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Friday, July 11, 2008

Barney Frank vs. Lower Energy Prices

The WSJ reports that the congressman is seeking to protect a heavily-developed river from further development:

Behold the Taunton River in Fall River, Massachusetts, pictured nearby. Congressman Barney Frank thinks your family would love to visit this scenic wilderness. Among its attractions are the fuel-storage tanks along the eastern shore. The container ships and piers are always a hit with the children looking for a place to romp.

This could be America's next "wild and scenic river," if Mr. Frank gets his way. Last month the powerful Congressman pushed a bill through the House Natural Resources Committee that would give the Taunton River that designation under federal law [the Wild and Scenic Rivers Act].

The article speculates on an ulterior motive:

This is the proposed site of a terminal for importing liquefied natural gas (LNG). The terminal would be located right about where those five white storage tanks are at the top of the picture – hardly untrammeled wilderness. The Congressman, whose district includes part of Fall River and the Taunton River, has long opposed the LNG port.

Mr. Frank claims that the wild and scenic designation has nothing to do with the terminal. But six months before the terminal was first proposed in 2002, Mr. Frank had advocated dredging this not so pristine landscape to preserve its viability as an industrial port. Suddenly, he's discovered its wild, natural beauty. Mr. Frank has also blocked the demolition of the Brightman Street Bridge just downriver from the site, with the aim of blocking ship access to any LNG terminal.

What is undeniable is that as a means of importing LNG the terminal would be less costly than piping LNG from the Gulf of Mexico.

At this time, the measure has been temporarily blocked by House Republicans. My advice is that they make this - and all Democrat interference with lowering energy prices - a major campaign issue.

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