Had enough yet?
The Obama administration is poised to ban offshore oil drilling on the outer continental shelf until 2012 or beyond. Meanwhile, Russia is making a bold strategic leap to begin drilling for oil in the Gulf of Mexico. While the United States attempts to shift gears to alternative fuels to battle the purported evils of carbon emissions, Russia will erect oil derricks off the Cuban coast.
Offshore oil production makes economic sense. It creates jobs and helps fulfill America’s vast energy needs. It contributes to the gross domestic product and does not increase the trade deficit. Higher oil supply helps keep a lid on rising prices, and greater American production gives the United States more influence over the global market.
Drilling is also wildly popular with the public. A Pew Research Center poll from February showed 63 percent support for offshore drilling for oil and natural gas. Americans understand the fundamental points: The oil is there, and we need it. If we don’t drill it out, we have to buy it from other countries. Last year, the U.S. government even helped Brazil underwrite offshore drilling in the Tupi oil field near Rio de Janeiro. The current price of oil makes drilling economically feasible, so why not let the private sector go ahead and get our oil?
The Obama administration, however, views energy policy through green eyeshades. Every aspect of its approach to energy is subordinated to radical environmental concerns. This unprecedented lack of balance is placing offshore oil resources off-limits. The O Force would prefer the country shift its energy production to alternative sources, such as nuclear, solar and wind power. In theory, there’s nothing wrong with that, in the long run, assuming technology can catch up to demand. But we have not yet reached the green utopia, we won’t get there anytime soon, and America needs more oil now.
UPDATE – Steve Forbes: Obama repeating Carter’s mistakes…
You need to watch only a few minutes of cable news analysis to realize just how ludicrous our national energy policies have become. As escalating tensions and chaos unfold in Egypt, Libya and other Middle Eastern nations, one energy analyst suggested that if Libyan oil supplies were to fail, the United States would rely on Saudi Arabia for its oil needs. If that statement alone doesn’t put U.S. leaders on red alert, the looming national energy crisis may soon become reality.
The Obama administration is repeating the mistakes of President Jimmy Carter’s failed energy policies, which marred his term and stigmatized the 1970s. They are leading us straight into another national energy disaster.
Key members of the Obama administration believe this friction abroad underscores the need to move away from oil and gas entirely and shift to boutique forms of alternative energy. Their lack of political will to drill for oil and gas compromises our national security and jeopardizes economic recovery.
It skirts the colossal elephant in the room: Oil and natural gas produced here in the United States are likely to still account for at least 57 percent of domestic energy consumption by 2035. Not to mention that energy production here can relieve the U.S. from the dangerous grip of foreign petro dictators.
Unfortunately, this administration’s Department of the Interior, with the most anti-oil-and-gas record in U.S. history, is sabotaging any real chance of avoiding the pending energy crisis because of its continued hold on deepwater drilling permits in the Gulf of Mexico.
When Interior Secretary Ken Salazar heads before the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee on Wednesday, Americans — particularly the 9.2 million directly or indirectly working in the oil and gas industry — would be ill served if the question isn’t asked: Are the thousands, and counting, of out-of-work Americans in the Gulf region and beyond a worthwhile consequence of your department’s freeze?