Obama’s Mind-Boggling Energy Policy

President Obama’s energy policy continues to become, to quote Alice in Lewis Carroll’s Through the Looking Glass, “curiouser and curiouser.”

A few weeks ago, the president and members of his staff were touting the fact that domestic oil production in 2010 was at the highest level since 2003. No doubt they were repeating that mantra in part to push back against critics of the offshore oil and gas moratorium and “permitorium” the Obama administration put in place after the Macondo spill in the Gulf of Mexico. If that was their intent, it simply doesn’t fly. The increase in oil production last year came primarily from the production of leases developed in the years prior to President Obama’s election when Outer Continental Shelf (OCS) drilling wasn’t outlawed or inhibited to the degree that it is now. In fact, it was a political mistake for the president and his spokespersons to try to take implied credit for increased oil production last year. It will lead to comparisons that will soon show just how harmful the president’s policy is to oil production at a time when the price of gasoline is skyrocketing. Those chickens will soon be coming home to roost.

A “hat tip” is in order here to “Vladimir” (someone who makes a living taking risks to find oil) who posted an excellent article recently, on the effects of the Gulf drilling moratorium on future oil production in the U.S. The article quotes Obama’s own Energy Information Agency (EIA) to point out the hypocrisy of the administration’s boasting about increased oil production. According to the EIA data, in 2011 oil production in the Gulf of Mexico will underperform pre-spill estimates by 130 million barrels. In 2012 that shortfall increases to 200 million barrels. As the blog post notes, that is 10 percent of total domestic oil production—and the losses continue into the future due to the action taken by President Obama.

Demand for oil to power vehicles, heat homes, and provide feedstocks for manufacturing is not projected to diminish in the future. That means oil prices are going to soar even higher than the current levels, which will impact the national economic recovery.

To add insult to injury, on his trip to Brazil, the president was effusive about using our taxpayers’ dollars to help expand OCS drilling—not here but off the coast of Brazil! He wants more oil, but he doesn’t want Americans to get the jobs and the economic boost from producing it. He wants those positive effects to go to Brazilians. Go figure.

Most Americans don’t realize that there is already considerable OCS drilling going on in the Gulf of Mexico—in Cuban, not American, waters. Nine nations are developing leases off of Cuba within the shadows of the Florida coast while some deep-water rigs that were set to drill in the OCS off of Louisiana have gone to Brazil, Africa and other regions.

There are tremendous reserves of oil in shale deposits onshore in the U.S., but federal policies are preventing those promising reserves (over 800 billion barrels potentially) from being developed. The U.S. is importing 10 million barrels of crude oil a day. The oil available from shale plays and the OCS can remove that dependence on foreign sources for decades to come. Instead of moving forward with an energy policy that gives this nation the secure supplies it needs, the Obama administration is moving in the opposite direction. Keeping our energy future at risk while killing American jobs and investments is an energy policy that, indeed, keeps getting curiouser and curiouser.



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