this legislation would transform our transportation system to natural gas through subsidies for vehicle conversions to CNG as a fuel source and bring about an energy boom, creating thousands of jobs in the process. On its face, it sounds wonderful and many Republican politicians are embracing the idea. I myself was a co-sponsor for a time before giving the Nat Gas Act more thought, so I come to this debate with a degree of empathy for those who haven’t seen the light.

But therein lies the problem.

These same Republicans rightfully condemn President Obama’s “green energy” crony capitalism but turn around and support picking winners and losers in the conventional energy business. This is inconsistency which looks like hypocrisy.

To have GOP congressmen boast of their allegiance to free-market principles one minute and then advocate government intervention in the market the next does to our party’s credibility what Troy Landry does to the local alligator population. So why do Republicans support this type of legislation? Who really benefits from it?

Simply put: Rent-seeking campaign contributors like T-Boone Pickens.

Passage of the Nat Gas Act would be a financial windfall for Pickens, but it would be a disaster for our economy. The legislation requires you – the taxpayer – to subsidize the natural gas transformation – which is bound to happen anyway – at the cost of over $100 billion. And it damages the huge investments made by private companies like Sasol and Shell, and most recently G2X Energy, who are risking billions of dollars to expand their Louisiana refineries to turn natural gas into a diesel fuel that doesn’t require the type of massive transformation of infrastructure that these politicians are proposing through the Nat Gas Act.

Yet, these congressmen could well end up jeopardizing that technology and the thousands of Louisiana jobs it creates in return for campaign cash from T-Boone Pickens.

With rapidly evolving technologies our Louisiana congressmen should be careful about choosing competing technologies with taxpayer money. The President proved this to be wasteful and counterproductive with Solyndra and his other miserably failed green technology investments. Rather, they should embrace market-based solutions that will bring billions in investment and thousands of jobs right here without government subsidy.

After all, you can’t be a part of the solution when you’re part of the problem. To say otherwise is the definition of identity crisis.

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