• The Heritage Network
    • Resize:
    • A
    • A
    • A
  • Donate
  • Obama’s Oil Spill Speech Overreaches on Cap and Trade, Cancelled Drilling

    A little over a month into the Gulf of Mexico oil spill, the American public wants answers– from the Obama administration, from Congress and from BP. While there are still many more questions than currently available answers, President Obama answered a few and dodged others in his speech today. He made a resounding push for clean energy legislation and referenced the House cap and trade bill passed last year and the one recently introduced in the Senate. He also suspended or canceled a number of lease sales off the coasts of American waters and extended a moratorium on deep-sea offshore oil drilling permits. The Gulf oil spill certainly presents an unprecedented economic and environmental disaster and challenge, but it should not be used as an excuse to ban offshore exploration and cancel leases outright or to overreach and make drilling prohibitively expensive. Furthermore, it should not be used to push clean energy agendas forward that will impose a significant burden on for American families, American businesses, and the American economy.

    Similar to Rahm Emanuel’s “You don’t ever want a crisis to go to waste” statement, President Obama urged both Democrats and Republicans to move quickly to pass cap and trade legislation. This is not the solution to America’s energy needs because cap and trade will raise energy prices, kill jobs and contract the economy. If “clean energy” legislation moves forward, higher energy costs will spread throughout the economy as producers everywhere try to cover their higher production costs by raising their product prices, further impacting Americans. The result will be a much slower economy and lost jobs at a time when the top priority for Americans is economic growth.

    Also adversely impacting America’s economic recovery and long-term energy policy in President Obama’s speech was his announcement to cancel or suspend lease sales in the Arctic, Atlantic and Western Gulf. “Domestic oil production is an important part of our overall energy needs,” President Obama said in his speech, but his announcements do not reflect that. There are billions of barrels of oil and trillions of cubic feet of natural gas under these waters that could possibly create tens of thousands of jobs as well as create revenues for financially strapped state governments and increase revenues for federal governments.

    The leasing process takes multiple years to complete and does already provide rigorous environmental and regulatory checks. If the president was sincere in his statement about the need for oil production, he would allow these lease sales to continue. Don’t forget, President Obama’s announcement in favor of offshore drilling in March of this year, only opened up a small portion and actually terminated other lease sales.

    It may, however, be a completely legitimate short-term policy to better analyze the technology on deep-sea offshore drilling; thus, temporarily halting the operation 33 exploratory deepwater rigs is a good decision – as long as the decision does not lead to unnecessarily delays. Figuring out why the blowout preventer and other failsafe mechanisms failed should still be of chief importance. As Heritage’s energy expert Ben Lieberman wrote, “As technology has advanced to allow exploration and drilling at great depths—in the case of Deepwater Horizon through 5,000 feet of water and 18,000 feet of sea floor—the challenge of dealing with spills under these conditions may have lagged.”

    Was it a result of human error or did the depths of the water or lack of available technology play a role? President Obama highlighted the technological difficulties of drilling offshore, saying, “The fact that oil companies now have to go a mile underwater and then drill another three miles below that in order to hit oil tells us something about the direction of the oil industry. Extraction is more expensive, and it is going to be inherently more risky.” In a recent post, colleague David Kreutzer explains that not all the “easily accessible” oil is gone.

    President Obama is right to focus on the environmental cleanup and holding BP accountable for the damage. He rightly said that BP and other oil industries, not the government, have the expertise in stopping the leak, which may be accomplished with the top-kill approach. The government finally approved Bobby Jindal’s request to build barrier islands, a man-made shield to protect Louisiana’s marshlands. The president said he is angry and frustrated – as are most Americans. But that frustration should not lead to policies that will shrink America’s economy, destroy jobs and affect America’s energy production for years to come.

    Posted in Energy [slideshow_deploy]

    18 Responses to Obama’s Oil Spill Speech Overreaches on Cap and Trade, Cancelled Drilling

    1. Pingback: » Financial News Update – 05/28/10 NoisyRoom.net: The Progressive Hunter

    2. Billie says:

      Really, Mr. President, you don't seem to be able to handle a crisis efficiently or effectively and you're putting us in a whole lot of them.

      The first thing a man with a brain would've done was put qualified people, who have an idea on how to control the situation you and your entourage are unqualified for. But you stall. Just to make it that much more of a crisis.

      How convenient to necessitate another imaginary urgency for cap n trade as a result to the illusionary, nonexistence of man made global warming.

      Look at all the crisis coming to head. All for the president to cower and beg sympathy. Don't be fooled.

      The only responsibility the president is seen to take on is irresponsibility. The president only takes accountability to be held unaccountable. We can only depend on the president to be undependable,, he is unreliable. He is a person the president of America should never be. HE IS NO HERO!

    3. liz naples fl says:

      How many people are out of work with off shore drilling shutting down? That the real impact.

    4. Nicolai Alatzas says:

      I live in St. Bernard Parish in Louisiana, the majority of the people here either work in the Oil Industry or Fishing Industry.

      I have heard a lot of harsh words towards BP, but locals aren't pointing the finger at Obama. We also remember how Bush forgot us during Katrina and how most of our neighbors have yet to return. So when the Republicans finger point at Obama we remember who really forgot South East Louisiana, and we also know how the Bush Administration deregulated standards that were in place to prevent disasters like this.

      It is common knowledge here that BP has a horrible track record of safety and no one really seems terribly surprised by the situation.

    5. Grace, Colorado says:

      Some of Obama Words from the Press Conference:

      The president went on to note that he "grew up in Hawaii where the ocean is sacred." (Does he think this statment makes him more legitimate as a leader?)

      If the laws on our books are inadequate to prevent such a spill… (Who can legislate to prevent accidents in any industry? The issue is do we have a PLAN for them when they happen!)

      …entire White House and this entire federal government has been singularly focused on how do WE stop the leak and how do WE prevent and mitigate the damage to our coastlines. (I think that means they are busy having the boot to the neck of BP- but what else were they doing?)

      …when it comes to stopping the leak down below, the federal government does NOT possess superior technology to BP… what assets do we have that could potentially help, that BP or other oil companies around the world do not have? We do NOT have superior technology, when it comes to dealing with this particular crisis. (SO, the Fed doesn't have any ASSETS to help to deal with it — come on! Where was the PLAN! Excuses, excuses, excuses!)

      …the secretary of Energy, and he brought together a team — basically, a BRAIN TRUST, some of the smartest folks we have at the national labs and in academia — to essentially serve as a oversight board with BP engineers and scientists in making calculations about how much mud could you pour down, how fast, without risking potentially the whole thing blowing. (SO, shockingly elite brains can't PLUG THE DAMN HOLE!)

      “I’m confident that people are going to look back and say that this administration was on top of what was an unprecedented crisis.” (Such Audacity!!!!!!!)

      All this makes me so sad for the Southern coast and it's hurting people!

    6. Mimi, New Orleans LA says:

      Well his trip to Louisiana seemed to have been a photo op and nothing more…

      cited source:

      An hour before he shows up buses start arriving on Grand Isle Beach and then after he leaves guess who else leaves?

      If this would have happened anywhere near California this would have been taken care of and stopped and it would have happened anywhere near the beaches of Maryland where all the politicians vacation at or even near Washington this thing would have been capped already but because it happened on the coast of Louisiana the hell with it ..

      This makes my point: http://www.realclearpolitics.com/video/2010/05/27

      IF California doesn't want any drilling on their coast than maybe they don't need the oil coming from the Gulf of Mexico. Maybe they should get it from all the illegals crossing into Arizona since they have boycotted the state that has the balls to do the job of the federal government isn't doing and abiding by the laws that are already on the books.

      People we need oil in our daily lives if it's for our cars to make products that we use on a daily bases. Plus, this is how so people make their living by working on these rigs.

      .sorry just so sick and tired of the LIBERAL media and all their stupid games and dog and pony shows to prop up this man who is so incompetent to do his job. He along with his Democratic controlled Washington will never take blame for any thing they have done wrong they always like to point and blame someone else.

      Just like he went after Goldman and Sachs after they gave him $994,795 in contributions but hey the media once again BIASED when will they finally do their job maybe only after he goes after what they make will they start doing their job.

      sorry for all the ranting just sick of this whole mess

    7. Billie says:

      Nicolai, what republicans are pointing the finger??? Katrina was a natural disaster the governor of New Orleans neglected refuge TO HIS OWN PEOPLE! Got himself out and then blamed it on Bush. Quit your pathetic narrow thinking and take ALL INTO CONSIDERATION!

      BP was awarded a high safety standard! "high safety standard" must be so low, it caused this man-made disaster and an excuse for Obama to call on cap n trade that no other drilling from other foreigners have to abide. His focus is destruction on AMERICA!

      Keep in mind Nicolai, some on this blog, like the freedom America is about and vote for those that represent it. It certainly isn't democrat.

      One thing I do see in democrats is they love your human weakness so they can expand government power. "vote for human weakness and corrupt leadership, vote democrat!"

    8. Pingback: MoConservativePatriot.com » Gulf Oil Spill and the Quid-pro-quo of Policy

    9. Don Mitchel says:

      Environmentalist should take note the President has stated their should be no doubt about it the government has been calling the shots from the beginning. As the news report, that dispersant used for days on end underwater, at the well head was an experiment never tried before underwater, was the Federal government even watching to see what the results of this would be or were they just wanting to keep the scope of the leak hidden. Now because of this, the environmental effects will take decades to understand and permanent harm to our food chain probably has taken place. With the administrations military ballast water plan following an international organization of business interest, (IMO) once these plumes reach shipping lanes it will be dispersed around the world as the IMO policy of dilution being the solution to pollution, with there spit and swish ocean flushes is what our president has planned for our regulations. Hopefully the ships entering our Great Lakes after ocean flushing will now be checked for oil as well as invasive s.

    10. Dogsman5 says:

      Why doesn't the media stick to reporting what is and has happened and quit speculating on what may happen?They're just making the situation worse!

    11. Dogsman5 says:


    12. Ken St Louis says:

      C'mon folks, everybody knows we have a moron for president!!This guy woulodn't make a pimple on George Ws rear end! If the dems weren't in bed with the enviro crazies we'd be drilling in Anwar, there'd be no spill in the gulf, and prices would probabley be down from were they are today! We got the inmates running the nut house! Reminds me of and old joke. A Guys driving down the road when the wheel runs off his car right in front of and asylum. Theres a guy inside the fence who sees it happen. The motorist says to him I don't know what to do. The inmate says take one lug nut off the other 3 wheels! He says, your not nuts! He says, yeah I'm nuts, but I'm not STUPID!

    13. mike swann says:

      president bush warned and more than once, for the Louisianna resident to evacuate. I listened to the people being interviewed in N. Orleans. Some, did not think it would be so bad and were staying, etc. The weather bureau warned them 5 years prior to Katrina it was coming, up until the last minute. Mayor Nagin, democrat let the buses go under water rather than put the poor on it and evacuate. Bush asked the woman govenor about help and she said she needed time to think. This democrat waited one week, while her people were dying. I heard bush offer the national guard and she needed to think about it. Gibve me a break. Besides air force one could not land and sbush had to view the mess from the plane window. Nagin and the govenor are to blame. sorry. Mike S

    14. Pingback: Gas Prices Under President Obama in Pictures | The Foundry: Conservative Policy News.

    15. Pingback: Gas Prices Under President Obama in Pictures | Step Down Obama

    16. Pingback: Gas prices up 55% under Obama « The IUSB Vision Weblog

    17. Pingback: 70% Expect $4-A-Gallon Gas by July – 49% clueless to Obama connection : USACTION NEWS

    18. Pingback: GOP Journal » Is Current Energy Policy Pro-Environment or Just Anti-American?

    Comments are subject to approval and moderation. We remind everyone that The Heritage Foundation promotes a civil society where ideas and debate flourish. Please be respectful of each other and the subjects of any criticism. While we may not always agree on policy, we should all agree that being appropriately informed is everyone's intention visiting this site. Profanity, lewdness, personal attacks, and other forms of incivility will not be tolerated. Please keep your thoughts brief and avoid ALL CAPS. While we respect your first amendment rights, we are obligated to our readers to maintain these standards. Thanks for joining the conversation.

    Big Government Is NOT the Answer

    Your tax dollars are being spent on programs that we really don't need.

    I Agree I Disagree ×

    Get Heritage In Your Inbox — FREE!

    Heritage Foundation e-mails keep you updated on the ongoing policy battles in Washington and around the country.