Many liberals in the media are expressing shock over Obama's apparent willingness to increase oil production. We all know that he is full of ..., I mean ethanol, and they do too.
Those of you who were befuddled at the news that Obama will 'expand drilling' in Alaska are not missing anything. Obama has pulled this political chicanery a number of times. Whenever a specific proposal that he so adamantly opposes becomes too popular to ignore, he announces his support for it by promising to implement inconsequential reforms. To that end, he declared during his Saturday radio address that he is "directing the Department of Interior to conduct annual lease sales in Alaska’s National Petroleum Reserve, while respecting sensitive areas, and to speed up the evaluation of oil and gas resources in the mid and south Atlantic".
So we are to believe that the Beaufort and Chukchi Seas and ANWR, all of which are impounded from drilling leases by the administration, are more sensitive than Alaska's National Petroleum Reserve? Caribou, baby, Caribou in ANWR; drill, baby, drill in ANPR? Think again.
Here is the report from The Hill:
President Obama announced Saturday the government would hold annual onshore lease sales in Alaska’s National Petroleum Reserve; extend the life of leases in the Gulf of Mexico and in some areas off the coast of Alaska for one year; speed up ongoing Interior Department testing in the mid- and south-Atlantic to gauge the level of resources; and establish an interagency task force to coordinate permitting for offshore drilling in Alaska.
The White House is making the policy shifts after taking intense criticism from Republicans in recent weeks over energy policy as gas prices have topped $4 per gallon in some parts of the country.Many of the proposals are incremental expansions of existing policies and had been set in motion prior to Saturday’s announcement. It’s also unclear by how much the plan will increase domestic oil production. (emphasis added)
Once again, Obama is attempting to diffuse disquiet over his anti-energy policies by embracing the opposition through inconsequential and empty promises. He attempted this stratagem earlier this year when he announced wholesale regulatory reform in a Wall Street Journal op-ed. Amidst growing pressure to roll back job killing regulations, Obama announced a momentous effort to "study" onerous regulations. Needless to say, the regulations in the federal register have only grown since his vapid announcement. In fact, he is attempting to regulate every facet of our economy; from the broadband providers to oil refineries, without congressional approval. Nonetheless, he is still studying the problem.
Obama used the same ploy in his State of the Union Address by embracing popular policies, such as a corporate tax cuts and tort reform. We haven't heard about them since the address and probably never will.
His promise to reform land lease permits and to allow drilling in Alaska is another attempt at subterfuge for the purpose of tamping down the outrage toward his job-killing, anti-growth policies. After all, didn't the administration oppose all three GOP bills that would implement some of these very changes just last week? House Natural Resources Committee Chairman Doc Hastings (R-WA) released the following statement on Obama's radio address:
“In the last week, House Republicans passed three bipartisan bills that will create 1.2 million jobs, triple American offshore oil production and generate $840 million in revenue - real action to produce real American energy. It’s ironic that while the White House and Congressional Democrats strongly criticized these efforts, President Obama is now taking tiny baby steps in our direction. The President is finally admitting what Republicans have known all along - that increasing the supply of American energy will help lower prices and create jobs. One weekend address announcing minor policy tinkering, while positive, does not erase the Administration’s long job-destroying record of locking-up America’s energy resources.”
As Drudge observed yesterday, Obama made the exact same pledge over a year ago, immediately preceding his inexorable and unprecedented moratorium on drilling in the Gulf of Mexico and the Outer Continental Shelf (OCS). Sadly, the New York Times was credulous enough to believe it and carried water for Obama by headlining a story at that time titled, "Obama to Open Offshore Areas to Oil Drilling for First Time." That didn't exactly work out according to plan.
As such, don't be fooled by this foxhole conversion. His speech does not reflect a newfound obsequious to the will of the American people; he will never abdicate his radical ideology so easily. Moreover, his political appointees at the Department of Energy and Department of Interior will wait for the inevitable lawsuits from environmental legal defense groups to scuttle the plans. That is what the administration did when they blocked Shel Oil from drilling in the Arctic Ocean. The environmentalists are already chomping at the bit. And as is the case with every other proposal, he will encumber any meaningful drilling policies with endless environmental impact studies. It's akin to Obama's promises of securing the border, even as his minions at the Department of Homeland Security instruct ICE agents not to apprehend non-criminal aliens. Talk is cheap, Mr. President, and in your case, it is worthless.
Call your members of congress and request that they support H.R. 1777, which would implement comprehensive pro-energy reforms, such as opening ANWR for drilling, streamlining the permit and leasing process, and lawsuit reform (summary and commentary here). Let's unmask Obama's fallacious attempt at being pro-energy and make him take a stand against real energy production legislation!