If presidential straw poll winner and CPAC rock star Rand Paul were actually president, the senator told Fox News Sunday, his response to the current crisis in Ukraine would be to order up some drilling -- and lots of it.
“I would do something differently from the president,” Paul said. “I would immediately get every obstacle out of the way for our export of oil and gas, and I would begin drilling in every possible conceivable place within our territories in order to have production we can supply Europe with if it’s interrupted from Ukraine.”
Paul joins the growing contingent of Republicans using the crisis as an excuse to push an agenda of increased oil and gas production, including House Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio, who declared last Wednesday that the best way to “support the Ukrainian people and confront Russian aggression" is to speed up the approval of natural gas exports from U.S. fracking operations.
The New York Times editorial board conceded in an Op-Ed that "increasing natural gas exports could serve American foreign-policy interests in Europe, which gets about 30 percent of its gas from Russia." However, the Times was quick to caution, "even if the government approved more exports, setting up more facilities to liquefy and ship gas would take years and cost billions of dollars," while Putin "would not stand idly by."
Paul, for his part, pushed even harder for fossil fuels in an Op-Ed for Time, in which he again emphasized what he sees as the role of oil and gas in addressing the crisis:
I would immediately remove every obstacle or current ban blocking the export of American oil and gas to Europe, and I would lift restrictions on new oil and gas development in order to ensure a steady energy supply at home and so we can supply Europe with oil if it is interrupted from Ukraine.
Because of so many of our current needless laws and regulations, President Obama has left Europe completely vulnerable because of its dependence on Russian oil and gas.
I would support immediate construction of the Keystone Pipeline.