U.S. Inches Toward Goal of Energy Independence
Taken together, the increasing production and declining consumption have unexpectedly brought the United States markedly closer to a goal that has tantalized presidents since Richard Nixon: independence from foreign energy sources, a milestone that could reconfigure American foreign policy, the economy and more. In 2011, the country imported just 45 percent of the liquid fuels it used, down from a record high of 60 percent in 2005. …
How the country made this turnabout is a story of industry-friendly policies started by President Bush and largely continued by President Obama — many over the objections of environmental advocates — as well as technological advances that have allowed the extraction of oil and gas once considered too difficult and too expensive to reach. But mainly it is a story of the complex economics of energy, which sometimes seems to operate by its own rules of supply and demand.
[Emphasis added. Link may require subscription.]
Winston Smith and the boys over at the Ministry of Truth must really be
burning the midnight oil utilizing stored solar energy.
When they start disappearing history down the memory hole, stories like my diary from last week will be a priority: Flashback to 2009: Administration Policies Sought to Discourage ‘Overproduction’ of Oil.
In the interest of bureaucratic efficiency, I’ve assembled a list of other diary entries, dating back to the Campaign of 2008, that document a history of Obama’s hostility to domestic oil and gas production. These, of course, will need to be ‘sanitized’ in order to conform with The New Truth.
9/27/2008: Energy: The “Yes, We Can!” Man Says “No, We Can’t!” . Witness the birth of Obama’s Big Energy Lie™:
During last night’s [Presidential] debate, Candidate Barack Obama perpetuated one of the most pernicious memes of the current energy debate, one that lets the candidate of “Yes, We Can!” wrongly declare “No, We Can’t!” when it comes to energy policy.
The meme: The U.S. consumes 25% of the world’s petroleum, but contains only 3% of the world’s reserves. Therefore, there is no point in trying to drill our way out of our current energy dilemma. Or so the defeatist thinking goes. …
“Oil Reserves” are to “Oil Resources” as “A Bushel of Apples” is to “An Orchard”
12/11/2008: Carol Browner for Energy Czar? Carol Browner?!
1/12/2009: Shades of 1984: Socialist International Expunges Carol Browner’s Links to Group: Officially, the job was the head of the White House Office of Energy and Climate Change Policy. Efforts to institute a Cap-and-Trade system came to naught. Ms. Browner left the Administration in 2011 after assuming a prominent role in the Deepwater Horizon response.
1/27/2009: Obama Remarks Re: Energy and the Environment
ENERGY DO’s: CAFE standards, high tire pressure, cute light bulbs, insulation (how long to pay that back?), investing in new green jobs (whatever those are), emphasis on the proven science of Climate Change
ENERGY DON’Ts: Domestic oil, gas and coal, nuclear energy, ANWR, OCS, acting like a grownup
$4.00/gallon gasoline is in your future, it’s just that this time, more than half of it will be tax.
[I got it right, except for the last part… Ed.]
2/18/2009: Rookie Energy Secretary Neglects to Read His Own Job Description : “Nobel-laureate Energy Secretary Dr. Steven Chu did not realize that lobbying OPEC on matters like price and production levels falls under his purview.”
As I said, we may disagree whether the industry ‘deserves’ favorable tax treatment, but it would be asinine to think that by ‘reforming’ tax policy you’re going to enhance domestic energy security. This is a measure to punish oil and gas, but you my friends are going to share the pain.
[Of the proposals mentioned in the diary, the tax changes are still on the table. Royalty and rental rates on Federal leases have been “reformed” (i.e., raised). The point of this post is that consumers proved they would pay $4.00/gallon for gas in 2008; with gas around $2.00/gallon at the time, it was too big a target for the government to resist.]
3/1/2009: What is a gallon of gasoline worth? In which Obama’s Budget Director Peter Orzsag admits that the President’s Cap-and-Trade proposal would inevitably make carbon-based energy more expensive for all consumers.
3/5/2009: Tim Geithner Makes a Pair of Scary Statements “‘We don’t believe it makes sense to significantly subsidize the production and use of sources of energy (like oil and gas) that are dramatically going to add to our climate change (problem). We don’t think that’s good economic policy and we think changing those incentives [i.e., raising energy prices across the board] is good for the country,’ Geithner told the Senate Finance Committee…”
3/17/2009: Mr. Obama: Why Do I Feel Like There’s a Target on My Back? Obama’s increased taxes on oil and gas would have mainly affected the “independent” tier of companies that drill 90% of domestic wells.
4/20/2009: The Let’s-Hogtie-the-American-Economy-and-Throw-It-In-the-Ditch Act of 2009 The American Clean Energy and Security Act of 2009 (ACES),
…”contains all the expected Lefty prescriptions for dealing with Energy Security and Climate Change: green jobs, rebates, CAFE standards, Cap’n’Trade, and – get this – carbon tariffs. There is concern from some quarters that it creates an individual right to sue companies, based on ‘harm’, or the expectation of harm, from Global Warming. What it does not do is deal with real concerns about energy security or supply while we transition to the Brave New World: there is no mention of nuclear power generation or an increased role for natural gas.”
All bloviating about “Energy Independence” aside, the White House’s new budget proves that the main goal vis a vis the domestic energy industry is to maximize the extraction of tax dollars. The inevitable result will be the permanent crippling of the industry and the loss of millions of jobs. In the meantime, say goodbye to whatever shot at Energy Security that the U.S. ever had.
I’ve also heard a couple of times recently from high-ranking Dept of Interior officials (namely Sec. Ken Salazar and MMS official Chris Oynes [who would be subsequently fired as one of the scapegoats in the wake of the Deepwater Horizon disaster]) that the government is looking at royalty schemes that would increase its direct take in mineral revenue. Higher royalty rates generally make exploration less attractive from the oil company’s perspective.
Even if Our Energy Future is one of gumdrops, rainbow unicorns and Magic Windmills, it ain’t going to happen tomorrow, babe. Or in 10 years. The grownups in the room must realize that there is a role for fossil fuels (which, together with nukes and non-P.C. renewables account for 99.5% of current energy use), even if it is only to bridge the gap to that new future.
Ooops. There’s the problem. There are no grownups in the room.
7/10/2009: Mr. Obama, Tear Down That Wall! Reprint of a letter to President Obama from 20 public policy groups. Excerpt:
Taken separately, each of these events has cost the American people millions of units of usable energy, and potentially billions of dollars in lost wages, revenues and royalties. Taken together, they represent critical points along a troubling arc of activity that, more often than not, has appeared to rise and fall in favor of narrow special interests, and against those whose quality of life and living standards depend on reasonable access to affordable and secure energy. The United States cannot meet your goal, Mr. President, of reducing our dependence on foreign oil,” if we refuse to allow our people to work toward producing more of it here ourselves.
Executive bans may be lifted, and congressional ones may have lapsed. But make no mistake: a de facto ban on more than 1.2 billion acres of energy-rich submerged land remains very much in place. And its consequences are every bit as severe as those associated with its statutory predecessors. The United States needs to end its embargo against its own oil supplies—both in policy, and in practice.
5/27/2010: MMS Chief Out: ‘Heckuva Job, Lizzie!’ It was clear from the résumés of the political appointees in the Minerals Management Service that at the outset the Administration had no serious interest in oil and gas; the MMS was to be one of the flagship agencies in the new Green Energy future, as it reinvented itself to promote Offshore Wind! Then a little unpleasantness known as the Deepwater Horizon disaster intruded:
In today’s press conference, President Obama claimed to know nothing of MMS Director Liz Birnbaum’s sudden departure. Whatever. Let’s consider Liz’s qualifications to be the head of the agency charged with regulating rigs like the Deepwater Horizon and 30% of domestic oil production.
Brown/Harvard Law? Check. Environmental lawyer? Check. Environmental policy wonk? Check. Experienced with oil and gas technology?
< chirp … chirp … >
Liz’s bio … is chock-full of counseling, coordinating, legislating and advocating, but very little doing. I posit that Ms. Birnbaum would not know an oil well if she fell into one.
Under Obama and Interior Secretary Ken Salazar, the Minerals Management Service became an instrument by which the Administration advances its Green Energy/Green Jobs vision. The MMS Cape Wind and other renewable projects were the way to really get noticed within the agency. Oil and gas were so … so, over.
Other MMS top management resumes can be found here. [Link no longer active. – Ed.] Note that the emphasis is heavy on environmental activism, light on oil and gas experience.
The notion that Obama has done anything “industry friendly” during his term in office is simply absurd. All of the oil production gains came from two places: the deepwater offshore, and on private lands onshore, under state jurisdiction. The big deepwater fields were leased, drilled and sanctioned during the Clinton and Bush II administrations — those fields take too long to develop to help out in the short term, remember?
That’s just a selection from the RedState 3.0 archive. Most of the articles above were original “member diaries” written by my alter ego ‘Vladimir’, before I was a front-pager. I haven’t yet explored the RS 2.0 archive; I amy do that in the future, if Winston and the boys don’t beat me to it.
Cross-posted at stevemaley.com