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VICTOR JOECKS: Cortez Masto flip flops on fossil fuels

Sen. Catherine Cortez Masto once called the Keystone XL pipeline a “dirty energy” project. Now she wants a gasoline tax holiday. It’s amazing what an upcoming election can do.

On Wednesday, Cortez Masto and Sen. Jacky Rosen announced they were co-sponsoring a bill to suspend the federal gas tax through the end of the year. The tax is 18.4 cents a gallon. The average price per gallon in Nevada is up more than $1 compared with a year ago.

That’s a major political problem, especially for Cortez Masto, who’s running for re-election this year. Rosen is up in 2024. Rising gasoline prices have a long history of hurting incumbent presidents. The lower President Joe Biden’s approval rating sinks, the less likely Cortez Masto is to win in November. If voters start to pin the blame on her specifically, her chances sink even further.

Many of the bill’s sponsors are facing tough re-election campaigns this year. They want to be able to run campaign ads saying that they fought for lower gasoline prices.

“I’m committed to finding solutions that bring our families some much-needed relief at the pump,” Cortez Masto said in a statement.

Tellingly, this tax holiday lasts only until shortly after the election. That’s a gimmick, not a solution.

But that’s not surprising because Democrats, including Cortez Masto, usually push policies that drive up the cost of gasoline and other fossil fuels. They just don’t like to mention that part.

“Senate Democrats will continue to fight for common-sense policies that reduce our dependence on fossil fuels and combat climate change,” Cortez Masto said in March 2019.

In practice, that means cutting off access to fossil fuels. In 2020, Cortez Masto sponsored a bill to prohibit some oil and gas leases on public lands. She also wanted the BLM to reconsider allowing oil and gas leases on 500,000 acres in Nevada.

She’s not an outlier among Democrats. On his first day in office, Biden killed the Keystone pipeline. When then-President Donald Trump tried to move the project forward in 2017, Cortez Masto attacked him for “blindly handcuffing our nation to dirty energy infrastructure projects.”

That’s easy to say when you’ve just won election and won’t face voters for several years. Now, with an election just nine months away, Cortez Masto supposedly wants to make the “dirty energy” cheaper. She’s not the only one. Last summer, Biden asked OPEC to pump more oil after gasoline prices shot up and his approval rating dropped.

Don’t forget this: Higher gasoline prices are a feature, not a bug, in Democrats’ “green” policies. When fossil fuels cost more, electric vehicles and alternative energy sources become more attractive.

Democrats claim this is necessary to ward off the supposed existential crisis of global warming. In 2019, Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, D-New York, infamously said, “The world is going to end in 12 years if we don’t address climate change.”

As it turns out, Cortez Masto doesn’t consider the end of humanity as big of a threat as not winning re-election. Flip-flop.

Victor Joecks’ column appears in the Opinion section each Sunday, Wednesday and Friday. Listen to him discuss his columns each Monday at noon with Kevin Wall on AM 670 KMZQ Right Talk. Contact him at vjoecks@reviewjournal.com or 702-383-4698. Follow @victorjoecks on Twitter.

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