There seemed to have been a collective sigh of relief across the country. After over two years of waging war on domestic energy production which helped to boost gas prices over four dollars/gallon ($4.58 in my neighborhood), President Obama announced a new energy plan that would allow an increase and acceleration of domestic energy production.
Well…that’s until one examines his words. That’s when you realize that the POTUS left himself enough “outs” to make his plan worthless.
I am 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. We plan to lease new areas in the Gulf of Mexico as well, and work to create new incentives for industry to develop their unused leases both on and offshore.
Oh great! Finally drilling at ANWR? Not on your life. The National Petroleum Reserve is not ANWR it’s next the desired drilling area. Kind of like telling a new president that instead of the White House he would have to live at 1700 Pennsylvania Avenue.
The President didn’t mention drilling in ANWR, he said “respecting sensitive areas,” which was a signal to the important environmentalist constituency, that he did not mean ANWR
The map above describes the ANWAR situation. ANWR sits within a 20 million-acre refuge (the size of South Carolina), but thanks to advanced technology like directional drilling, the aggregated drilling footprint (the dot pointed to by the arrow) would be less than 2,000 acres (about one-quarter the size of Dulles Airport). This is like laying a 2-by-3-foot welcome mat on a basketball court.
That little oil field has
mean expected 10.4 billion barrels of technically recoverable oil, according to the government’s own survey. Once up and running, ANWR alone could yield one million barrels of oil per day in production, which would make it the single-largest producing field in North America.
According to environmentalists, a major progressive voting constituency, energy development, especially on that little one-hundredth of one percent of the ANWAR land cannot be compatible with the protection of wildlife and their habitat. This is not true.
In the case of the Alaskan North Slope drilling, caribou herds have grown and remained healthy throughout more than three decades of oil development.
His other words in the paragraph above were “speed up the evaluation of oil and gas resources in the mid and south Atlantic.” With confidence I can tell Obama will follow these words to the letter. Surely he will speed up any evaluation of our Oil and Gas resources to determine whether they represent viable spots for drilling. What he will not do however, is speed up the long “environmental impact” process.
One of Ken Salazar’s first acts as Secretary of Interior was canceling 77 Utah oil and gas leases that had gone through seven years of studies, negotiations and land-use planning. In an instant, he eliminated hundreds of jobs, terminated access to vital oil and gas deposits, and deprived taxpayers of millions in lease bonus, rent, royalty and tax revenues. In short he was making us more defendant on foreign oil instead of exploiting our reserves which are larger than any other country on this planet.
What Obama’s Secretary of Interior did instead was to extend the environmental process. In January 2010, Secretary Salazar announced a new policy expanding environmental reviews before leasing federal lands to the oil and gas industry.
There was no mention of changing this delaying policy in his words yesterday. Dooming any potential new oil reserves to years of federal roadblocks.
There was also no mention by the President of our vast shale oil reserves.The Green River shale formation in Utah, Wyoming, and Colorado, has an estimated 800 billion barrels of oil, which is three times the proven reserves of Saudi Arabia. In the Bakken oil shale formation in the Dakotas, there are an estimated 20 billion barrels of oil.
What seemed as an epiphany by President Obama yesterday was nothing of the kind, it was simply a collection of empty words, as was his earlier promise to lift his oil moratorium in the Gulf, which resulted only in decreased production and many of his other promises, such as his signature health plan not causing people change providers.
So at least with his words on Saturday, President Obama’s new energy plan is “same as the old plan.”
I’ll tip my hat to the new constitution
Take a bow for the new revolution
Smile and grin at the change all around me
Pick up my guitar and play
Just like yesterday
Then I’ll get on my knees and pray
We don’t get fooled again
Don’t get fooled again