… about Obama’s new offshore exploration posturing.
In addition to a great evaluation of Obama’s flip by Mark Levin, a number of pundits are weighing in. They tend to share our skepticism.
From the editors of National Review Online –
Obama’s energy policies until now have had one unifying theme: artificially higher prices for fossil fuels. After reinstating the executive ban on drilling, Obama proceeded to back an energy bill in the House, the centerpiece of which was a cap-and-trade program that would have put an artificial ceiling on fossil-fuel emissions. “Under my plan of a cap-and-trade system,” Obama told the San Francisco Chronicle, “electricity rates would necessarily skyrocket.” His EPA administrator issued an endangerment finding clearing the way for the agency to restrict the use of fossil fuels independent of congressional action, which it intends to do. His secretary of the interior canceled a number of oil-shale leases cleared by the Bush administration, blocking development of this potentially plentiful source of petroleum. The president himself flew to an international climate summit in Copenhagen — after initially saying he would skip the trip — in order to lobby for a last-minute accord on global emissions caps.
And when he hasn’t been working to make fossil fuels more expensive, he has been making it rain taxpayer dollars on renewable-energy companies in the hopes of seeing something green — if not green energy, then at least a little extra green for 2010: Democrats have raked in 80 percent of the money going to the biggest recipients of green-industry campaign contributions.
Given this track record, forgive us for suspecting that this latest announcement is about something other than lowering the price Americans pay at the pump. The aforementioned energy bill is stranded in the Senate. It appears to be the last piece of Obama’s transformational agenda that he seeks to enact before the people speak in November. If Congress doesn’t act now, the president appears to realize, then it will be more difficult to secure its cooperation after the fall.
From Sarah Palin –
Many Americans fear that President Obama’s new energy proposal is once again “all talk and no real action,” this time in an effort to shore up fading support for the Democrats’ job-killing cap-and-trade (a.k.a. cap-and-tax) proposals. Behind the rhetoric lie new drilling bans and leasing delays; soon to follow are burdensome new environmental regulations. Instead of “drill, baby, drill,” the more you look into this the more you realize it’s “stall, baby, stall.”
Today the president said he’ll “consider potential areas for development in the mid and south Atlantic and the Gulf of Mexico, while studying and protecting sensitive areas in the Arctic.” As the former governor of one of America’s largest energy-producing states, a state oil and gas commissioner, and chair of the nation’s Interstate Oil and Gas Conservation Commission, I’ve seen plenty of such studies. What we need is action — action that results in the job growth and revenue that a robust drilling policy could provide. And let’s not forget that while Interior Department bureaucrats continue to hold up actual offshore drilling from taking place, Russia is moving full steam ahead on Arctic drilling, and China, Russia, and Venezuela are buying leases off the coast of Cuba.
Also at National Review Online is an outstanding, insightful and revealing piece by Jonah Goldberg that he originally published in July of 2009. This still timely piece addresses environmental responsibility, contrasts that sense of responsibility in American companies and foreign entities, and addresses the importance of safety, as well as examining the politics. There’s too much valuable information in this post to quote it, and I encourage Hayride readers to read it in it’s entirety. You’ll thus be armed with enough talking points for many spirited happy hour debates.
From economist Larry Kudlow –
With oil prices high, and new technologies coming on stream daily, drillers and producers have tremendous incentives to generate much more oil and gas. If only we let them.
It goes without saying that a growing economy needs more fuel. That’s why I want to deregulate the entire energy industry. I’ve called for this countless times over the years. We need to remove government obstacles for oil, gas, clean coal, nuclear, and the so-called renewable green-energy sources.
And yes, I oppose government subsidies of any kind. Let the marketplace decide what makes profitable economic sense.
As for offshore oil drilling, get this: By some estimates, the U.S. has 86 billion barrels of oil reserves offshore. For some perspective, that’s enough energy to fuel 65 million cars for 47 years. That’s why the stakes are so high.
Those reserves will give us plenty of time to transition into the development of nuclear power and natural gas for the home and highway. Of course, millions of American jobs would be created in the process. This power can fuel tremendous economic prosperity for years to come.
On a related note, this so-called tri-partisan Senate cap-and-trade bill is a far cry from free-market capitalism. In my view, if this legislation is put in place it could spell economic disaster. In fact, a new study by the Heritage Foundation estimates that the new cap-and-trade bill from Sens. Lindsey Graham, John Kerry, and Joe Lieberman could reduce GDP by as much as $10 trillion over the next two decades. It could force $4.6 trillion in new energy taxes on Americans, kill 2.5 million jobs, and raise the cost of goods and services by $3,000 a year.
From the Wall Street Journal –
Congress’s ban on offshore drilling expired in September 2008, and a Bush Administration plan for leasing the energy-rich Outer Continental Shelf was due to begin this year. Yet within a month of taking office, Interior Secretary Ken Salazar halted leasing by extending the public comment period by six months. When that period ended last September, Interior said it would take “several weeks” to analyze the results. It has yet to release a summary.
Newt Gingrich’s American Solutions group used the Freedom of Information Act to obtain Interior emails suggesting that the public comments ran 2-to-1 in favor of drilling. Instead of acknowledging this, Mr. Salazar last week informed Congress he was scrapping the Bush plan and that leasing will not begin for at least another two years.
The Administration failed to meet a deadline last month for submitting a court-ordered analysis of the environmental impact of new leases off the Alaskan coast. And in January, Mr. Salazar rebuffed Virginia’s request—endorsed by its governor and legislature—to allow drilling offshore. Sensing a pattern?
Onshore, meanwhile, Interior canceled oil and gas leases on 77 parcels of federal land in Utah (a handful have since been reinstated). Mr. Salazar also yanked eight parcels from a lease sale in Wyoming. Several weeks ago a leaked Interior Department memo disclosed plans to have Mr. Obama use executive power—under the Antiquities Act—to designate 10 million acres of western land as “monuments,” putting them off-limits to energy development as well as current timber or mining work.
From Vladimir at Red State (hat tip to Jim Geraghty at his “Morning Jolt”) –
Vladimir at Red State thinks he’s found the catch: “Don’t mistake oil and gas leasing as a green light for an oil operator to ‘Drill, Baby, Drill.’ An oil and gas lease is full of all kinds of ‘subject-tos.’ Most significantly, an operator’s ability to drill and explore a lease is subject to his ability to secure the requisite approval from the various government agencies that issue permits for that activity. So, theoretically, the Feds could issue a lease, but if one of the regulatory bodies refuses to issue a permit, there’s no drilling. But that would never happen, would it? Well, it did, less than two weeks ago.”
We’re not finding any sources that don’t share our skepticism. Obama’s flip on offshore exploration is nothing more than an attempt to obtain conservative support for his true agenda, which is to pass Cap & Trade and further destroy our economy. Don’t expect to be filling your vehicle with gasoline refined from oil produced off the coast of Virginia any time soon.
UPDATE from the House Natural Resources Committee
Facts & Maps on Obama Administration’s Plan to Lock Up the OCS
President Obama did not open new lands to offshore drilling – all of these areas were already open for drilling once Congress and President Bush lifted the moratorium in 2008. Instead, President Obama yesterday announced what areas he would CLOSE to offshore drilling (see maps).
Under the President’s Outer Continental Shelf (OCS) plan, over 360 million acres are now under a new “Obama Moratorium” that blocks American energy production. This represents nearly 60% of the OCS in the Lower 48 States.
In total, the new Obama OCS plan puts 13.14 billion barrels of oil and 41.49 trillion cubic feet of natural gas under lock and key.
The plan includes only two actual lease sales – Virginia and Cook Inlet –both are delayed from 2011 to 2012.
The Administration will only study the other areas (Mid-Atlantic, Southern Atlantic, Chukchi and Beaufort Sea). It has NOT actually planned lease sales for these areas. There is no guarantee that drilling will ever occur there.
Drilling in a small portion of the Eastern Gulf of Mexico can only happen if Congress lifts the ban that is in place until 2022. The Administration has not sent proposed language to make this change to Congress yet.
The entire Pacific Coast is now off limits. The Pacific Coast alone holds an estimated 10.5 billion barrels of oil—almost 75 percent of the total amount available off the U.S. coastline in former moratoria areas – and 18 trillion cubic feet of natural gas.
The Eastern Gulf of Mexico mileage restrictions specifically exclude the “Destin Dome” area. This area contains enough natural gas to supply gas to a million American families for 30 years. It is located close to infrastructure and could be quickly developed, creating jobs and wealth for the American people.