Bush presents plan for combating high oil prices, halts reserve deposits

In September 2000, then-candidate George W. Bush said that the U.S. Strategic Petroleum Reserve “should not be used as an attempt to drive down oil prices right before an election. It should not be used for short-term political gain at the cost of long-term national security.” Guess that was some of the “pre-9/11 thinking” we hear so much about. In a speech this morning, President Bush announced that he will order a temporary halt to deposits to the reserve. “Every little bit helps [Republican congressional candidates in 2006],” he said, only without that part in brackets. He also offered other oil-price-lowering gambits like boosting ethanol production, speeding up refinery approval, relaxing domestic drilling limitations, easing environmental regulations on clean-burning gasoline, promoting conservation (yes, really!), increasing hybrid tax credits, investigating possible price gouging, taking back some of the tax incentives offered to big energy companies, and … something about the kitchen sink. All these strategeries would, he said, help the U.S. “get off its dependency of oil.” You know what he means.