Monday, July 28, 2014
PLACERVILLE, CALIFORNIA
99 CENTS

My turn: Obama’s energy policy schizophrenia

By
From page A4 | March 14, 2012 |

Matthews Merrill

President Obama’s recent attempt to convince the country he is the most pro-energy president in decades reminds me of the Ralph Waldo Emerson observation that “a foolish consistency is the hobgoblin of little minds.”

If true, the president must have one of those big minds because he has never been constrained by consistency.

In his recent State of the Union address, Obama claimed more domestic oil and gas are being drilled than at any time in decades. The only problem with his boast is all of that expanded drilling is going on in spite of the president’s efforts to limit it.

As a candidate, Obama made it clear he wanted to transition the United States away from oil, coal and natural gas to clean energy sources, like solar, wind and biofuels. As president he has done his best to keep that promise.

His strategy is twofold: (1) hinder or stop development of traditional energy sources, (2) while pumping billions of taxpayer dollars to his green energy friends.

He has succeeded on both fronts — sort of.

There is a drilling explosion, thanks mostly to new drilling techniques such as “fracking.” But drilling is mostly being done on privately held land. The president and his traditional-energy skeptics have little control over those resources. So these developments are booming, creating jobs and helping swell local tax revenues.

Obama has also been successful in handing out billions of taxpayer dollars to green-energy projects. However, that effort has taken a hit due to a string of high-profile failures like Solyndra ($535 million loan guarantee), Beacon Power ($43 million loan guarantee), and, most recently, Ener1 (used $55 million of a $118 million government grant).

Now that Obama is in full campaign mode, he wants to confuse the record to convince Americans that he is leading the energy-production charge. But the facts speak for themselves.

For example, almost immediately upon taking office, Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar began withdrawing tracts of public land that had already been approved for oil and gas leasing. Most of these tracts had undergone a thorough, seven-year-long environmental review.

Six days later Salazar put a six-month delay on an offshore-drilling program. Soon after, the Interior Department decided to prioritize solar-energy development, which had the practical impact of removing large swaths of federal lands from traditional energy exploration.

Frustrated with the administration’s stonewalling, the Institute for Energy Research released a statement in December 2009 that included the following stunning stats: “To date, the Obama Administration has offered 2,888,354 onshore acres for lease, of which 1,028,299 have actually been leased. The administration also rescinded or deferred 77,055 acres that were issued for lease in Utah in 2008. Accounting for this subtraction, fewer onshore acres were leased in 2009 than any other year on record.”

Are you detecting a pattern? There’s more, lots more.

In March 2010 the Obama administration announced it would delay an offshore drilling plan and only make available a fraction of the offshore land that had been previously agreed upon.

The Deepwater Horizon drilling rig that exploded in the Gulf on April 20, 2010, led to the biggest oil spill in history. So it was understandable, albeit economically damaging, when the administration responded with a moratorium on new drilling in the Gulf.

But a federal judge struck down the moratorium. So Salazar just issued another, newly worded moratorium — in essence, defying a federal judge. The administration eventually lifted the moratorium in October, but drilling applicants then began to notice that permits were being slow-walked through the approval process. By December, the offshore ban was largely reinstated.

By February 2011, a federal judge found the Department of Interior in contempt of court for its foot-dragging.

And, of course, Obama recently nixed the Keystone XL pipeline that would have carried millions of barrels of Canadian oil to Texas for refining.

So when the president claimed that he’s “opened millions of new acres for oil and gas exploration” and that he’s ordering his administration “to open more than 75 percent of our potential offshore oil and gas resources,” the public should be skeptical.

This is the same president who claimed health-insurance premiums would go down by $2,500 by the end of his first term. You’ll be lucky if they only go up $2,500.

Obama has done more to block traditional energy production than any president in history. Inconsistency may not trouble him, but it will voters.

Merrill Matthews is a resident scholar with the Institute for Policy Innovation in Dallas.

Comments

comments

Merrill Matthews

.

News

 
County’s chief lawyer: No Brown Act violation

By Chris Daley | From Page: A1

General Plan workshop today

By Chris Daley | From Page: A1

 
Two growth control initiatives get green light

By Dawn Hodson | From Page: A1

Sand Fire burns more than 4,000 acres

By Dawn Hodson | From Page: A1, 2 Comments | Gallery

 
Fatal accident in Camino

By Cole Mayer | From Page: A1 | Gallery

Agricultural Crop and Livestock Report released

By Ross Branch | From Page: A3

 
35 people displaced in Tahoe hotel fire

By Tahoe Tribune | From Page: A3 | Gallery

.

Opinion

The balancing act: Toxic waste spreads

By Larry Weitzman | From Page: A4, 2 Comments

 
Bee-ing silly

By Mountain Democrat | From Page: A4, 1 Comment

 
.

Letters

Letter to Speaker of the House

By Letters to the Editor | From Page: A5, 2 Comments

 
GDPUD misinformation

By Letters to the Editor | From Page: A5

At the crossroads

By Letters to the Editor | From Page: A5, 1 Comment

 
Want more water?

By Letters to the Editor | From Page: A5, 1 Comment

Refugee crisis

By Letters to the Editor | From Page: A5, 1 Comment

 
.

Sports

Camp experience is ‘priceless’

By Mike Bush | From Page: A6 | Gallery

 
Speedway races cancelled

By Democrat Staff | From Page: A6

El Dorado doubles up on Pro Players

By Mike Bush | From Page: A6 | Gallery

 
Under the Scoreboard: July 26, 2014

By Democrat Staff | From Page: A6

Schedule: July 28 – Aug. 2, 2014

By Democrat Staff | From Page: A6

 
Roundup: July 26, 2014

By Democrat Staff | From Page: A6

Local spiker shines

By Democrat Staff | From Page: A7

 
Sports Scene: July 26, 2014

By Democrat Staff | From Page: A7

.

Prospecting

A beautiful day at Wakamatsu Tea and Silk Colony Farm

By Cathy Barsotti | From Page: B1 | Gallery

 
Foothill gourmet: Things get corny

By Donna Brown | From Page: B2

Bipolar Insights: From point A to point B

By Marcia Rose | From Page: B2

 
Cool time at Cowboys and Cornbread

By Democrat Staff | From Page: B2 | Gallery

As we were: Recreation district grows

By Ken Deibert | From Page: B4

 
Cantare names new director

By Cantare Chorale | From Page: B10

 
After 5 Club to meet

By Senior Day | From Page: B10

.

Essentials

Divorces

By Charlotte Sanchez-Kosa | From Page: A2Comments are off for this post

 
DUI Log: June 25-July 9

By Cole Mayer | From Page: A2

Crime Log: July 14-16

By Cole Mayer | From Page: A2

 
.

Obituaries

.

Real Estate

.

Comics

Rubes

By Contributor | From Page: A8

 
New York Times Crossword

By Contributor | From Page: A8

TV Listings

By Contributor | From Page: A8

 
Speed Bump

By Contributor | From Page: A8

American Profile Crossword

By Contributor | From Page: A8

 
Tundra

By Contributor | From Page: A8

Horoscope, Tuesday, July 29, 2014

By Contributor | From Page: A8

 
Horoscope, Monday, July 28, 2014

By Contributor | From Page: A8

Shoe

By Contributor | From Page: A8

 
Sudoku

By Contributor | From Page: A8