BRIGGS: More Presidential Rhetoric

The United States of America has now witnessed over five years of Barack Obama as president and numerous State of The Union (SOTU) addresses. One thing that can be said of him regarding the oil and gas industry is his consistency. He consistently promises to reduce red tape surrounding new permits for oil and gas exploration and drilling, and this has yet to happened. He promises to, in his own words from last night’s address, “keep working with industry to sustain production and job growth”, and we have not seen this yet. And he never fails to take credit for the oil and gas domestic revolution that America is experiencing today.

Last night, him referencing that he would “keep working” with the industry has much of the oil and gas industry scratching their heads in wonder of how this has been done? It is clear, for starters, a few specific ways that his rhetoric and actions do not align.

For example, while the president praised the oil and natural gas industry in his rhetoric, he quickly promoted his onerous tax policies by saying that he would like to “eliminate $4 billion in tax subsidies for the fossil fuel industries that don’t need it”. Again, while he does recognize the oil and gas industry’s contribution to our nation’s economic recovery, his policies say just the opposite.

Also, last year in his 2013 SOTU address he promised to “keep cutting red tape and speeding up new oil and natural gas permits”. Not only has this not happened, but in fact, his administration, one year later, has done just the opposite by delaying and cancelling many of the oil and gas permits that have been submitted.

The Keystone XL pipeline, a proposed pipeline from Canada to the Gulf of Mexico, that would provide over 20,000 jobs and billions of dollars to our national economy, has simply been hung up in the political system. Secretary of State, John Kerry, whose office is charged with approving the Keystone, said recently that “the United States would not be pushed into making a decision” on the Keystone pipeline. After five years in office, the Keystone has not been approved.

In President Obama’s 2010 SOTU address, he pushed for opening more coastal waters for drilling. Specifically, he talked of opening the waters from Delaware to the Central Florida coast. In all, this would be an additional 167 million acres of ocean floor to explore. It is now 2014, and this additional opening of waters has yet to occur.

And finally, while President Obama continues to take credit for the current energy revolution in the United States, the true credit does not rest with one individual. The credit should be given to the hard-working men and women of the American oil and gas industry who give their time, energy and focus on creating an energy secure United States. Yes, the United States did produce more oil domestically than was imported. Yes, the United States now has well over a hundred year supply of natural gas thanks to the advancements in lateral drilling and hydraulic fracturing. But, thankfully, we still live in a capitalistic free market, which allows no one man to take credit. If the president truly desires to see our country flourish, it is time for the oil and gas industry to see his rhetoric turn into action.

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