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The American Voice Institute of Public Policy Blogs the Issues!

Monday, April 5, 2010

America's energy needs will not be met by Obama's ruse of reversing off shore oil ban

By Joel P. Rutkowski, Ph.D., President

On Wednesday, March 31, 2010, President Barack Obama announced his plan for allowing the exploration of gas and oil off the coast of the southern Atlantic coastline, in the eastern Gulf of Mexico and some parts of Alaska, but canceled some Alaska lease sales planned for the next two years in Chukchi and Beaufort seas.  This puts billions of barrels of oil off limits for now that could possibly account for more oil than the new areas proposed in President Obama's plan.  The areas with canceled leases could hold up to 77 billion barrels of oil, or more than three times the nation's total proven reserves indicates the Institute for Energy Research. 

Furthermore, Americans should not be fooled by another ruse by President Obama who campaigned on restricting access to domestic fossil fuel energy sources.  And he went on the record in a speech at the United Nations in September 2009 saying, “I will work with my colleagues at the G20 to phase out fossil fuel subsidies so we can better address our climate challenge.”  What should be noted is that his plan only allows energy companies to explore not drill, not produce energy from … just explore.

Within a month of taking office in 2009, Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar froze drilling leases already approved by the outgoing George W Bush administration. And on whether to allow new drilling Mr. Salazar imposed a six-month public comment period to precede his decision. In fact, the Interior secretary suppressed the results when the comment period ended in September. The public reaction still has not been published by the Interior secretary who was displeased with the public reaction that favored drilling by a margin of 2 to 1 from comments totaling 530,000.  This public support for domestic energy drilling is confirmed by a February Pew Research Center poll that showed 63 percent support of offshore oil and natural gas drilling. 

According to the United Stated (U.S.) Geological Survey the first tract of land eligible for exploration — just off Virginia's coast — holds an estimated 130 million barrels of crude.  At America's current consumption levels of 19.5 million barrels a day this is barely enough to satisfy this nation's energy needs for six days.   Therefore, since there is not enough oil in these regions, lifting the drilling ban will accomplish little at best and will do nothing to lower the price of gasoline that is approaching $3 a gallon which since President  Obama has taken office has increased $ 1.

In fact, a lease plan was already set to take effect that would have opened vast expanses of the Outer Continental Shelf.  This would drastically have increased this nation's ability to explore its domestic energy sources if President Obama proposed no plan at all.

Final thoughts 

Tragically, in the short term, the President's plan decreases the regions available for oil and gas exploration in an attempt to confuse voters that he supports the drilling and production of domestic energy sources.  President Obama knows that the American people support domestic energy drilling. This gesture is an attempt to appease Americans and lull them into apathy for the coming big government draconian regulations soon to come.

President Obama needs both Republican and “moderate” Democrat support to get a much sought after cap-and-trade bill through the Senate. Thus, President Obama's announced plan for allowing the exploration of gas and oil is only a Trojan Horse.  The only Republican currently interested in cap-and-trade is Senator of South Carolina Lindsey Graham who wants included in the bill increased oil and gas production and nuclear power. Also, to help President Obama win the support of other Senate swing votes that include Senator of Alaska Lisa Murkowski (R) and Senator of Louisiana Mary Landrieu (D) is the reason for his pro-drilling rhetoric. When the President announced his plan to the public, he spent little time talking about producing more oil. He limited his remarks to a proposal merely for more oil "exploration" — not to increase production and supply and spent the majority of the time speaking about how America needs to use less oil and how the nation needs to altogether wean itself off oil.

Stalled in the Senate is climate change legislation that if the Congress will not cap U.S. emissions, the Obama administration has a Plan B  that will allow the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to do it.  Frustrated with the legislative process of being able to get Congress to pass energy tax legislation, the President will usurp the democratic process and have as early as this week the EPA declare that carbon dioxide (CO2 ) is a dangerous global warming gas and immediately start regulating its emissions. This draconian regulation will result in the loss of millions of jobs as businesses cope with higher operating costs forced on them by government edicts, and the remnants of the American manufacturing sector will be forced off shore to nations such as Communist China where energy is less expensive and there is no concern about CO2..  And for the individual consumer, it will mean two-three times higher electricity bills and very possibly $8 for a gallon of gas.

The energy policy of the Obama administration is unfortunately viewed through “green” eyeshades.  Every approach of President Obama's energy policy is subordinated to a radical “green” environmental agenda. As America's energy demands are increasing, President Obama prefers that the nation shift its energy production to alternative sources, such as nuclear, solar and wind power.  For example, in March, Energy Secretary Steven Chu addressed CERAWeek 2010, a premier industry conference hosted by IHS Cambridge Energy Research Associates and promoted bio-refineries and windmills to oil executives as the administration announced a three-year offshore drilling ban.  Secretary Chu supports 53 percent more funding for wind research and a 22 percent increase for solar research. Federal and state governments have given huge subsidies to alternative energy, which has proved to be neither cost-effective nor a reliable, significant contributor to the national power grid.

As America declines economically under President Obama and this nation's energy demands increase with no other means of meeting this demand except by the importation of foreign fossil fuels, one needs to focus on radical “green” environmental groups that stop the exploration and development of new fossil fuel resources in America. If the energy policy of America does not meet the radical “green” energy focus of these groups, it does not matter what legislation Congress passes to encourage the drilling of domestic energy resources or what ban a President removes on energy drilling.  Each time the government grants an oil company a lease off shore or on land, radical environmental groups will use every tactic possible on the local, state and federal level to prevent the drilling for domestic fossil fuels and challenge this process and shop it to environmentally friendly courts such as the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals.

The current attacks of President Obama on the energy producers of this nation will only weaken this nation economically as well as militaristically. America needs to harness its domestic fossil fuels if it is to sustain economic growth, produce jobs and keep this nation's businesses competitive.   If it does not use its domestic energy resources it will have to purchase it from nations that are often hostile to America and support terrorism and rogue nations throughout the globe. Drilling in America is economically feasible because of the current price of oil and the private sector should be allowed to harness these resources. U.S. energy policy should view domestic energy resources as strategic resources critical to America's economy and national security.


1.      Brian Winter, “Obama to allow off-shore oil drilling in new areas, USA TODAY, March 31, 2010.

2.      Kara Rowland and Stephen Dinan, “Drilling plan opens new areas but halts Alaska salesThe Washington Times, April 1, 2010.

3.      Alan Caruba, “Drill Here, Drill Now, Despite Obama's LiesCanada  Free Press, April 1, 2010 .

4.      Fred Dardick , “Obama to Crush Economy with Massive CO2 Taxes as Early as Next Week, “ Canada Free Press, April 1, 2010 .

5.      Juliet Eilperin and David A. Fahrenthold, “Lawmakers move to restrain EPA on climate changeThe Washington Post , March 5, 2010.

6.      “Chortling At ChuInvestors Business Daily, March 12, 2010.

7.      Steve Milloy , “The President's Oil Drilling Bait-N-SwitchInvestors Business Daily, March 31, 2010.

8.       “Obama surrenders gulf oil to MoscowThe Washington Times, March 18, 2010.



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