Landry Wasn’t The Only One Kicking Salazar’s Butt Yesterday…

…the Interior Secretary also took it on the chin from U.S. Rep. John Fleming (R-Shreveport) at the House Natural Resources Committee yesterday.

Fleming’s questioning got Salazar to make the asinine statements that there are 126 rigs in the Gulf at present – despite the fact that more than half of those rigs are sitting dockside and not working – and that oil production in the Gulf is on the increase. The latter is a dubious claim in the first place (more on that below), and it’s also irrelevant, since current production is a function of previous leasing and exploratory drilling – which are the things Fleming and U.S. Rep. Jeff Landry took Salazar to task for in the first place. Production will fall off without new drilling, because well production falls off as time goes by. You have to constantly drill new wells to keep production up. Of course, with countries like Libya and Bahrain devolving into chaos and Saudi Arabia perhaps not far behind, there won’t be many new wells drilled in those countries – which means the price of crude is headed for the stars.

Which U.S. Rep. Bill Flores (R-Texas), who has actually worked in the oil business, nailed Salazar on later in the hearing.

And by the way, the Heritage Foundation wasn’t impressed with Salazar’s claim that Gulf oil production “remains at an all-time high.”

This is an audaciously out of touch statement. According to the Energy Information Administration, the Obama offshore drilling moratorium will cause a 13-percent fall in domestic offshore oil production this year, which translates to a loss of about 220,000 barrels of oil a day. That means lower GDP growth for the nation, higher gas prices for all Americans, lower tax revenues for the federal government, and most importantly, fewer jobs for Americans living in the Gulf region.

Heritage goes on. It seems that 20 months into the economic recovery which began in the Reagan administration, unemployment had fallen 3.3 percent – from 10.8 percent to 7.5 percent. In 20 months since the so-called Obama recovery began, it’s fallen all of one-half percent.

So why was the Reagan recovery so strong and why is the Obama recovery so weak? Just look at the best job markets in 2010 according to Gallup: “More than half of the 10 best job markets in 2010 were in energy- and commodity-producing states.” And what has President Obama done to help this job growth spread? Nothing. In fact, his cancellation of drilling permits across the West and his offshore drilling slowdown have undoubtedly slowed job creation in this sector. So what have been the hot job markets in the Obama Recovery? Gallup explains: “Reflecting the growth of the federal government, the District of Columbia was not only the second-best job market but also the second-most improved job market in 2010.” The Department of Labor Statistics confirms Gallup’s analysis: Since President Barack Obama was sworn into office, the private sector workforce has shrunk by 2.6 percent while shedding 2.9 million jobs, but the federal workforce (excluding Census and Postal workers) has grown by 7 percent while adding more than 144,000 jobs.

The energy industry is the most important industry in the world. Without energy, nothing else in a modern economy is possible.

One of our favorite movies, obviously, is Red Dawn. And though he’s the villain in the movie, the Russian Col. Strelnikov has perhaps the best line in it. Namely, that “Lies have the stench of death and defeat.”

Salazar sure isn’t Strelnikov. He’s more like the wimpy mayor of the town who watches as the Russians and Cubans slaughter his citizens. The stench of death (of the domestic energy sector and the jobs it carries with it) and defeat (of America’s economy) wafted into the hearing room with him yesterday, without question.

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