Nobody’s Too Happy About Obama’s Energy Proposals

This is one of those posts which more or less writes itself. And since I’ve been pretty much indisposed most of the day and missed all the fun, turning the post over to the post is probably the smartest idea.

We’ve already had Don Briggs’ take on the president’s energy speech earlier today. Here was Sen. David Vitter’s…

Vitter is putting out a domestic energy bill of his own tomorrow, along with a bunch of sponsors in the House.

Then there was Rep. John Fleming, whose statement more or less echoed Vitter’s…

Congressman John Fleming, M.D. released the following statement today after a House Natural Resources Committee hearing where he questioned Bureau of Ocean Energy Management Regulation and Enforcement (BOEMRE) Director Michael R. Bromwich on repeated claims by the Obama administration that oil production is up in the Gulf of Mexico.

Today, the Obama administration admitted to misleading the American taxpayer on oil production in the Gulf of Mexico. Congressman Fleming questioned BOEMRE Director Bromwich on oil production in the Gulf and Director Bromwich said, “Right now, [oil production] has not gone down and it’s at its highest levels ever.”

After seeing the facts from the Energy Information Administration, Fleming asked, “What’s your data?” to which Director Bromwich responded “What I was telling you was based on my understanding of the fact that of what the level of production was. If I was in error I inadvertently made an error. I know that the projections for the second half of 2011 are supposed to go down. My understanding, again perhaps incorrect, was that we were now at the highest levels we’ve been. If you’re telling me the highest levels based on data you have, I don’t have data in front of me, was reached in 2010, I’m not going to reject that.”

Director Bromwich’s admission that oil production is down in the Gulf finally sets the record straight from past statements of the Obama administration. On March 11, 2011 President Obama said “oil production from Federal waters in the Gulf reached an all time high.” On March 3, when Congressman Fleming pressed Interior Secretary Ken Salazar on oil production in the Gulf, Secretary Salazar said “production has remained at an all time high.”

Congressman Fleming added, “Today, the Obama administration finally admitted to the American people that oil production in the Gulf of Mexico is actually DOWN as a result of President Obama’s disastrous energy policy that is driven by liberal ideology rather than the facts.”

And then, or course, we have Jim Adams from the Offshore Marine Service Association, who is just about the best go-to guy you can find on matters related to the moratorium and Obama’s oil and gas policy in general…

“Once again, President Obama is sending us into the Bizarro World. He says he wants to cut America’s dependence on foreign oil, then his administration refuses to approve but a handful of deepwater drilling permits in the Gulf of Mexico.

“The President says he wants incentives for domestic drilling, then seeks new limits on drilling leases.

“Even Superman could not find his way out of this convoluted logic.

“It’s time President Obama got back to the real world and offered a real solution to rising gas prices and our nation’s growing dependence on foreign oil. Let Gulf workers get back to exploring for oil in America’s waters.

“We’ve said it before and we’ll say it again: It’s the permits, stupid.”

But while all of these are colorful statements, reader Walt Garlington from Monroe, Louisiana has ’em all beat. He sent us this – which offers a very interesting solution to the situation…

When looking at any sign advertising the price of gasoline or diesel fuel, the effect of the Obama administration’s drilling ban in the Gulf of Mexico could not be clearer.  And the full scope of the troubles wrought by this ban encompasses more than higher fuel costs alone.

Many seem to think that Louisiana and the other Gulf states are completely at the mercy of the federal government vis-à-vis offshore drilling.  However, if Louisiana and her sister states are willing to study history and to show a modicum of courage and independence, there are steps that can be taken to mend what the federal government hath made ill.

The first step is recognising the fundamental characteristics of our polity.  The United States are not, and were never intended to be, a centralised, homogeneous nation with an all-powerful federal government directing all aspects of the citizens’ lives, whether moral, political, or economic.  No, the genius of our Union is the division of power between federal, state, and local governments; and the limited nature of government at each of these levels.

This historical truth carries profound implications – first and foremost being this declaration of Thomas Jefferson’s from the Kentucky Resolutions of 1798:  ‘…the several States composing the United States of America, are not united on the principle of unlimited submission to their General [i.e., federal] Government’.  The federal government, itself a creation of the states, is instead constrained by the U.S. Constitution (USC), he continues, which grants the federal government only limited powers to carry out those few tasks given to it in the USC.

Should this agent of the states attempt to exercise powers not granted to it, or to utilise those that are granted for purposes not included in the charter, then those federal actions are ‘unauthoritative, void, and of no force’, according to Jefferson, and are to be resisted by the state governments and other institutions the citizens of the states have seen fit to establish.

These state and local checks quite effectively kept the federal government from exceeding its legitimate powers during the years of the early American Republic, but this salutary system was overturned with the onset of the War between the States.  Now that we are beginning to recover from our ‘re-founding’ at the hands of Pres. Lincoln and those likeminded centralisers who followed him, nullification is once again being practised in states all across the Union on laws ranging from Obamacare to the requirement of a national ID card.

The revival of this safeguard – whether called nullification, veto, interposition, etc. – comes at a critical time.  The federal government has for years claimed the right to regulate drilling off the coast of Louisiana and other states bordering seas and oceans, even though such a power is not granted to the federal government in the USC; nor does such mining within the territory of a state constitute ‘interstate commerce’ that could be regulated by the federal government under Article I, Section 8, Clause 3, of the USC.

Because Louisiana has acquiesced in these baseless federal claims and the resultant federal permitting scheme, thousands here have lost their jobs; drilling companies and associated businesses are losing massive amounts of money (and in some cases going bankrupt); and fuel prices have risen dramatically.

This, then, is the time for Louisiana’s state and local governments, and other public or private institutions, to seek justice for their fellow citizens, to perform their duty to uphold the USC and Louisiana’s own Constitution, by nullifying the federal permitting process in favour of permitting by state or local agencies.

To this end, the Louisiana State Sovereignty Committee (LSSC) has drafted model legislation, the Freedom to Drill Act; it is available for viewing at lassc.wordpress.com .  I encourage everyone to contact the governor, your state legislators, and your local parish and city officials and ask them to back the Freedom to Drill Act or something substantially similar.  Contact information for state officials is available at the LSSC web site.

Gov. Jindal and many others around the state, from both public and private sectors, have so far been content simply to complain about the drilling ban or to beg the federal government to change its behavior, displaying an unseemly devotion to the cult of federal power and its corollary, apathy toward or disdain for local authority and decision-making.  But sniveling and groveling will not revive the drilling industry:  Only action will do that.  And the correct action in this situation, the ‘rightful remedy’ according to Jefferson, Madison, et al., is nullification.

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