(UPDATED) Obama: Five Year Ban on Offshore Drilling


So, we’ve heard the announcement and the backlash.  Surely, the fallout will continue for the foreseeable future, but now we have the details.  And they are far more disturbing on paper than the rhetoric suggests:

First off, the issue of energy independence continues to rear its ugly head, and for all of Obama’s claims to the contrary, our country has regressed significantly in this regard.  Take a look at the before and after pictures of offshore drilling under Obama’s proposal:

Drilling Availability October 2008-March 2010:



 Obama’s Proposal:


The light green areas are open for drilling.  Fairly expansive at pre-moratorium standards.  Seems like we have alot of resources we could be taking advantage of…

The obvious level of tyranny here is obscene.  According to Obama’s proposal, for 12 years the only area legally allowed to drill would be the Louisiana and Texas Gulf regions.  Here are some stats from the House Natural Resources Committee:

  • President Obama’s latest and most restrictive OCS leasing plan now places the entire Pacific, the entire Atlantic and the Eastern Gulf off limits to future energy production – as it was under the Congressional moratorium.
  • This puts some of the most promising shallow water resources in the world off-limits and pushes domestic oil development into a smaller fraction of the Gulf of Mexico and into deeper water.
  • Previous lease sales off the coast of Virginia, scheduled to take place in 2011, are on hold until after 2017.
  • In Alaska, there is only the potential for lease sales in the Beaufort, Chukchi, and Cook Inlet planning areas before 2017. 
  • The American Petroleum Institute estimates today’s announcement will cost: 75,000 jobs; $91 billion in cumulative government revenues (royalties, severance taxes, property taxes, income taxes, lease bonuses); 900,000 bbls oil/day; and 2.9 tcf natural gas/day.

Here is some more info.  We are giving up these benefits to appease the whim of our confounding President:

  • In 2008, facing record gas prices, Congress and President Bush both announced an end to the decades-long ban on offshore drilling.  This opened 500 million additional acres for new energy production that contain an estimated 14 billion barrels of oil and 55 trillion cubic feet of natural gas.
  • After the moratoria were lifted, the Bush Administration issued a 2010-2015 OCS leasing plan, and solicited comments on all aspects of the plan.  The proposal included 31 OCS lease sales in all or some portion of the 12 of the 26 planning areas—4 areas off Alaska, 2 areas off the Pacific coast, 3 areas in the Gulf of Mexico, and 3 areas off the Atlantic coast. 

The facts speak for themselves.  Since Obama has been elected President, he has advocated expansive independent energy production.  However, what he really means is independent energy production excluding fossil fuels.  His vision for a world run by alternative energy is great….except that it comes at the expense of thousands of American jobs.  So what price is he willing to pay for his idealistic (and highly inefficient) society? Well, I think we just found out today.

JINDAL’S STATEMENT: Objections to Obama’s latest debacle are coming out of the woodwork now.  Jindalchimes in much the same as our other conservative representatives.  Keep it coming:

“This announcement from the Obama administration today will undoubtedly send more economic capital and even more jobs overseas, in the wake of those oil rigs that already left our waters for Egypt, the Congo and Nigeria during the ‘arbitrary and capricious’ moratorium on deepwaterdrilling. Instead of focusing on moving quickly to improve the safety of operations here in the United States, the Administration chose further delays that will likely send drilling operations across the world to drill under far less safety restrictions than we havehere. The increased uncertainty from the federal government continues to make the Gulf a less attractive place for economic investment and will instead bring jobs and capital to the shores of other countries while making our nation more dependent on foreign sources of energy.”

UPDATE: Now comes some news out of Texas from Ted Poe (R). 

“The administration’s new ban on offshore drilling further proves they support a ‘none of the above’ approach to domestic energy independence.  The BP Deep Water Horizon tragedy has been irresponsibly used to further a far left political agenda.  We have been drilling safely in the Gulf for more than 50 years.  The United States is recognized as the foremost experts in this industry around the world.  This ban will not only devastate the hundreds of thousands of families that rely on the drilling and petrochemical industries all along the Gulf Coast, but will also drastically limit our nation’s energy needs for the future.” “In addition, this new ban will further our dependence on unfriendly foreign oil-rich nations and do nothing to advance the unproven alternative energy platform that is being forced on the American people.  The American people overwhelming support offshore drilling and this is one more example of big government doing what they think is best versus what the majority of people of this country want.” 

The foreign oil dependency argument is possibly equally as concerning as the threat to American economic growth.  For all of Obama’s campaign rhetoric about independent energy production he seems to be taking a strange turn here.  And we all know his green energy scheme was a colossal failure….so where’s our energy coming from?  OPEC is jumping for joy right now UPDATE: Congressman Charles Boustany out of Lafayette has chimed in in the most recent barrage against Obama’s ignorance.  The common theme among all of these statements is an objection to questionable decision-making that will undoubtedly be detrimental to the economy.

“I am extremely disappointed by this decision,” Boustany said.  “This administration proved yet again that it is not interested in responsible American energy production.  The announcement today seems very hasty.  The focus now should instead be on fixing the permitting process so that we can safely drill and take advantage of the resources available in our country.  Instead, President Obama and Secretary Salazar have retracted their earlier promise to explore and possibly drill in these areas.   “This decision not only damages the trust of energy producers across the country, but it comes at a time when we desperately need new jobs to help our economy recover.” 

ANOTHER UPDATE: Sen. Vitter hates the ban, too…

“This alarming announcement is further proof that this administration doesn’t know the first thing about creating jobs,” said Vitter.  “Cutting off access to American resources from American businesses will only send more of our money and jobs overseas while we watch energy prices continue to rise.  As they’ve demonstrated with the de facto moratorium on offshore drilling in the Gulf, this administration will stop at nothing to advance its agenda to reduce – or even completely end – offshore drilling everywhere.” For months, Vitter has criticized the administration’s approach to offshore drilling, including the initial moratorium on drilling and the subsequent de facto moratorium resulting from an extremely slow permitting process.  He also requested an Inspector General’s report, which last month revealed that, in an effort to justify the moratorium, the administration manipulated a report to inaccurately represent the views of a team of scientists assembled by the National Academy of Engineering.

UPDATE: Rep. Scalise is not a fan of the new Obamoratorium…

“While OPEC will certainly love today’s announcement, unfortunately this purely political decision by President Obama will cost thousands more American jobs and increase our dependence on Middle Eastern oil,” Scalise said.  “This retreat away from domestic energy sources will jeopardize America’s energy security and does absolutely nothing to make energy exploration and development safer, nor does it ensure that we work to a more energy independent future, and I am incredibly disappointed that the only result of this decision is the guarantee that we will become more dependent on Middle Eastern countries to satisfy our energy needs.  Instead of pursuing their own reckless agenda, President Obama and his administration should be focused on solving real problems threatening the Gulf in the aftermath of the BP disaster by removing the job-killing permitorium and passing the Gulf Coast Restoration Act to restore our coast and wetlands.”

And Rep. Cassidy isn’t too hot on the idea either:

“If we are serious about fixing the economy, we have to be serious about energy.  The decision to eliminate access to domestic energy supply is a decision not to create domestic energy jobs and a decision to continue to send billions to OPEC nations.”

President Obama is expected to announce this afternoon that he will be mandating a 5 year ban on offshore drilling in “key areas” of the Gulf of Mexico and Atlantic Ocean.  In March, he had assuaged concerns over his offshore drilling policiy by opening up 500,000 square miles of U.S. coast for drilling.  At this time, this decision was a remarkable flip-flop from campaign promises to retain bans on offshore drilling, but it was a welcome and productive flip-flop at the least. However, now he appears to be going back on those statements in a disastrous return to early statements.  There is little information as of now on the announcement, but it is expected to come shortly.  For a President whose economic policies were the reason for destructive midterm Democratic losses this announcement is confounding.  It seems to beg the question that has been raised many times: does Barack Obama actually care about the prospects of the American economy? If actions are to be a representative answer, it would seem to suggest that he does not…
From the Washington Post:

Obama administration officials will announce Wednesday afternoon they will not allow offshore oil drilling in the eastern Gulf of Mexico or off the Atlantic and Pacific coasts as part of the next five-year drilling plan, according to sources briefed on the plan, reversing two key policy changes President Obama announced in late March.

During that announcement–less than a month before the BP oil spill–Obama and Interior Secretary Ken Salazar said they would open up the eastern Gulf and parts of the Atlantic, including off the coast of Virginia, to offshore oil and gas exploration.

Naturally, response in Louisiana and among the oil and gas industry to this announcement is less than enthusiastic. Said Don Briggs, presiden of the Louisiana Oil and Gas Association…

“We should not be surprised by the Obama Administrations, to not drill in the eastern Gulf of Mexico, this is simply a continuation of a policy of “no offshore” drilling. We are the only nation in the world that has nearly 100% of its OCS (Outer Continental Shelf) mineral resources off limits for development.  When gasoline prices climb to $5 a gallon, and they will … we will drill off Florida.” 




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