a very interesting april 2001 PBS interview with dick cheney — on energy prices

this is all before 9/11 — during the
enron-induced “rolling blackouts” in
california — during a period that saw
over 150 percent annual natural gas
retail price increases for three running
years — to wildly rising electricity rates
charged
to consumers. . .

and so, after numerous attempts at
repeating the pablum about his ad-
ministration “was not favoring the
energy-lobby over the consumer, to
the detriment of the consumer
“, dick
cheney had the following to say about
gasoline prices [sheeesh!]:

. . .But you really don’t want to address the issue that we keep hearing from, not just California, but from the consumer organizations and others that the price of electricity is going way beyond reasonable cost?

The problem in terms of electricity is that, to have adequate supplies of electricity, then you won’t have a pricing problem. The same thing is true of gasoline. Let’s put in place the policies that’ll do it. One of the reasons we’ve got problems today is because a lot of these same organizations were opposed to anybody trying to do anything about increasing supply in the past. …

In gasoline, you have a strategic petroleum reserve, and you can release that to affect prices, right?

Cheney: First of all, the strategic petroleum reserve is set up for national emergencies, for example, a cutoff in the flow of oil — a real crisis. Secondly, the big problem in gasoline today isn’t crude. It’s the lack of refinery capacity. We haven’t built any new refineries in this country in over 20 years.

When you read that the financial markets say that they are funding and they are responding to these price signals and there is no need for 1,300 plants … Are they wrong?

Cheney: There are, in fact, a lot of places in the country where we’re getting a good market response, where you’ve got reasonably sound governmental policies. But when you get into situations like California, you do have a problem, and I think the energy problem is there for anybody who wants to look for it. You can’t sweep it under the rug. …

So if I’m paying very high prices today?

Cheney: Go back and talk to whoever it is that blocked the development of additional supplies in the past, because they’re the ones that are responsible for your high prices.

And it will be a year or two years, and eventually there will be enough supply on and this problem will go away?

Cheney: [If] our policies are adopted, you’re going to in fact see a significant increase in the overall supply. You’ll see stable prices over the long term, and that’s in everybody’s interest.

When will that happen?

Cheney: It’ll happen, I think, gradually over the next few months, and over the next few years, we’ll see it happen. It’s already happening in a lot of places in the country. But in the areas where it’s a problem, they need to do a better job. So if you’re concerned about your prices today, then go look at the flawed policies of the past. Support our energy policy, and you’ll have stable prices and plentiful supplies. . .

and where, exactly, are those stable,
reasonable, gasoline prices — following
seven long years of your “policies“, mr. cheney?

at an earlier point in the interview,
cheney said that there was “no possibility
that the energy companies had an upper
hand in setting national energy policy.

a crushingly-costly, avoidable, tragic, and
seemingly-now-endless-war-cum-occupation in iraq
later, and with 400 percent gas price increases,
in our rear view mirror — i think the longer,
telescoping, lens of history would now
decidely contradict him. and so. . .

v e h e m e n t l y. . .

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