Gas prices have risen 90% since Obama took office in January 2009. If current trends continue, it is estimated that the average family will pay $700 more this year for gas. That's a huge hit in the wallets of Americans already struggling with tough economic times.
To counter the longstanding impression that the Obama Administration is anti-energy, Obama took to the microphones on Friday. He made a number of statements that might sound good but once you dig a bit deeper you see the truth. Fox News has this report:
OBAMA: Last year, American oil production reached its highest level since 2003. Let me repeat that. Our oil production reached its highest level in seven years. Oil production from federal waters in the Gulf of Mexico reached an all-time high. For the first time in more than a decade, imports accounted for less than half of what we consumed.Really? Does anyone believe that?
So any notion that my administration has shut down oil production might make for a good political sound bite, but it doesn’t match up with reality. We are encouraging offshore exploration and production.
The Natural Resources Committee in the U.S. House of Representatives has compiled a lengthy list which documents the many steps the Obama Administration has taken to restrict oil and gas development.
Here are just a few highlights from the list:
- One of the Obama Administration’s first acts in February 2009 was to unilaterally cancel 77 leases offered for new energy production on tracts of land in Utah (it later backtracked slightly and allowed 17 of the 77 leases to go forward). That August, the Administration withdrew another 23,757 acres of land leased for energy production, and in March 2010 withdrew 61 leases in Montana and 4,400 acres in West Virginia, putting more energy under lock-and-key.
- Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar “scrapp[ed] leases for oil-shale development on federal land in Colorado, Utah and Wyoming.” The Heritage Foundation says “[t]he amount of oil available through oil shale is staggering,” and that “800 billion barrels of recoverable oil from oil shale in the Green River Formation is three times greater than the proven oil reserves of Saudi Arabia.”
After making what seemed like a compromise with very limited offshore drilling rights in March of 2010. the Administration reversed itself in December placing more areas off limits.
Regulations and Environmental Activism Blocking More Energy Production
It's not just oil drilling that is being blocked by the Obama Administration. In concert with their environmentalist allies, energy projects of nearly every type are under assault nationwide. The U.S. Chamber of Commerce has prepared a report which documents the energy projects that are stalled due to government regulatory and environmental activism. The chart below shows the projects which have been blocked, stalled or killed. The Chamber estimates that millions of jobs and trillions in economic activity are lost because of these efforts.
Obama Taking Credit for Clinton/Bush Policies
It's pretty undeniable the Obama Administration is doing everything they can to block development of our energy resources. So what about Obama's claim that "Last year, American oil production reached its highest level since 2003?" Technically, it's true, but no thanks to Obama. What gains there were in energy production were the result of Bush and Clinton era policies. In fact, we are producing 16% less oil than projected before the Obama Administration took power.
Plenty of Oil and Gas
A November 2010 study from the Congressional Research service shows just how much untapped oil and gas potential exists within the U.S.:
With the U.S. using approximately 7 billion barrels of oil per year, we have enough supply to last for decades as we transition to viable "green" alternatives using market forces.
The Hidden Agenda for Higher Gas Prices
Oil and natural gas remain the most efficient sources of energy and will continue to do so for the foreseeable future. Yet Obama and the Democrats have embarked on a deliberate campaign to make fossil fuels more expensive in their drive to reward their green friends who are heavy campaign contributors. It's no secret that people like former Vice President Al Gore have gotten rich by convincing the federal government to finance green alternatives to oil that would never make it in the free market without massive government subsidies.
It's also no secret that Obama and members of his Administration want higher gas prices as part of their extreme environmental agenda:
Sen. Obama In 2008: “[O]bama Suggested That The Main Problem With High Gasoline Prices Is Their Rapid Rise, Not Their Total Of About $4 A Gallon.” (Charles Babington and Jim Kuhnhenn, “One Down, More To Go For Republicans Aiding McCain,” The Associated Press, 6/12/08)It would not be fair to blame the entire increase in gas prices on Obama. But he and his Administration do bear a very great share of the blame. They have done absolutely NOTHING to insulate this country from price shocks caused by disturbances in the Middle East. Worse still, Obama's suggestion that his Administration is encouraging oil production is laughable and false on it's face! As the full bite of his anti-energy policies take hold we will become increasingly dependent on foreign oil for our survival!
Obama Thought That Americans Could “Adapt” To Higher Gas Prices. “But if the government gives middle-class families tax cuts and encourages the market ‘to adapt to these new circumstances more quickly, particularly U.S. automakers, then I think ultimately, we can come out of this stronger and have a more efficient energy policy than we do right now.’” (Charles Babington and Jim Kuhnhenn, “One Down, More To Go For Republicans Aiding McCain,” The Associated Press, 6/12/08)
And Obama Wasn’t Concerned That Cap-And-Trade Would Have Boosted Consumer Energy Prices, He Boasted That: “[U]nder My Plan Of A Cap And Trade System, Electricity Rates Would Necessarily Skyrocket.” (Sen. Barack Obama, Interview With San Francisco Chronicle Editorial Board, 1/17/08)
Energy Secretary Stephen Chu: “Somehow We Have To Figure Out How To Boost The Price Of Gasoline To The Levels In Europe.” (Neil King Jr. and Stephen Power, “Times Tough For Energy Overhaul, The Wall Street Journal,” 12/12/08)
Treasury Secretary Geithner Said The World Economy Can “Absorb” Higher Gas Prices. “Treasury Secretary Timothy F. Geithner expressed confidence Wednesday that the world economy can successfully absorb any spike in oil prices brought on by political unrest in Libya and the greater Middle East.” (Dan Balz, “Geithner Confident World Can Deal With Oil Price Spike,” The Washington Post, 2/23/11)