Why Obama’s ‘Energy Security Trust’ Is A Bad Idea
By Christopher Helman
In an event today at the Argonne National Laboratory President Obama will be talking up his proposal, first mentioned in his State of the Union address, to create something called the Energy Security Trust. This trust would be funded by royalties from oil and gas operations on federal lands and in the Gulf of Mexico.
Today those royalties are simply directed to the U.S. Treasury like all our other federal tax payments. What the president proposes is to divert some $2 billion of those oil and gas revenues into a special account over the next decade. Out of this account he proposes to subsidize research on alternative energy sources. According to a senior administration official interviewed by the New York Times, this trust fund is a central part of the president’s economic strategy.
In short, this is a terrible idea — and a backdoor to the imposition of a nationwide carbon tax — that congress should not allow to pass.
Now I have no problem with the federal government backing basic research on energy technology — the national labs have made myriad breakthroughs over the decades, many of which have been commercialized.
But there is absolutely no reason why we need a dedicated Energy Security Trust to fund the national labs, or to fund any kind of alternative energy research. If congress wants to fund research it can pass a bill to fund research.
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