President Barack Obama says that Americans are “tired of talk” when it comes to rising gas prices. Unfortunately his administration continues to say one thing and do another on this critical economic front – ignoring opportunities to increase our oil supply while at the same time taking credit for production gains that he is actively seeking to dismantle.
Such doublespeak is obviously nothing new from Mr. Obama – although there is clearly a sense of urgency underlying his latest deception.
According to AAA, the average price of a gallon of gas in America reached $3.55 last week. That’s up 43 cents from a month ago – the second-fastest spike on record.
All told, gas prices have increased by 67 percent since Mr. Obama took office – and as the global economy grapples with a nuclear crisis in Japan, a sovereign debt crisis in Europe and war in the Middle East there is growing concern that further price hikes could put the brakes on a sluggish economic “recovery.”
In an effort to mollify these concerns, on March 8 the Obama administration released data showing that domestic oil production – at least in the Gulf of Mexico – had risen to its highest level in seven years.
“From 2008 to 2010, oil production from the Outer Continental Shelf increased more than a third – from 446 million barrels in 2008 to an more than 600 million barrels of estimated production in 2010,” White House climate change czar Heather Zichal said.
These figures – obtained from the U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA) – were trumpeted by Mr. Obama at a press conference four days later.
“Any notion that my administration has shut down oil production might make for a good political sound bite, but it doesn’t match up with reality,” Mr. Obama said. “We are encouraging offshore exploration and production.”
What the Obama administration neglects to point out, however, is that this expanded production is the result of policies implemented during the administration of former president George W. Bush. And while Mr. Obama announced a modest expansion of offshore drilling a year ago – he reversed course and imposed a six-month moratorium on new leases in the wake of the BP oil spill last summer. Also, earlier this month U.S. Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar told reporters that the “Obama moratorium” would be extended to cover the duration of the president’s first term in office.
So much for supporting expanded “exploration and production.”
He also failed to point out that domestic oil production remains 20 percent below its mid-1990 levels.
It’s down but it’s up. That’s normal Orwellian speak for him.
Not only that, leaked documents from the U.S. Department of Interior show that the Obama administration is considering closing off huge swaths of the Western United States to energy exploration – without Congressional approval or the consent of local authorities. (Townhall)
I guess this would be his near undeclared war that he’ll leave Congress out of the loop. After all, it’s for “good”, right?
The only thing expanding are job losses and the environmentalist LEFT’s need to be living in the 19th Century.
President Obama’s hometown of Chicago is nearly 1,000 miles from the Gulf of Mexico. But like many other communities across the country, it is suffering the consequences of his Administration’s anti-drilling agenda.
Illinois accounted for $376.2 million in shallow-water drilling expenditures over the past three years, according to an analysis by 14 oil and gas companies that spend money on vendors and subcontractors. The bulk of that money—$242.2 million—was spent in the Chicago district represented by Representative Danny Davis (D–IL).
It’s fresh evidence that Obama’s anti-drilling agenda is having a ripple effect across America since last year’s oil spill, claiming jobs not just in Louisiana and Texas but also in communities far removed from the shipyards in the Gulf of Mexico.
The study from the Shallow Water Energy Security Coalition paints a picture of the nationwide economic ramifications. Obama can’t even be blamed for playing politics. Five of the states that benefit most from shallow-water drilling backed him as a candidate in 2008. And Democrats represent many of the congressional districts that stand to lose millions.
The cost in jobs is startling. A new analysis by Louisiana State University professor Joseph Mason projects national job losses at 19,000 from the drilling moratorium, with wage losses at $1.1 billion. About one-third of those jobs are located outside the Gulf region.
Nearly a year after imposing his anti-drilling agenda, it’s quite clear that Obama is carrying out misguided policies causing widespread harm.
And job losses aren’t the only consequence. The Obama Administration’s deliberate delay in issuing permits for both deepwater and shallow-water drilling has led to a sharp decline in oil production for the Gulf of Mexico this year. The U.S. Energy Information Administration puts the figure at 240,000 fewer barrels every day.
With gas prices hovering around $3.56 per gallon nationwide, now is not the time to lower production. The only way to reduce America’s dependence on foreign oil is to produce more of it here at home.
The recent approval of new drilling permits for the Gulf of Mexico is a welcome and long overdue move by the Administration, but it’s nothing to celebrate. The pace of permitting is far below the historical average, and there’s no indication that the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management, Regulation and Enforcement (BOEMRE) has any desire to return production to a pre-spill level.
Until that happens, expect more grim news like the unfortunate circumstances facing Seahawk Drilling, which was forced to declare Chapter 11 bankruptcy, a direct result of the bureaucratic delays at BOEMRE. Seahawk’s president and chief executive Randy Stilley, writing in The Washington Post, painted a dire picture:
The government’s drastic slowdown in the issuance of permits for shallow-water drilling operations—in which companies work in familiar geological formations, typically in less than 500 feet of water, mostly seeking to produce natural gas—has all but crippled the industry. The survivors (for now) like Hercules are staying afloat largely thanks to revenue from operations outside U.S. waters. Put another way, a once-proud industry born in the gulf during the Truman administration can no longer survive on operations in its own back yard.
Unless things change soon, Seahawk Drilling won’t be alone. Businesses located in Illinois, Pennsylvania, Wisconsin, California, and New York—top recipients of shallow-water drilling spending—will all face economic consequences as well.
It’s time for lawmakers to take notice. Representative John Sullivan (R–OK), who represents a district with $87.2 million in shallow-water expenditures over the past three years, recognizes the impact. He told us: “Continuing to keep American sources of energy under lock and key by failing to issue drilling permits only serves to place American jobs at risk, drives up costs at the pump and deepens our dependence on foreign oil.”
Things don’t have to be this way. The House of Representatives must continue to conduct rigorous oversight of the Obama Administration, challenging the Administration’s excuses and applying pressure when necessary. America’s energy future depends on it. (Heritage Foundation)