Growing up all of our vehicles had a clutch pedal, brake pedal, accelerator pedal and some had the starter pedal that got everything going.  For those hard to start vehicles hitting the starter pedal while trying to get the accelerator pedal just right was kind of an art.  Of course, those vehicles that had all those things on the floorboard also had a choke on the dash you had to work with as well.  After you got the engine going, got it in gear and headed out, you were advised in strong language to keep your foot off the clutch while driving down the road.  It was a given that you also kept your foot off the brake pedal unless you needed the vehicle to slow down or stop.  This part was just self-evident.

However, applying the brake while pushing on the accelerator doesn’t seem to be a detail given much attention by some politicians. The lack of attention to this concept is evident with our current energy policy.  We in Wyoming have been protesting the federal government’s actions when it comes to not allowing federal oil and gas deposits to be developed.  Meanwhile, over the years federal environmental policies have made building new refineries difficult if not impossible.

Recently, there was a Governor’s task force which looked at the price of gasoline and diesel in Wyoming.  Experts who testified pointed out the numerous brakes placed on our energy resources in this country.  One thing which was pointed out is that we’ve not invested in a new refinery in this nation for 50 years.  Meanwhile Congress and the Administration launched several new programs to “wean us off of fossil fuels” to address “climate change.”

If I had a few billion dollars laying around, would I look to invest them in a refinery knowing full well that it would take a decade or more just to get it up and running under the best scenario? Would I invest in an oil or gas company knowing that roadblocks are being put in the way for development of the resource?

Would I invest knowing the requirements that could come down from the Securities and Exchange Commission requiring you to document the carbon footprint of your company?

Given the federal dollars flowing into all thing’s green energy, I would probably look for one of those companies to dump my billions in instead of risking it on something that has the opposition of the regulatory state.

This isn’t just happening to energy.  Look at the regulations on the trucking industry.  We know there are a bunch of regulations that truckers must try and keep up with all the while trying to make a business pay for the increased fuel costs.  Meanwhile, we lament that we can’t find truckers to carry products from one point to another.

And closer to home, we hear concerns about food availability while government agencies restrict vital pesticides that are needed to ensure farmers can grow foods in a safe efficient manner.  Let’s not even think about what will happen in Arizona and California when water shortages take water from agriculture for urban use.  Will the politicians look to develop more storage, or maybe reconsider some of the practices that diverts water to some protected species?

Unfortunately, I’m not optimistic those policies which are “brakes” on production will be repealed.  So, more money will be spent trying to get the nation to go faster while a whole host of regulations and policies are slamming on the brakes.

Our leaders need to recognize that in order to build this country and make everyone’s life better, those policies that have been put in place over the decades and are serving as brakes should be reviewed, repealed or reworked so we don’t spend money pushing on the accelerator while at the same time stomping on the brake.

By Ken Hamilton, Wyoming Farm Bureau Federation Executive Vice President