Yes, Virginia, President Obama Is An Oil Hypocrite
Despite taking credit for rising oil production on private and state lands he has nothing to do with, and claiming he supports opening up areas for domestic exploration as part of his "all-of-the-above" energy policy, President Obama in fact despises domestic fossil fuel production and moves to block it at every opportunity.
During a visit to Norfolk, Va., last week, Interior Secretary Ken Salazar and Bureau of Ocean Energy Management director Tommy Beaudreau released a draft document for public comment on plans for oil exploration, drilling and possible lease sales off the Atlantic coast from Florida to New Jersey.
It's yet another delaying tactic, part of the administration's study forever, drill never strategy.
The Interior Department announcement set in motion a five-year environmental and seismic study of offshore areas, including off the Virginia coast, but no actual lease sales and drilling. Virginia Gov. Bob McDonnell notes that a planned lease sale, which the administration canceled last year, will now be put off until at least 2018.
In 2008, in response to record-high gasoline prices, both Congress and President George W. Bush lifted the decades-long ban on offshore drilling. This opened the entire Pacific and Atlantic Coast to new offshore drilling. Lifting this ban allowed the scheduled Virginia lease sale in 2011 to proceed.
However, the Obama administration first delayed the Virginia lease sale until 2012 and then later announced that no areas off the Atlantic Coast would be available for energy development in the next five-year plan (2012-2017).
"Making decisions based on sound science, public input and the best information available is a critical component to this administration's all-of-the-above energy strategy," Salazar said with a straight face in Norfolk last Wednesday.
It is this concern for "safety" that has delayed the Keystone XL pipeline from Canada that would bring at least 700,000 additional barrels of oil a day from the oil sands of Alberta to Gulf Coast refineries.
It would also facilitate production from the Bakken oil shale formation in North Dakota, now estimated to hold 24 billion barrels of oil.
In the name of safety, the Gulf of Mexico drilling moratorium imposed in the wake of the Deepwater Horizon oil-rig explosion has continued in the form of a glacial process of issuing permits.