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  • One Tiny Cheer for Obama on Drilling

    President Obama has often said that we need more oil and gas drilling in the United States, but rarely have the Administration’s actions matched his rhetoric. In his weekly video address, however, the President called for more lease sales in Alaska’s National Petroleum Reserve, extended leases in the Gulf of Mexico and the Arctic Ocean, and expedited preliminary reviews to move forward with drilling off the Atlantic coasts.

    House Natural Resources chairman Doc Hastings (R–WA) hit the nail on the head when he labeled President Obama’s announcement as “tiny baby steps,” and for that the President receives one tiny cheer.

    But there are plenty of opportunities for the President to earn more cheers when it comes to energy policy that can help the economy as a whole. With regards to his weekly address, here are four of them:

    1. Really open up Alaska. Although increasing production in the Alaska’s National Petroleum Reserve is a welcoming step, it’s a far cry from the state’s true potential. The Arctic National Wildlife Refuge—which holds an estimated 10 billion barrels of oil beneath a few thousand acres—is still off limits, and the Administration wants to keep it that way. Further, 27 billion barrels lie off the coasts of Alaska that Shell was eager to explore and develop, spending five years and over $4 billion to do so. But the Administration’s U.S. Environmental Appeals Board delayed the plans by withholding air quality permits because Shell did not take into consideration greenhouse gas emissions from an ice-breaking vessel that would affect a one-square-mile village of 245 people 70 miles from the offshore drilling site. Currently, Shell is applying for new licenses.
    2. Stop blaming speculators and traders. In his weekly address, Obama mentioned his call for an investigative task force to root out causes of fraud in the market. Finger-pointing at speculators and formation of a gas task force to investigate prices at the pump ignore the real cause of rising gas prices: supply and demand coupled with a weak dollar. The allegations of speculators manipulating the market occur every time gas prices rise. They have been investigated numerous times by the Federal Trade Commission and others and have been found to be without merit, but few critics are ever convinced. Several Federal Reserve studies found no correlation between speculation and the price of any commodity.
    3. Don’t punish the oil industry. President Obama repeated his call for repealing “tax subsidies” for the oil and gas industry, saying that the $4 billion in tax breaks “isn’t fair” and “makes no sense.” What truly makes no sense is targeting a specific industry because gas prices are high and they’re making a profit. These are not tax subsidies. The tax breaks that the President wants to repeal are tax breaks that are not specific to the oil and gas industry, and repealing them would be a punitive tax hike on the industry.
    4. Let the market work. President Obama used the speech to make his traditional call for more “investments” in wind and solar technologies. Interestingly, when the government gives a handout to a hand-picked industry, it’s an investment, but a broadly applied tax break is a taxpayer-funded subsidy. And as Heritage’s David Kreutzer points out, the production tax credit for wind accounts for 40 percent of the wholesale cost of electricity on average, and even if you did consider the $4 billion in tax breaks as a subsidy, it pales in comparison to what renewable energy receives. It’s not the government’s role to be determining what energy we produce, nor is it a good use of taxpayer dollars. Furthermore, pushing for pricier wind and solar in response to high gas prices is a non sequitur, because these sources of energy affect electricity generation, not transportation fuels.

    We’ll be happy to commend the Administration when it opens up access to all of our domestic resources so that industry can develop and produce oil and gas in a safe and timely manner—and when the government allows the market to determine which industry can provide the lowest cost form of energy for consumers. Until then, this Administration’s energy agenda is largely anti-energy.

    Posted in Energy [slideshow_deploy]

    17 Responses to One Tiny Cheer for Obama on Drilling

    1. Jim, Wisconsin says:

      Selling the leases is one thing, actually granting permits is yet another. Obama can say he opened up more leases, but with the EPA and his administration really opposed to oil, I don't expect to see any great increase in domestic oil production under this administration. Thanks

    2. Pingback: One Tiny Cheer for Obama on Drilling – Heritage.org (blog) | The Petro Reporter

    3. George Colgrove, VA says:

      The Drudge Report showed that by reposting an old NYT article that Obama is nothing more than promices. I will wait to praise Obama even a tiny bit when I see some results.

      The two headlines (Sat 5/14):

      19:00:39 NYT 2011: Obama oil plan 'expands drilling in Alaska and prospect of new exploration off Atlantic coast'… *

      19:00:39 NYT 2010: Obama oil plan 'to open vast expanses of water along Atlantic coastline, eastern Gulf of Mexico, north coast of Alaska'… *

      Here is my prediction for next year:

      NYT 2012: Obama oil plan 'to emplore the rich reserves in . . ."

      The beauty here, it will be his last announcement of oil exploration and drilling as president.

      We need to get government out of these things. It is nothing more than politics getting in the way of our lives.

    4. Jeanne Stotler,Woodb says:

      Amen, George. I find BHO is all talk and no action. If he truly believed in what he was saying he would not have opposed all the permits requested since the oil spill, he opposed our Gov. here in Virginia, when he wanted to drill off our coast, and just recently offered to help Brazil financially saying the USA wuld be their best customer. BHO is giving US funds to other countries like Santa Claus at Christmas, while we have a 9+% jobless rate, buildings falling down around tenents ears, this within earshot of the White House, the highest use of Foodstamps ever and homeless increased looking worse than the days of the "Big depression". Maybe these who have lost their homes and jobs need to do what was in the '20's, put up a "Tent City" on the National Mall, this is visibe from the WH.

    5. Stirling, Pennsylvan says:

      I wouldn't belive the President's recent pro drilling, since I'm sure this is just a result of his "Election mode say anything to get re-elected" mode. If he is re-elected he will go back to the normal shut-down mode for the oil industry in America. His past actions speak louder then his hollow words.

    6. Ed, Reno Nevada says:

      We have an event about 80 miles Northeast of Reno called "Burning Man". The event draws around 30,000 people to the Black Rock Desert just east of Gerlach a town of 200. The organizers basically build a city on the dry lake bed to accomodate the "Burners" The BLM issues a permit for this event every year. Apparently this where Google found one of its key management people and the History Channel did a program on LSD and mention Burning Man as one of the last areas of free expression and rampant LSD use.

      If the EPA is worried about the emissions from an oil tanker 70 miles away from the source in Alaska, why don't they comment on "Burning Man"? The carbon foot print and the impact on the small communities is an order of magnitude greater than the oil tanker problem in Alaska. I would guess a number of the "Burners" are staunch supporters of the EPA and some probably work for the EPA.

    7. allen says:

      The Oil Drilling announcment is nothing but the hand-in-hand promotion to HELP the Sierra Club with the Big Promotion they are running now, The Club wasn't gettting the kick so he comes along and gives this promotion a boost, The Prs. will kill this order after the promo runs it course.

    8. Robert, North Richla says:

      First, we know the drilling moratorium and our inability to access our abundant Alaskan oil resources (on a mere 2,000 acres) is inexcusable. Why do you constantly harp on big, bad Obama when we know where he stands? Does Heritage not understand the basic, fundamental purpose of Congress? Yes, the House passed two bills recently – to hopefully open up some oil resources – but they know full well these will die in the Senate. Mitch McConnell lost the perfect opportunity to lead in March and April, while gas prices were rising (and they will be back). He only has to persuade two democrats to take charge of this issue, so you need to address your future complaints to him! And please stop begging off the speculation issue. Is Heritage now relying on the Federal Reserve for information? Speculators have always been present, and during the 1990's only 30% of the commodity trades were speculative (as opposed to hedging), while since 2000 70% of the trades have been speculative thanks to the Enron loophole. Your position is an insult to the entire travel industry, the airline industry, the swimming pool industry, the kitchen and bath industry and the housing industry – not to mention every single working American that loses more of their discretionary income to these manipulated gas prices.

    9. R Holland, Chandler, says:

      Our Campaigner-in-Chief will talk the talk now about drilling for oil. But will reverse himself and let the EPA shut down oil drilling after he gets re-elected. He is playing the campaign game on us, he can't be trusted.

    10. Lloyd Scallan (New O says:

      Has HF gone completely nuts? Has the author slipped over to the dark side by thinking for one moment that Obama will again actually defy his radical left environmentialist base and allow drilling anywhere in America, in particular Alaska?

      Have we not learned that Obama is an accomplished liar? Have we not learned that Obama is delibertly using every means at his disposal to destroy our economical system by forcing us away from fossil fuels? Have we not listened to Obama and his lackeys say on camera they want higher gas prices? Have we not learned by his latest pack of lies in El Paso that his is in "campaign mode" and is saying anything and meaning nothing, knowing full well the main-stream media and DC politicians will cover for him.

      Remember last years, just a few weeks after he was hailed for announcing,

      with great fanfare, that he would approve more oil and gas exploration off our coast. What happened? The BP blow-out and subsequent spill, that was made much worse because of Obama delibert actions, non-actions, and manipulations. What "crises" await us this year after this announcement?

      Should we not realize that politicians such as Doc Hestings will make

      excuses and praise Obama for taking "baby steps" because, although his is

      listed Republican, his is from a pure "blue" state where liberalism is a way of life

      and conservativeism is a dirty word.

      Wake-up America! We might see a few lease sales in the future, but sales does

      not mean drilling. Be assured, the EPA, DOI, FDA, and every other Obama led government agency will find reason to NOT allow drilling.

    11. Tim AZ says:

      This strategy is taken out of the tired old liberal play book. It's called good cop bad cop. When the One needs to win a re-election and he can't rely on his accomplishments over his last four years as president. What else can he do? Well first he calls a meeting with the staff that he appointed to the appropriate govt. agencies and explain to them that he's got to call for an increase of oil production in America in order to win his re-election. Then he tells his staff that your job is to make sure it never happens. I will then blame you. Americans are so stupid they won't realize that I appointed you and they will think I'm a victim of run away govt. agencies. Don't worry I'll pretend I can't fire you. This is so warn out it just might work. Had enough yet?

    12. Jim Z, Somerset, NJ, says:

      America needs to wake up and realize that Obama will say WHATEVER he thinks will buy him time. He will lie directly to us while feverishly working behind the scenes to accomplish his socialist goals. Whenever you hear him take a pro-business or pro-US position you can rest assured it is just to buy himself some time so that when we wake up and realize what he has done, it will be too late to change it.

    13. Leon Lundquist, Dura says:

      Nicolas, I will believe it when I see it! Obama is always braying about something he is going to do. Trouble is, he never does anything real and the Captive Media jabber on like he really did something! All he ever seems to do is LIE very, very well! We have a gigantic investment in the Alaska Oil Pipeline! Thanks to Obama, is is running at 60%. He plans to waste this American Resource! So yeah! "Hip hippo squeek!" he did one teensy tiny thing right. And that is supposed to cover his ass for the Ten Thousand Things he does Wrong? But he hasn't done anything, DONE the thing. It is still all talk!

      Ask Sarah Palin? She was False Prosecuted a hundred times! She still suffers from the massive Black Operations attack on her! It was Black Ops on the whole State of Alaska! Small States are easy pickin's for the Half Vast Left Wing Conspiracy! They are Demolition Plutocrats! They are Demolishing Representative Government! "To Hell with what the People want!" says Precedent Obama. He doesn't give a damn about Representation! Obama's insistance that American Oil Companies just shrink and go away is NOT what the People want!

    14. Rick74, Manassas, VA says:

      Evaluate the individual on his actions, and not on his promises.

      When listening to President Obama, … , well …

      We'll see, eh?

    15. Pingback: Energy and Environment News

    16. Pingback: Stop Demonizing Oil Profits | The Foundry

    17. Pat Finch Al. says:

      I work in the oil industry and we have had only a few very few permits approved. The Obama adminastration and congress and the senate are all to blame for the mess we are in. Wether they be rep. or dem. You cannot believe anything these people say. It is all by design that the US economy fails the elite think they will be imune to the failure of this country they have a rude awakening comming to them.

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