Obama's Drilling Plans Increase US Dependence on Foreign Energy

Obama's Drilling Plans Increase US Dependence on Foreign Energy (Pt. 2)-A Political Opening For GOP


April 19, 201010:55 AM MST

On April 1st President Obama announced the expansion of oil and gas exploration off the coast of the southern US and in the Gulf of Mexico. In the same policy address, he made another announcement, one that raises concerns about America’s energy future. He declared off-limits Alaska’s northern coast, an area that studies have shown can supply America with a prodigious amount of oil and natural gasfor years to come.


Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar says Obama terminated energy development in these areas because of the "unanswered questions" about the environmental impact of drilling in the region’s Chukchi andBeaufort seas.. Salazar insists we need to engage in “the kind of scientific gathering that will give us the answers to some key questions." Geologists think such a rationale unsatisfactory. They contend that prior research has already determined that drilling will not harm the natural environment.


Salazar cited another quite different reason for not drilling off Alaska’s north coast. The Alaska region, he claims, is simply not as productive as everyone thinks! Such a conclusion would seem to fly in the face of an exhaustive 2008 US Geological Survey report which estimated that the Arctic Circle region holds 1.6 quadrillion ( 1600 trillion) cubic feet of undiscovered gas, 30% of the world's supply, and 83 billion barrels of undiscovered oil, 13% of the world's total.

Salazar believes that there is only the equivalent of 3 billion barrels of “economically recoverable” oil, loosely defined as oil worth the price per barrel to pursue.


Since the Obama speech the administration has moved to restrict drilling elsewhere. In response to complaints from environmentalists, the Bureau of Land Management announced it was going to delay a scheduled oil and natural gas lease sale in Montana and North and South Dakota to study the impact of potential greenhouse gases. TheAmerican Petroleum Institute says that this decision to factor greenhouse gases into the leasing decision takes BLM into “unchartered territory " and will delay or prevent much-need investment and development in the region.


The Administration is offering little hope that it will ever approve energy development of another major oil and gas repository, the Alaska National Wildlife Refuge. "The fact of the matter is that the Alaska National Wildlife Refuge is not on the map for exploration or development," Secretary Salazar said recently. "It never has been under President Obama.”


Obama clearly believes that we do not have to tap into our huge oil and gas reserves to solve our energy problems. He devoted much of his speech to praising alternative “clean and green” energy sources such as biomass, hybrid cars and advanced batteries. Delivering his address in an Air Force hangar, Obama directed the audience’s attention to a nearby fighter plane that “will be the first plane ever to fly faster than the speed of sound on a fuel mix that is half biomass.” If the Air Force can run on biofuels, Obama reasoned, so can the nation’s factories and homes.


The political ramifications of Obama’s decisions are enormous. The price at the gas pump has jumped from $2.00 to $3.00 since Barack Obama assumed the presidency. Political opponents will be quick to link any further increases in the price of gas to Obama’s unwillingness to tap into the Alaskan energy cornucopia. They will also point out that his decision to limit drilling in the nation’s Outer Continental Shelf will cost Americans jobs at a time when we desperately need job creation. According to the American Energy Alliance, opening the OCS will create

1.2 million jobs annually across the country and increase the GDP by $8 trillion.


From now until November, the GOP will most certainly remind Americans that the President is refusing to take the actions necessary to reduce energy dependence, lower gas prices, create jobs,

and shrink the national debt. A few days after the speech former Alaska Governor Sarah Palin, speaking at the Southern Republican Leadership Conference, mockingly described Obama’s drilling pronouncement as “stall baby stall,” not “drill baby drill.” At their national rallies the various Tea Parties slammed Obama’s reluctance to drill in the OCS and elsewhere. Libertarians, a growing force in both major parties, have broadened the debate to one over whether the Federal government is overstepping its Constitutional authority in telling states and private businesses where they can and cannot drill for oil, gas, and other minerals.


The President is correct that the US must develop a new generation of fuel sources. Unfortunately, biomass and windmills will not power the factories, cities, and homes of the American nation whose population will expand to 400 million by 2050. We must instead develop 21st century energy sources such as nuclear fusion, wireless energy technologies, as well as clean coal. We must also aggressively drill for the oil and natural gas in our Outer Continental shelf.


Without a pro-growth “expansionary” energy policy, the US cannot retain its position as global economic, political, and military leader.





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