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Obama Uses Gulf Oil Spill For Energy Agenda Push

Obama used the oil spill crisis in the Gulf of Mexico to advance his alternative energy agenda Wednesday, calling it a warning that America needs to transition away from dependence on fossil fuels.

"The catastrophe unfolding in the Gulf right now may prove to be a result of human error -- or corporations taking dangerous shortcuts that compromised safety," Obama said in remarks at Carnegie Mellon University in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.

"But we have to acknowledge that there are inherent risks to drilling four miles beneath the surface of the Earth -- risks that are bound to increase the harder oil extraction becomes.  Just like we have to acknowledge that an America run solely on fossil fuels should not be the vision we have for our children and grandchildren."

Obama's emphasis on energy issues was part of a broader focus in his speech on the state of the economy.  Administration officials pledged to focus strongly on job creation earlier in the year but have since been forced to grapple with a host of unexpected challenges, including the oil spill.

"The time has come, once and for all, for this nation to fully embrace a clean energy future," Obama said.  "That means [making] everything from our homes and businesses to our cars and trucks more energy efficient.  It means tapping into our natural gas reserves, and moving ahead with our plan to expand our nation's fleet of nuclear power plants.  And it means rolling back billions of dollars in tax breaks to oil companies so we can prioritize investments in clean energy research and development."

Obama also renewed his call for a carbon tax.

"The only way the transition to clean energy will succeed is if the private sector is fully invested in this future," he said.  "And the only way to do that is by finally putting a price on carbon pollution."

Clean energy is a wonderful notion, but Obama's socialism will bankrupt America in the process.  It's going to take 50 years to change this:


Obama Asks America To Commit Suicide
Alan Caruba says Obama is one of the most articulate we have had in that office.  His ability to deliver a speech or a short talk such as his first from the Oval Office Tuesday evening is impressive.  He knows how to deliver an address.

What he doesn’t know or doesn’t care about is the difference between the truth and a lie.  His fifteen-minute address was the piling on of one lie after another regarding America’s use of energy and its needs for the future.

It is a lie to say America is "addicted" to "fossil fuels."  Oil is not a fossil fuel.  It is not the result of dead dinosaurs.  It is created deep in the bowels of the planet.  There is an abundance of oil, but with the wealth it creates there is also massive corruption in many of the nations that possess it.

We are no more addicted to oil than we are addicted to oxygen.  This extraordinary mineral is a part of every aspect of our lives; used to create plastic, used in pharmaceuticals, used for the asphalt that pave our highways, and used as the fuel for our cars, trucks, and for countless other applications.

Oil is not "finite" as Obama suggested.  There is no end of oil.

There are, however, tremendous challenges and costs to find it, drill for it, transport it, and refine it.  It is an industry that requires huge amounts of money to discover new reservoirs of oil and even more to acquire it.  It involves tremendous risk as well.  Oil companies that hit too many dry wells are no longer in business.

Obama cited China as a nation pursuing "clean energy", but Obama said nothing of the new coal-fired plants to generate electricity that China has been opening every week in recent years and will continue to do in the years ahead.  Obama did not mention that China is literally drilling for oil in the Gulf of Mexico off the coast of Cuba.  Like every modern nation, China needs oil.

Obama is lying.  There is no "clean energy future" when he talks of solar and wind energy. America needs oil, but the policies of previous administrations from the 1970s onward have stymied production, shut down existing wells, driven oil companies to seek it anywhere but here!

Instead, he devoted the thrust of his address to tell Americans they must "embrace a clean energy future", must "transition away" from so-called fossil fuels, and that the nation must, in fact, "accelerate" that effort.  Obama is lying.  There is no "clean energy future" when he talks of solar and wind energy.

Neither solar or wind can begin to compete with oil, coal and natural gas.  If they were viable, the government would not have to plunder the national treasury to provide them with subsidies, requiring that they be included as a source by utilities.

Together, after many years of propaganda, they only provide about three percent of the nation’s energy requirements.  They will never provide enough because the wind does not always blow and the sun does not always shine.  Every wind and solar farm must be backed up by a traditional plant, be it coal-fired, nuclear, natural gas or hydroelectric.

Instead, this administration has declared war on the most abundant source of energy we have in America, coal.  We are the Saudi Arabia of coal.  Coal provides fifty percent of our electricity and it could provide even more; a source that could last for centuries, except that the Obama administration is doing everything it can to thwart the building of new coal-fired plants, to shut down coal mining operations.

If Americans continue to believe this president’s lies, if we continue to believe decades of lies by environmental organizations, many of whom have been the happy recipients of oil industry largess and support, and if we abandon the very sources of energy on which our entire economy and way of life depends, Obama will have led America off the cliff.

Obama is asking America to commit suicide.
$7-A-Gallon Gas?
Ben Lieberman says Obama has a solution to the Gulf oil spill: $7-a-gallon gas.  That's a Harvard University study's estimate of the per-gallon price of Obama's global-warming agenda.  And Obama made clear this week that this agenda is a part of his plan for addressing the Gulf mess.

So what does global-warming legislation have to do with the oil spill?  Good question, because such measures wouldn't do a thing to clean up the oil or fix the problems that led to the leak.

The answer can be found in Obama Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel's now-famous words, "You never want a serious crisis to go to waste -- and what I mean by that is it's an opportunity to do things that you think you could not do before."

That sure was true of global-warming policy, and especially the cap-and-trade bill.  Many observers thought the measure, introduced last year in the House by Reps. Henry Waxman (D-Calif.) and Edward Markey (D-Mass.), was dead: The American people didn't seem to think that the so-called global-warming crisis justified a price-hiking, job-killing, economy-crushing redesign of our energy supply amid a fragile recovery.  Passing another major piece of legislation, one every bit as unpopular as ObamaCare, appeared unlikely in an election year.  So Obama and congressional proponents of cap-and-trade spent several months rebranding it -- downplaying the global-warming rationale and claiming that it was really a jobs bill (the so-called green jobs were supposed to spring from the new clean-energy economy) and an energy-independence bill (that will somehow stick it to OPEC).

Sens. John Kerry (D-Mass.) and Joe Lieberman (I-Conn.) even reportedly declined to introduce their new cap-and-trade proposal in the Senate on Earth Day, because they wanted to de-emphasize the global-warming message.  Instead, Kerry called the American Power Act "a plan that creates jobs and sets us on a course toward energy independence and economic resurgence."  But the new marketing strategy wasn't working.  Few believe the green-jobs hype -- with good reason.  In Spain, for example, green jobs have been an expensive bust, with each position created requiring, on average, $774,000 in government subsidies.  And the logic of getting us off oil imports via a unilateral measure that punishes American coal, oil and natural gas never made any sense at all.

Now Obama is repackaging cap-and-trade -- again -- as a long-term solution to the oil spill.  But it's the same old agenda, a huge energy tax that will raise the cost of gasoline and electricity high enough so that we're forced to use less.

The logic linking cap-and-trade to the spill in the Gulf should frighten anyone who owns a car or truck.  Such measures force up the price at the pump -- Harvard Kennedy School's Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs thinks it "may require gas prices greater than $7 a gallon by 2020" to meet Obama's stated goal of reducing emissions 14 percent from the transportation sector.

Of course, doing so would reduce gasoline use and also raise market share for hugely expensive alternative fuels and vehicles that could never compete otherwise.  Less gasoline demand means less need for drilling and thus a slightly reduced chance of a repeat of the Deepwater Horizon spill -- but only slightly.  Oil will still be a vital part of America's energy mix.

Oil-spill risks should be addressed directly -- such as finding out why the leak occurred and requiring new preventive measures or preparing an improved cleanup plan for the next incident.  Cap-and-trade is no fix and would cause trillions of dollars in collateral economic damage along the way.

Emanuel was wrong.  The administration shouldn't view each crisis -- including the oil spill -- as an opportunity to be exploited, but as a problem to be addressed.  And America can't afford $7-a-gallon gas.
Obama's Energy Pipe Dreams
Robert J. Samuelson says just once, it would be nice if a politician would level with Americans on energy.  Barack Obama isn't that guy.  His speech the other night was about political damage control -- his own.  It was full of misinformation and mythology -- Obama's forte.  Obama held out a gleaming vision of an America that would convert to the "clean" energy of, presumably, wind, solar and biomass.  It isn't going to happen for many, many decades, if ever.

For starters, we won't soon end our "addiction to fossil fuels."  Oil, coal and natural gas supply about 85 percent of America's energy needs.  The U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA) expects energy consumption to grow only an average of 0.5 percent annually from 2008 to 2035, but that's still a 14 percent cumulative increase.  Fossil fuel usage would increase slightly in 2035 and its share would still account for 78 percent of the total.

Unless we shut down the economy, we need fossil fuels.  More efficient light bulbs, energy-saving appliances, cars with higher gas mileage may all dampen energy use.  But offsetting these savings will be more people (391 million vs. 305 million), more households (147 million vs. 113 million), more vehicles (297 million vs. 231 million) and a bigger economy (almost double in size).  Although wind, solar and biomass are assumed to grow as much as 10 times faster than overall energy use, they provide only 11 percent of supply in 2035, up from 5 percent in 2008.

There are physical limits on new energy sources, as Robert Bryce shows in his book "Power Hungry: The Myths of 'Green' Energy and the Real Fuels of the Future."  Suppose an inventor "found a way to convert soybeans into jet fuel," Bryce writes.  "Even with that invention, the conversion of all of America's yearly soybean production into jet fuel would only provide about 20 percent of U.S. jet fuel demand."  Jet fuel, in turn, is about 8 percent of U.S. oil use.  Similarly, wind turbines have limited potential; they must be supported by backup generating capacity when there's no breeze.

The consequences of the BP oil spill come in two parts.  The first is familiar: the fire; the deaths; coated birds; polluted wetlands; closed beaches; anxious fishermen.  The second is less appreciated: a more muddled energy debate.

Obama has made vilification of oil and the oil industry a rhetorical mainstay.  This is intellectually shallow, if politically understandable.  "Clean energy" won't displace oil or achieve huge reductions in greenhouse gas emissions -- for example, the 83 percent cut by 2050 from 2005 levels included in last year's House climate change legislation.  Barring major technological advances (say, low-cost "carbon capture" to pump CO2 into the ground) or an implausibly massive shift to nuclear power, this simply won't happen.  It's a pipe dream.  In the EIA's "reference case" projection, CO2 emissions in 2035 are 8.7 percent higher than in 2008.

Rather than admit the obvious, Obama implies that other countries are disproving it.  "Countries like China are investing in clean energy jobs and industries that should be right here in America," he said in his address.  If China can do it, so can we!  Well, whatever China's accomplishing on wind and solar, it's a sideshow.  In 2008, fossil fuels met 87 percent of its energy needs, reports the International Energy Agency.  Coal alone accounted for 66 percent.  China represents about half of the world's hard coal consumption.  Usage grew 10.7 percent annually from 2000 to 2008.

The outlines of a pragmatic energy policy are clear.  A gradually increasing tax on oil or carbon would nudge people toward more energy-efficient products, including cars.  Any tax should be part of a budget program that includes major spending cuts.  This is a better approach than the confusing cap-and-trade proposals -- embraced by the House and the administration -- that would inevitably be riddled with exceptions and preferences.  Finally, research and development should search for cheaper, cleaner energy sources.

Meanwhile, it's imperative to tap domestic oil and natural gas.  This creates jobs and limits our dependence on insecure imports.  Drilling advances have opened vast reserves of natural gas trapped in shale.  Human error and corner-cutting by BP seem the main causes of the spill.  Given the industry's previously strong safety record, Obama's six-month moratorium on deepwater drilling isn't justified and should be shortened.  It's not industry lobbyists who sustain fossil fuels but the reality that they're economically and socially necessary.  A candid president would have said so.

Related:  Obama's strategy for the Gulf oil spill -- just ignore it -- it's time for a big GAY party at the White House -- whooppee!
Energy Department To Force Market Transformation
Penny Starr says Assistant Secretary of Energy Cathy Zoi said Thursday that the U.S. Department of Energy has a "mandate" to issue regulations that will determine what household appliances are available to Americans in the future.

Speaking at the inaugural meeting of the recently reestablished Secretary of Energy Advisory Board (SEAB), Zoi pointed to four tactics the Obama administration intended use to advance the "deployment of clean energy."  The first three were government subsidies for private-sector green energy projects, special tax incentives for green energy projects and low-interest government-backed loans for green energy projects.

"The fourth one, which the secretary and I love," said Zoi, "is where we have a mandate.  Where we can actually just issue regulations and do market transformation."

Zoi, who stands to benefit directly from the government's spending, was referring to authority the department has under the Energy Policy and Conservation Act of 1975 as amended by the Energy Policy Act of 2005.  That law gives the DOE the power to set efficiency standards for energy-consuming products.

"That’s an existing statute that this department of energy is going to make work really hard," Zoi said.  "We’ve already issued appliance standards that are going to save the American public somewhere between $250 billion and $300 billion over the next 20 years just by getting the crummy stuff off the market."

Energy Secretary Steven Chu, who also spoke at the meeting, announced in April that the department had finalized five new "higher energy efficiency standards" for commercial clothes washers, small electric motors, water heaters, direct heating equipment and pool heaters.

Standards for 10 additional categories of products are expected to be finalized by the end of next year, according to a DOE spokeswoman.  These will include new standards for refrigerators, microwave ovens, residential and mobile home furnaces, fluorescent light ballasts, residential clothes washers and dryers, room and central air conditioners, and battery chargers.

"We’re going to update [the standards] more frequently" said Zoi.  "We have the power to do that in the statute."

Continue reading here . . .

Is there anyone in Obama's government that doesn't think like a dictator?
Who Needs Domestic Oil Production?
The Institute for Energy Research says one of the sad truths about the Obama administration is the indifference they have for producing energy domestically.

The Obama administration has given us another piece of evidence of their hostility toward energy production.  On page 69 of a new proposed drilling rule, the administration argues that we don't need to worry that their permitorium will reduce oil production in the Gulf of Mexico (and destroy good paying jobs) because we can always get more oil from the oil dictators at OPEC:
It's a sad state of affairs when our government halts domestic oil production and tells us to just buy oil from OPEC.  Will the Obama administration ever get serious about creating jobs in America?

John Hinderaker observes that the U.S. is the only country in the world that, as a matter of policy, does not develop its own energy reserves.  It is hard to see a rational basis for that policy.  Energy is an important component in every physical object that is manufactured and shipped.  If a country is not competitive in energy, it is not competitive, period.  A Facebook friend writes:


Well, yes.  The difference is that Brazil wants to become richer and more powerful.  I think there are many in the Obama administration, especially Obama,  who think it is unjust that we are richer and more powerful than Brazil and many other countries.  So they design policies that are intended to retard our progress so that others can catch up.  If you think this makes any kind of sense, you are undoubtedly a Democrat.

It looks like Obama's billions of dollars to Brazil's state-owned oil company, Petrobras, to finance exploration of the huge offshore discovery in Brazil's Tupi oil field in the Santos Basin near Rio de Janeiro has paid off -- for Brazil.
Obama's America Faces Energy Shortage, Blackouts
The Washington Times says the Obama administration is ushering in 2011 with new powers that will jack up energy costs for consumers.  In the name of fighting unproven climate-change theories, bureaucrats are pushing through tough new business restrictions on emissions from energy plants that light and heat homes across the country.  As a result, Americans in the near future may be forced to pay a hidden tax in their electric bills or, worse, find themselves in the dark and cold.

The Environmental Protection Agency's new rules, which take effect Jan. 2, will impose limits on carbon dioxide.  The EPA's primary targets are coal-plant operators, who will be forced to choose between retrofitting their facilities with expensive emissions-control equipment and cooling towers or shutting them down.  Democratic Sen. John D. Rockefeller IV -- whose West Virginia coal-country constituents have the most to lose from the tough emissions restrictions -- announced Friday that he had failed in his 11th-hour attempt to force a Senate vote to suspend the regulations before they take effect.  His measure would have delayed for two years the new emissions requirements for power plants, refineries and manufacturing factories under the Clean Air Act.

A study released Dec. 8 by the Brattle Group, an economic consultancy, found that the new EPA rules could force the retirement of older power plants that produce 50,000 to 67,000 megawatts of electricity, or roughly 20 percent of the nation's coal-fired power plants.  As many as 70 million homes could be subject to blackouts, according to American Solutions, an advocacy group for conventional energy.  Equipping remaining plants to comply with the mandates would cost $100 billion to $180 billion, the Brattle report warned.  Those expenses would be passed along to consumers in the form of higher electric bills.

Look no further than the White House to find the source of this assault on America's energy supply.  The Obama administration's energy policy is driven by global-warming true believers.  Their intent is to flip the economics of energy and raise the cost of carbon-dioxide-based power, making purported green energy appear more cost-efficient by comparison.  A review of 2010 recalls a series of obstacles to a fully powered nation that Team Obama has tossed in the path of nuclear waste disposal, offshore oil and gas drilling and now coal-produced electricity.  All the while, billions are funneled to politically favored industries in order to subsidize expensive alternatives such as solar panels that produce electricity at double the cost.

During this Great Recession, families must make wise decisions on how to allocate their limited financial resources.  Unelected bureaucrats at the EPA have appropriated the power to force consumers to spend more on their energy bills, leaving less for other necessities.  When the 112th Congress convenes on Jan. 5, the newly fortified Republican caucus needs to get behind the Rockefeller bill, which would halt EPA's power grab and return energy choice to the people.
Obama’s Energy Power Grab
Rich Trzupek is reporting that the United States Environmental Protection Agency (USEPA) announced its intention to deliver yet another body blow to the power and petrochemical industries, piling on another layer of unneeded, unwanted and economically disastrous regulations to reduce emissions of greenhouse gases in the United States.  Before we consider the agency’s latest move, let’s take a moment to consider all that has been done and will be done in the name of fighting the non-existent problem of global warming.  States and the feds are already moving forward with at least six major regulatory programs designed to reduce the use of fossil fuels and thus decimate the energy sector.

New CAFÉ Standards -- The Corporate Average Fuel Economy (CAFÉ) standards are arguably the least bad of the bunch, because the due date for the new 35.5 miles per gallon CAFÉ standard is at least a few years out (2016).  Nonetheless, the new CAFÉ standard will make automobiles more expensive -- as even the White House admits -- less safe (lighter cars don’t do as well in accidents as compared to heavier ones) and will do almost nothing to lower greenhouse gas emissions.

Renewable Portfolio Standards -- More than thirty states, encompassing about three quarters of the population of the United States, have adopted Renewable Portfolio Standards.  These standards require using ever decreasing amounts of electricity generated by the combustion of fossil fuels.

Regional Trading Programs -- States in three parts of the country, the east coast, the west coast and the midwest, have formed partnerships to create regional cap and trade programs.  The east coast cap and trade program has been up and running for two years. The west coast and midwest programs will "go live" in the near future.

Permitting of Greenhouse Gases -- Recent USEPA guidance directed state permitting authorities to treat greenhouse gases as regulated pollutants when considering the construction of new major sources and major modifications to existing sources.  Permitting authorities are further directed to apply the Best Available Control Technology standard to the control of greenhouse gases from these sources.

New Ambient Air Standards -- The USEPA’s new ambient air standards for "traditional" air pollutants are so ridiculously low that it’s virtually impossible for any new facility to comply with them.  This is thus a back-door way of ensuring that no new fossil fuel fired power facilities can be built.

New Hazardous Air Pollution Rules -- The USEPA’s new rules limiting emissions of hazardous air pollutants from industrial boilers are also draconian.  Again, the net effect will be to ensure that new industrial boilers powered by fossil fuels are just about impossible to construct.

Related:  Obama’s New "Unreasonable Standard"

Related:  White House Plans to Push Global Warming Policy
Obama's Breezy Hypocrisy
The Washington Times says that just before Christmas, Obama's top trade negotiator dropped off a report to Congress complaining of Chinese wind-turbine incentives.  U.S. Trade Representative Ron Kirk wants the World Trade Organization (WTO) to intervene in the dispute over Beijing's use of grants and loans to prop up its domestic propeller industry.

The administration is irked that U.S. firms aren't allowed to enjoy a slice of the Chinese pork.  "Specifically, the United States is challenging subsidies being provided by the Chinese government to manufacturers of wind turbine systems that appear to be contingent on the use of domestic over imported components and parts," Mr. Kirk's report explained.

There are plenty of trade policy issues where China is in the wrong, but Obama is living in a glass house on this one.  The Obama administration has significantly boosted the support targeted to our own domestic windmill industry.  "The Recovery Act is helping to ramp up manufacturing and deployment of wind-power components in the U.S., maintaining strong demand and financing for wind projects and helping to attract billions of dollars of additional investment into U.S. wind manufacturing," a White House fact sheet boasted.

One of the primary mechanisms for this assistance is the production tax credit, which Obama's "stimulus" bill renewed through the end of 2012.  This measure offers an inflation-adjusted 2.1 cent per kilowatt-hour credit for windmill owners, which covers about 21 percent of the average retail cost of the power.  The "stimulus" added a cash grant option covering 30 percent of the capital cost of wind-farm installation.  Federal and state governments also offer "Buy American" incentives available only to U.S. firms.

The biggest beneficiary of this generosity happens to be General Electric, the top U.S. wind-turbine manufacturer, and a huge Obama contributor.  GE got into the windmill business after gobbling up "renewable energy" assets from Enron as that ill-fated firm was forced into bankruptcy in 2002.  Enron's rent-seeking business model didn't change when its wind business moved into the house that Edison built.  Billions in taxpayer dollars continue to fan the rebirth of this fundamentally medieval technology.

Wind power hasn't made sense since the Industrial Revolution perfected the steam engine.  Instead of looking to the skies to know when a trip across the Atlantic was possible, travelers were free to go when they pleased.  Americans looking for reliable electricity aren't going to find it by returning to the whim of an unpredictable breeze.

The Obama administration doesn't care about efficiency or reliability.  It's responding to the distress call of a political ally.  In September, the United Steel Workers union urged WTO intervention on the grounds that, "U.S. imports from China of the towers and masts for windmills have grown 17 times over since 2006."  Big Labor wants its cut of the international subsidies doled out to bird-slicing blade producers.

Both Washington and Beijing are wrong to intervene in the marketplace by bankrolling Enron-style wind boondoggles.  The White House should drop its own "green energy" programs if it really wants China to do the same.
Team Obama Yanks Coal Permit
Jim Hoft reminds us that on Sunday April 25, 2010, Barack Obama attended the memorial service in West Virginia for the 29 miners who perished in the nation’s worst mining disaster in 25 years.  During his speech to the families Obama praised the coal miners and "the fruits of their labor that so often we take for granted."

"Five miles into a mountain.  The only light, the lamp on their caps.  Day after day they would burrow into the coal.  The fruits of their labor that so often we take for granted.  The electricity that lights up a convention center; that lights up our church or our home our school our office.  The energy that powers our country.  The energy that powers the world."

Obama praised the coal industry at the miner memorial service -- but that was then.

Now, for the first time ever, the Obama Administration blocked an already approved bid to build one of the largest mountaintop removal coal mines in Appalachian history.

The Obama administration Thursday reversed a Bush-era decision and blocked a bid to build one of the largest mountaintop removal coal mines in Appalachian history.

For the first time, the Environmental Protection Agency is revoking a permit already issued, taking back its approval for Arch Coal’s Spruce No.1 mine in southern West Virginia.  EPA said the mine would cause unacceptable damage to local waterways and public health.

EPA’s decision is a major victory for environmental groups, who have fought against the mine since it was proposed more than a decade and cements agency administrator Lisa Jackson’s status as their environmental hero.  The George W. Bush administration had approved the Clean Water Act permit in 2007.

"In sharp contrast to the previous administration’s policies on mountaintop removal coal mining, EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson is showing a strong commitment to the law, the science and the principles of environmental justice," Sierra Club executive director Michael Brune said today.  "She deserves enormous credit for changing policies to protect Appalachia’s health, land and water."

But EPA’s critics are vowing to battle the decision in the courts, Congress and the White House.

Remember, when democrats say they want to supply America with affordable energy alternatives -- They’re lying.

Related:  Oil at $99 -- if it breaks past $100 it will drive up fuel costs and threaten the fragile economic recovery.
The Next Obama Disaster
John H. Hinderaker says in any other administration, Obama's energy policies would be dominating the political debate.  It is only because the administration has pursued so many disastrous policies -- government medicine, bailouts, faux stimulus, unheard-of deficits -- that energy has taken a back seat.  It will not be long, however, before rising energy costs are again in the forefront of economic anxiety and political debate.  Reuters reports:

Oil rose on Wednesday after production shutdowns, falling U.S. inventories and growing demand sent Brent crude toward $100 a barrel for the first time since 2008.

U.S. government data showing U.S. crude stocks falling for a sixth straight week helped extend this week's gains.  Disruptions from Alaska and Norway stoked supply concerns and cold weather in the U.S. Northeast fed demand for heating oil. [EIA/S]

Oil's climb back toward $100 a barrel -- last touched in October 2008 -- has raised concerns about the impact of higher fuel costs on the tenuous economic recovery.  "Back in 2008, (U.S.) crude oil only traded above $100 a barrel for about six months before the world economy collapsed into the worst crisis since the 1930s," warned Sabine Schels, commodity strategist for Merrill Lynch.

Crude's rise on Wednesday was part of wider gains across commodities, with metals rising and soybean and corn futures touching 30-month highs that further stoked economic worries.  London Brent oil LCOc1, benchmark for European, Middle East, and African crudes, rose 51 cents to settle at $98.12 a barrel, after touching $98.85 a barrel earlier, the highest level since Oct. 1, 2008.

The Obama administration's announcement that permitting for deepwater drilling in the Gulf will "likely" resume in June is way too little, way too late, and basically amounts to kicking the can even farther down the road.

Was it actually rising energy prices rather than home prices that caused the Great Recession?  I don't think so, but The Fiscal Times makes an interesting point:

Some observers have suggested that the recent financial crisis had its roots in a jump in oil prices.  James Hamilton of UC San Diego produced a report in 2009 saying that higher oil prices in 2007-2008 impacted domestic spending and auto purchases to such an extent that "in the absence of those declines, it is unlikely that we would have characterized the period 2007:Q4 to 2008:Q3 as one of economic recession for the U.S."

In other words, the Great Recession may have stemmed from a sharp jump in the average cost of imported oil, which rose from $59.05 per barrel in 2006 to $92.57 in 2008 -- and not from a collapse in the value of subprime mortgages.  Since the 1960s consumer outlays on gasoline and heating fuel have ranged from a little below 5% in the late 1990s to nearly 10% in the early 1980s.  When this ratio starts moving towards the higher end of the range, as it did in the mid- 2000s, the consumer cuts back on other spending, precipitating an economic downturn.

The Obama administration's attitude toward energy costs is astonishingly cavalier.  So far, Obama and his advisers don't seem to have gotten past the idea the America is an exploiter nation and therefore "too rich;" so if energy policy makes us all poorer, it is probably just as well.  This is not, to put it mildly, an attitude that prevails among voters.
Obama Oil Policies Fueling Recession?
Dana Joel Gattuso says as Obama and his team of regulators bring domestic oil production to a crawl via their moratorium on offshore drilling, standstill on drilling permits, and myriad regulations on accessing oil on public lands, is it any wonder that oil and gas prices are climbing toward the record highs we saw in 2008, prior to the economic collapse?

Last week, Greenwire reported that there were fewer new wells drilled for oil on public lands in 2010 than in any other year in the past decade, and that as many as two-thirds of the permits issued to the oil and gas industry for drilling on federal lands were unused.

Kathleen Sgamma, government-affairs director for the Denver-based Western Energy Alliance, said the Obama administration’s regulations have discouraged new drilling in the West, where BLM controls some 250 million acres.  "We were surprised," Sgamma said, "to see just how much the additional regulatory burden has discouraged drilling in the West."

Meanwhile, U.S. crude supplies have fallen for the sixth straight week, oil is inching toward $100 a barrel, the highest since October 2008, and retail gas prices are close to $3.00 a gallon.

This has scary implications for an economic recovery -- as Ben Bernanke alluded to last week when he testified that he was "closely watching" increasing gas prices which could hurt economic growth.

Some experts are even warning that rising energy prices could push us into another recession. 
Under Obama Gas Prices Have Risen 55%
The Heritage Foundation points out this fact:  Barack Obama’s Energy Secretary Steven Chu wants to "figure out how to boost the price of gasoline to the levels in Europe."  At the time he made the statement, gas cost $7 to $8 per gallon in Europe.

And this fact:  Since taking office, Obama’s entire energy agenda has made a gallon of gas more expensive:

•  Immediately after taking office in 2009, Interior Secretary Ken Salazar, canceled 77 leases for oil and gas drilling in Utah.
•  The EPA announced new rules mandating the use of 36 billion gallons worth of renewable fuels (like ethanol) by 2020.
•  This summer Obama needlessly instituted, not one, but two outright drilling bans in the Gulf of Mexico.
•  After rescinding his outright offshore drilling ban, Obama has refused to issue any new drilling permits in the Gulf, a policy that the Energy Information Administration estimates will cut domestic offshore oil production by 13% this year
•  Interior Secretary Salazar announced that the eastern Gulf of Mexico, the Atlantic coast, and the Pacific coast will not be developed, effectively banning drilling in those areas for the next seven years;
•  The Environmental Protection Agency has announced new global warming regulations for oil refineries;
•  Interior Secretary Salazar announced new rules making it more difficult to develop energy resources on federal land.

All of these policies raise gas prices at the pump by either: 1) decreasing the availability of domestic energy supplies, or 2) increasing regulatory costs on gasoline production.

President George Bush was no saint when it came to free market energy policies either.  He mandated the use of ethanol, put off opening up the Outer Continental Shelf till the end of his second term, supported the expansion of renewable energy tax credits, tried to subsidize the nuclear power industry, and caved into environmental pressure by allowing the EPA to begin the global warming regulation process.

But as two time Super Bowl winning coach Bill Parcells says, "You are what your record says you are."  And the facts are these: during the first two years under Barack Obama, gas prices have risen 55%.  You can compare that to the 5% drop in gas prices during the first two years of President Bush’s term or the 2% drop under the first two years of President Clinton’s term.  Neither President Bush nor President Clinton had perfect energy policies.  But neither of them appointed an Energy Secretary who wanted Americans to pay $9 for a gallon of gas either.
Obama’s Decrees Cause Energy Prices To "Skyrocket"

Ben Johnson says that in a candid moment while running for president, Barack Obama told the editorial board of the San Francisco Chronicle, "under my plan…electricity rates would necessarily skyrocket."  Last week, the Obama administration moved to make that a reality, using its rule by executive fiat to punish the coal industry.  The action comes as Obama is halting offshore oil drilling and threatening one state alone with millions of dollars in lost revenue.  His most recent action was "unprecedented," could kill jobs during a recession, and comes as heating oil and gasoline prices are rising.


Obama’s latest environmentalist imbroglio is his declaration of war on the coal industry.  Last week, the EPA revoked the mining permit of Arch Coal’s Spruce No. 1 Mine in Logan County, West Virginia.  The EPA granted the permit in 2007.  Since then, Arch Coal has complied with all of the agency’s terms and made millions of dollars of investments in the hard-hit Appalachian state.

The EPA reversed itself last week, revoking its validly granted permit and calling into question whether it would honor any of its prior obligations.  Its pretext was the company’s use of mountaintop removal mining, which it called "destructive and unsustainable.  However, it was known the mine would use this procedure when the EPA granted the permit four years ago.


The mine would have employed 250 people and harvested more than 40 million tons of coal, over 15 years.


West Virginia’s lawmakers are rightly incensed.  Newly elected Democratic Senator Joe Manchin’s statement read in part:


"According to the EPA, it doesn’t matter if you did everything right, if you followed all of the rules.  Why?  They just change the rules."  Rep. Shelley Moore Capito, a Republican, called the revocation, "a staged event to reward a core constituency that doesn’t want any coal mining or coal plants, no matter the cost to West Virginia or our nation."


Democratic Senator Jay Rockefeller told Obama in a letter that his action "needlessly throws other permits into a sea of uncertainty at a time of great economic distress."


Industry leaders echoed his concern.  "Every road project, construction project or mine site that has received valid CWA 404 permits in the past is now in jeopardy of having that permit vetoed or revoked," said Bryan Brown, executive director of the Foundation for American Coal Energy.  The crippling handicap of uncertainty harms our economy, undermines confidence in the government, and keeps industry executives from making additional investments in energy exploration.


Which was the point. Obama is acting in a lawless manner to introduce uncertainty and stop business from finding additional natural resources, because they want to use skyrocketing energy prices to reduce our nation’s carbon footprint.


Continue reading here . . .


Obama said he would bankrupt coal (video).  I guess he meant it.

Drill, Baby, Drill
Jonah Goldberg reminds us that Obama will deliver his State of the Union message on Tuesday.

The conventional wisdom is that he will continue his "move to the center."  The quotation marks are necessary because some people think he really is moving to the center, while others think he just wants to appear like he is.

Either way, this undoubtedly means Obama will try to seem as if he's meeting Republicans halfway on their "reasonable" demands (quotation marks for the same reason as before) while drawing a stark line against their "unreasonable" ones.

As much as I may enjoy it, this sort of strategizing leaves most Americans cold.  As far as I can tell, these days they are less concerned with "triangulation" than they are with the creation of good jobs that aren't bogus make-work, or paid for with money borrowed from China or our grandkids.

If that's the case, the solution is right in front of Obama's face.  To echo a chant from the 2008 Republican convention, "Drill, baby, drill!"

The objective case for developing our oil and gas wealth is pretty straightforward.  With the exception of climate change, pretty much everything the Obama administration considers a major problem would be improved by opening the floodgates to new exploration.

The deficit?  The oil industry already pays the U.S. treasury more than $95 million a day in taxes, rent, royalties and the like.  If you expand exploration, you expand revenues.  According to estimates, if America unlocked its oil and gas reserves, the government could take in somewhere between $1 trillion and $2 trillion in additional revenue over the coming years.  And that's not counting the increased revenues from the stimulus of lower fuel and energy costs.

Trade imbalances?  Domestic oil and gas is, by definition, not imported.  The more we produce here, the less we import, or the more we can sell overseas.  Either way, the trade deficit goes down and GDP goes up.

Jobs?  You can't drill for American oil or natural gas in China, Saudi Arabia or anyplace other than America.  Oil and gas exploration jobs pay more than twice the national average.

Continue reading here . . .
Obama Knows Business
Jim Hoft says, "it figures," Obama delivered his weekly address from a "Green Energy" company that is losing money.

Here is what Obama said about the Orion manufacturing plant (video):

I’m speaking to you today from Manitowoc, Wisconsin, where I’m at an innovative company called Orion Energy Systems.

Just a few years ago, this was an empty warehouse.  A major employer had shut down this factory, moved its operations abroad, and took a lot of jobs away from this town.

But today, as you can see behind me, this is a thriving enterprise once more.  You are looking at a factory where 250 workers are building advanced clean energy systems -- state-of-the-art technologies that use solar power and energy efficiency to save farms and businesses thousands of dollars on their utility bills.

I’m here because this business and others like it are showing us the way forward.  And in the coming days, I’ll be shining a spotlight on innovators across America who are relying on new technologies to create new jobs and opportunities in new industries.

That’s what companies like Orion are doing.  And that’s how America will win the future -- by out-innovating, out-educating, and out-building our competitors.  We’ll win the future by being the best place on Earth to do business.  That is what we are called to do at this moment.  And in my state of the union, I talked about how we get there.

Unfortunately, just like we’ve seen so many times before, there’s much more to the story.

Despite millions in government grants and subsidies, the Manitowoc Company, Obama's "glimpse of the future," lost $4.8 million last year and cannot promise shareholders it will be profitable in the foreseeable future.  Orion stock has plummeted in the past four years.  It closed 2007 at $18.82 a share. By the end of 2010 it was $3.34.
Obama's Contemptible Drilling Ban
Investor's Business Daily says that an administration that has no respect for Congress, the courts or the Constitution has been found in contempt for reissuing a drilling moratorium that a U.S. district judge found overly broad.

The Obama administration's trouble with the courts has continued with a judge's ruling last week that the Interior Department's reinstating of a drilling moratorium followed by a de facto moratorium via an overly restrictive permitting process constituted contempt.

Obama had issued a drilling moratorium in May in waters deeper than 500 feet after the explosion and sinking of the Deepwater Horizon drilling rig off Louisiana that resulted in the spill of more than 4.1 million barrels of oil into the Gulf of Mexico.

In June, Martin Feldman of the Eastern District Court of Louisiana struck down Interior Secretary Ken Salazar's original moratorium, saying it was overkill based on flawed reasoning.  "If some drilling equipment parts are flawed, is it rational to say all are?"  Feldman asked in his ruling.  "That sort of thinking seems heavy-handed and rather overbearing."

Feldman further asked: "Are all airplanes a danger because one was?  All oil tankers like Exxon Valdez?  All trains?  All mines?"  The administration's answer still seems to be yes, as offshore oil rigs find their way to other shores, and communities dry up along with the oil business that sustained them.

So the administration went back, rearranged a few words and a few deck chairs, and reissued its moratorium.  That one was officially lifted in October, although the permitting process, which mysteriously includes shallow-water wells, has had the effect of continuing the moratorium.

Feldman was not amused.  "Each step the government took following the court's imposition of a preliminary injunction showcases its defiance," the judge said in his ruling.  "Such dismissive conduct, viewed in tandem with the reimposition of a second moratorium ... provides this court with clear and convincing evidence of its contempt."

Feldman even accused the administration of outright lying, pointing out that "at the hearing on the first moratorium, in response to a question by the court, the government's answer then was wholly at odds with the story of the misleading text change by a White House official, a story the government does not now dispute."

As we have noted, now-departing climate czar Carol Browner's office edited a May 27, 2010, report to Obama by a panel of experts brought together by the administration to review offshore drilling safety.  The report was altered to make it seem like the panelists supported the administration's six-month drilling moratorium in the Gulf of Mexico when they did not.
Obama Favors Ideology Over Science
Peter Schroeder is reporting that Sen. David Vitter (R-La.) is accusing the Obama of "leading with ideology and politics" instead of science on the deepwater oil drilling debate.

"Unfortunately, I think it is politics and ideology over sound science and common sense," Vitter said in an interview with the Fox Business Network.

"The president...has also been attacking traditional energy, particularly oil and gas."

Vitter, a vocal critic of the administration's opposition to deepwater drilling, said he agreed with a recent court ruling that held the administration in contempt for its repeat imposition of a deepwater drilling moratorium.

On Wednesday, a Louisiana federal judge held the Interior Department in contempt for re-imposing a deepwater-oil drilling ban after the judge had struck down an earlier version of the moratorium last year.  Judge Martin Feldman’s ruling requires the department to pay attorneys' fees in the case against last year’s drilling ban that was brought by several offshore oil services companies.

That second ban, which the administration put in place in July, was lifted in October, but permitting for deepwater projects has not resumed yet as the Interior is requiring companies to meet tougher safety standards put in place after the Deepwater Horizon disaster.

That "permit log jam" amounts to a "de facto moratorium," Vitter said.  "The Obama administration is virtually issuing no permits, costing us jobs every day," he added.

And with much of the discussion in Washington focused on getting the federal deficit under control, Vitter said expanding domestic energy production, including oil, would bring in more revenue for the federal government.

"With a horrible deficit and spending and debt crisis, guess what else we're driving away?  Major federal revenue, because after the U.S. income tax, the biggest category of federal revenue are energy royalties.  And we are pushing that beneath the floor," he said.

Related:  White House says no offshore drilling permits without more details.
Court Orders Obama To Act On Drilling Permits
Steve Hargreaves is reporting that a federal court ordered the Obama administration Thursday to act on five deep water drilling permits in the Gulf of Mexico within 30 days, calling the delays in issuing new decisions "unreasonable, unacceptable, and unjustified."

In a case brought by the drilling company Ensco, U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Louisiana Judge Martin Feldman ruled that the four to nine months the company has waited for a decision on the permits it has a stake in is simply too long.

Feldman acknowledged the difficulty the administration's Bureau of Ocean Energy Management, Regulation and Enforcement has had in implementing new regulations in the wake of the BP disaster, but said the time has come to act.

"The Court therefore orders that [the bureau] is required to act on the five pending permit applications within thirty days of this Order and simultaneously report to the Court its compliance," Feldman wrote in his ruling, issued late Thursday.

A spokeswoman for the agency said it is reviewing the court's decision.

Continue reading here . . .
$535 Million In Porkulus Funds Lost On Green-Energy Turkey
Ed Morrissey says there wasn't much doubt about whether the White House would back of Solyndra in California.  The report from November, about the dissipation of more than a half-billion dollars, covered the facts well.  In fact, let’s watch the original report from the local ABC affiliate one more time:
Congress has now confirmed the waste in a letter from the House Energy and Commerce Committee to Energy Secretary Steven Chu:

Solyndra, Inc. was supposed to have showcased the effectiveness of the Obama administration’s stimulus and green jobs initiatives, but instead it has become the center of congressional attention for waste, fraud and abuse of such programs.

According to a Feb. 17 letter signed by Energy and Commerce Committee Chairman Fred Upton, Michigan Republican, and Oversight Subcommittee Chairman Cliff Stearns, Florida Republican, to Energy Secretary Steven Chu, the Fremont, Calif.-based solar panel manufacturer squandered $535 million of stimulus money. …
According to Biden’s speech, the $535 million loan guarantee was a smaller part of the $30 billion of stimulus money the administration planned to spend as part of its Green Jobs Initiative.

Obama made similar claims in a May 26, 2010 speech at the plant, but the 1,000 jobs he and Biden touted in their respective speeches failed to materialize.
Instead, Solyndra announced on Nov. 3 it planned to postpone expanding the plant, which cost the taxpayers $390.5 million, or 73 percent of the total loan guarantee, according to the Wall Street Journal.
It also announced that it no longer planned to hire the 1,000 workers that Obama and Biden had touted in their speeches and that it planned to close one of its older factories and planned to lay off 135 temporary or contract workers and 40 full-time employees.

Gosh, who could have predicted that the Solyndra pork project might fail?  Perhaps all of those Wall Street investors that avoided Solyndra for one obvious reason:

A closer look at the company shows it has never turned a profit since it was founded in 2005, according to its Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) filings.

And Solyndra’s auditor declared that "the company has suffered recurring losses, negative cash flows since inception and has a net stockholders' deficit that, among other factors, [that] raise substantial doubt about its ability to continue as a growing concern" in a March 2010 amendment to its SEC registration statement.

Just another object lesson in why government’s role shouldn’t be to pick winners and losers in a market.  They’re usually no good at it.  And in this case, we had two people -- Barack Obama and Joe Biden -- with no experience in private investment, management, or even energy production making those choices.

That’s a half-billion-dollar lesson that we’d all better heed in the future.
Obama’s Deprivation Nation
The Washington Times says as Obama hurries to catch up to Europe in the conversion to so-called green energy, our trans-Atlantic neighbors are finding that they can no longer afford to support their "sustainable" power schemes.  Obama‘s fiscal 2012 budget, released Feb. 14, takes a page from the global-warming believer’s hymn book.  It calls for a 4.2 percent boost in the Department of Energy‘s budget to $29.5 billion.  It also pours $8 billion into solar panels, windmills and batteries, blowing the country in the wrong direction.

Congressional Republicans attempted a small but important course correction on Saturday when they adopted an amendment to the House budget that prohibits the administration from sending $13 million in U.S. taxpayer dollars to the United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, an organization whose dodgy statistics have been used to inflame climate hysteria.  The United Kingdom, an early player in the green game, is also cutting back on its sponsorship of intermittent sources of power.  The U.K. Department of Energy and Climate Change announced Feb. 7 that it would reconsider one of its programs in light of evidence that money intended for homes and small businesses to generate their own electricity was being gobbled up by large-scale solar farms.  Investors who depend on government checks to bail out their money-losing ventures are crying foul.  "Change damages confidence in established assets, and for fledgling industries such as solar, it could be fatal," one investor told the Financial News.

Even the Netherlands, which has always been at the cutting edge of windmill technology, may pare back national goals for renewable energy.  Noting the unsustainable expense of underwriting such ventures in tough economic times, the Dutch are dropping the renewable mandates and instead planning to build their first new nuclear plants in nearly 40 years.

With many on both sides of the Atlantic struggling through yet another severe winter, trendy green programs look more and more like luxuries everyone can do without.  In Wales, about 26 percent of households find themselves in "fuel poverty," spending at least 10 percent of their income heating their homes.  Wales Online reports that during this particular cold spell, some low-income families chose to go hungry so they could afford to pay the bill to stay warm.

Until now, the European Union has been all-in on the green-power craze.  EU Energy Commissioner Gunther H. Oettinger recently threw cold water on the European plan to boost carbon-dioxide-reduction targets from 20 percent to 30 percent.  "If we go alone to 30 percent, you will only have a faster process of deindustrialization in Europe," he told Britain’s Guardian.

Deindustrialization is precisely the goal of the Obama administration.  While other nations drop out of the race to be the greenest, Obama soon could find himself running alone.  Winning this race would make losers of taxpayers, who would be the ones left in the cold.
Obama Pushes For $8-A-Gallon Gas
Ben Johnson says with oil prices surging above $100 a barrel, consumers are realizing they will be paying a heavy price at the pump for the unrest in the Middle East.  A perfect storm of foreign and domestic policy choices by the Obama administration has paved the way for European-style energy prices to arrive on these shores.  Far from being alarmed, Obama sees the prospect of $8 a gallon gas as an opportunity.

When it comes to energy, the White House has sought to augment government controls to prevent the "long-term threat of climate change, which if left unchecked could result in violent conflict, terrible storms, shrinking coastlines and irreversible catastrophe," in Obama‘s words.  Making energy more expensive is exactly what the administration’s "cap and trade" scheme is meant to do.  The theory is that pricier power will be used more frugally, which in turn will appease Mother Earth into blessing us with cooler weather.  Obama expressed the same outlook in May when -- with oil at $61 a barrel -- he signed a memorandum dictating to automakers the kinds of cars they will be allowed to sell.  At the time, Obama noted with trepidation, "The impetus for action would fade when gas prices started to go back down"…

It’s not possible for domestic production to relieve the pressure from international uncertainty.  Obama and congressional Democrats have blocked drilling in places like Alaska’s Arctic National Wildlife Refuge, in millions of acres of federal lands and in offshore locations.  Obama even took advantage of the BP oil disaster to shut down operations in the Gulf of Mexico.  Obama points to the small amount of oil currently produced at home to conclude, "We can’t drill our way out of the problem."  That’s only a true statement as long as the current policies place 67 percent of America’s reserves off-limits.

We’re now paying the price for weak leadership, but it’s about more than just paying a few bucks more at the local Chevron station.  Every product and service depends on the price of oil and the price of electricity.  The vast majority of goods hit the shelves after being transported by aircraft, ships and trucks powered by fossil fuels.  That’s why, as economists note, there is a direct correlation between the number of miles vehicles travel in a year and the nation’s Gross Domestic Product.  Unless there’s an immediate U-turn in the domestic and international agenda, we’re headed for rough economic times.

The ineffective response to problems in the Mideast, economic malaise and sky-high gas prices are all symptoms of an administration that take no interest in promoting economic growth.  Like his ideological soul brother Jimmy Carter, Obama is headed toward one-term status.
Does Obama Want $8 Gasoline?
Investors.com says that while we sit on abundant oil and natural gas reserves, prices at both the wellhead and the pump are rising on fears of spreading Mideast turmoil and short domestic supply.  But then, maybe that's the plan.

The silver lining for this administration in the gathering storm over the Middle East may be what it's doing and may yet do to energy prices.  The average price for gasoline jumped nearly 12 cents a gallon last week to $3.287, according to AAA.  But at the White House, that's not necessarily bad news.

Oil has surged to 2 1/2-year highs as the chaos in Libya chokes that nation's exports.  Yet among the "full range of options" the Obama administration is considering as the Libyan crisis festers, and the lit match of discontent gets perilously close to Saudi oilfields, ordering the full resumption of domestic oil and gas production is not one of them.  Why?

Energy Secretary Steven Chu has said that "any disruption in the Middle East means a partial disruption in the oil we import.  It's a world market, and (a disruption can) have real harm on the price."  And so, we would think, would the orchestrated and carefully planned disruption of domestic supply by this administration.

It's not just Mideast turmoil that has brought us to this point.  It's also a deliberate program of restricting domestic energy to make so-called green energy more attractive and necessary, keeping an Obama campaign promise that energy prices would "necessarily skyrocket" on his energy agenda.

Before he was appointed energy secretary, Chu expressed a fondness for high European gas prices as a means of reducing consumption of fossil fuels.  In September 2008, he told the Wall Street Journal: "Somehow we have to figure out how to boost the price of gasoline to the levels in Europe."  Gas prices in Europe then averaged about $8 a gallon.

Certainly every administration energy decision has had the effect of raising energy prices.  The Deepwater Horizon disaster gave the administration the excuse for a drilling moratorium in the Gulf of Mexico, one that a federal judge overturned.  When the administration reinstated the ban, it was found in contempt of court.

A virtual regulatory ban continues today.  At least 103 drilling permits await approval by a federal government that has not approved a single new permit since the moratorium was allegedly lifted last October.

The administration has announced that the eastern Gulf and the Atlantic and Pacific coasts will be off-limits for the next seven years.  The Interior Department has canceled four pending lease sales in Alaska.  Drilling in that state's Arctic National Wildlife Refuge is prohibited, and oil-rich offshore areas have been designated as critical polar bear habitat despite a booming bear population.

The administration's hostility to fossil fuels is documented.  Immediately on taking office, Interior Secretary Ken Salazar canceled 77 leases for oil and gas drilling in Utah.  Recently, in a stunning land grab, Salazar issued an order allowing Bureau of Land Management officials to place land with "wilderness characteristics" off-limits to energy development.  Some 6 million acres in energy-rich Utah would be affected.

The day before Obama was inaugurated, the average price of a gallon of gas was $1.83, the Heritage Foundation notes.  Today it's well over $3 and on the way to $4.  Prices for this February and last December were the highest ever for those months.

John Hofmeister, former president of Shell Oil, told Platt's Energy Week Television that Americans could be paying $5 for a gallon of gasoline by 2012 based on the uncertainty of world events, the lack of domestic supply and increased worldwide demand fueled by countries like India and China.

Democrats once accused Big Oil of deliberately restricting supply to enrich itself.  Now Obama may be doing the same on purpose -- a policy sure to impoverish us all.
Obama Continues His War On American Energy Producers
Ryan Dezember is reporting that Interior Secretary Ken Salazar said that U.S. regulators would not bow to political pressure to restart deepwater drilling in the Gulf of Mexico before they are certain the oil-and-gas industry is capable of containing an oil spill like the one that followed last BP's Deepwater Horizon disaster.

Translation -- "U.S. regulators would not bow to political pressure to restart deepwater drilling in the Gulf of Mexico before gas is $8 per gallon."

Salazar and Michael Bromwich -- the head of the U.S. Bureau of Ocean Energy Management, Regulation and Enforcement, which oversees offshore drilling -- were in Houston Friday to meet with oil industry executives to assess the spill-containment systems they have developed in the wake of nation's worst-ever marine oil spill.

Bromwich said he was "quite confident that we are getting very close to the point where we can begin issuing deepwater permits."  But he and Salazar said the industry still has work to do before exploration of the Gulf's deepest waters can resume.

The U.S. government shut down deepwater drilling shortly after the Deepwater Horizon exploded on April 20, killing 11 and unleashing a catastrophic oil spill.

The government's official ban was lifted in October, but regulators have yet to allow drilling to resume in water deeper than 500 feet despite mounting political pressure from congressional Republicans and Gulf Coast Democrats to reopen one of the nation's primary energy fields.

"We don't respond to political pressure," Salazar said.  "We are frankly doing what's right for America's energy program."

While Obama, and his tool Salazar continue to refuse to allow Americans to drill, The Gulf of Mexico and nearby Caribbean is loaded with oil companies from abroad.

Companies from nations like Norway, Spain, India, China, Russia and Brazil have signed exploration agreements with Cuba and the Bahamas that could mean drilling south of Key West in 2010, and 120 miles east of the Keys in the Cay Sal area of the Bahamas in fewer than one year.

Cuba’s communist newspaper Granma reported that the country’s state oil company Cubapetroleo, or CUPET, inked a deal with Russian company Zarubzhnieft to begin exploring for oil in four of the 59 blocks the island nation divvied up off its coast in the Gulf of Mexico.  Spain’s Repsol-YPF and Norway’s StatoilHydro have reached an agreement with BPC Limited to become the operator of three of BPC’s offshore exploration licenses in the Cay Sal area of the Bahamas.

Who is going to contain an oil spill from these companies?  Hint -- its initials are "USA."

And, did you know Obama
sent $2 billion to the Marxist government of Brazil to support Brazil's offshore oil production?  It's good for Brazil, but bad for America.

It is apparent that Obama is purposely doing everything he can to cripple America's energy sector -- but, to what end?

The Oil Crisis: How Bad Must It Get Before Obama Chooses to Act?
Obama Prolongs American Power Drain
The Washington Times says Obama has intentionally hamstrung domestic energy production under the delusional theory that the U.S. economy can thrive on so-called green power.  As Mideast turmoil threatens the oil supply, the price of domestic crude has jumped above $100 a barrel and gas prices at the pump have now hit $4.00 per gallon in some states.  This shows just how dangerous the Obama administration’s economic and energy policies can be to our wallets.

There can be no doubt that Obama took deliberate action to block access to the nation’s energy resources.  A federal judge recently found the Interior Department in contempt for ignoring his order overturning the oil-drilling moratorium the administration imposed following the BP oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico.  On Feb. 22, Judge Martin Feldman upped the pressure by insisting that the department act on five pending permits within 30 days.  Permits that would, under normal circumstances, be processed in two weeks have been ignored for four to nine months.  "Not acting at all is not a lawful option," Judge Feldman wrote.  The department had no choice but to issue the first permit since the spill on Feb. 28.

Interior pinned the blame for delays on technical problems.  Yet, as the department dithered, oil companies atrophied and employees lost work.  According to a study released in January by the business alliance Greater New Orleans, Inc., the moratorium cost Louisiana about 25,000 jobs.  Houston-based Seahawk Drilling, the most recent victim of the drilling ban, announced Feb. 18 that it had filed for bankruptcy and agreed to a buyout from a competitor.  The jobs of the company’s 494 employees are in jeopardy, according to USA Today.

Meanwhile, Obama’s fiscal 2012 budget proposal calls for imposing a $4 per acre fine on oil and gas companies for land on which they currently hold leases but are not drilling.  This gimmick helps the O Force imply that the industry is holding off on drilling in the hope that shortages will drive up prices.  This is the ultimate in hypocrisy for a leftist administration committed to hampering domestic production by blocking drilling in the Gulf, the Outer Continental Shelf and elsewhere across the country.

On Feb. 23, Treasury Secretary Timothy F. Geithner brushed off questions about the impact of oil price spikes resulting from civil war brewing in Libya and turmoil throughout the Middle East.  "The world’s got a lot of experience in managing the tensions that could come with short-term impact on commodity prices," he said.  For Americans who must bear the strain of these policies on their family budget -- while dutifully paying their taxes -- the consequences are real.

Prior to his election, Obama vowed to "transform" the nation.  Americans have learned too late that the transformation is from exceptionalism to mediocrity and from prosperity to bankruptcy.  America needs an energy policy where the most proven, cost-effective techniques are harnessed wherever possible here at home to fuel long-term, sustainable economic growth.

Related:  Check out this eye-opening email that subscriber *M* sent us.  He adds, "If we were to build at least two new refineries in this country, develop ANWAR and build a pipeline to Prudhoe Bay, it would create a half a million jobs.  Then we could tell the Saudi's to shove it.  The bottom line is that this is the real road to recovery and yet the left are fighting it tooth and nail.  Its time to get an actual American running things with real vision and loyalty to We the people."

Click the link and use the slider to view entire email.
$5.00 Gallon Gas Comes to LA
In May, 2010, Obama announced that he would limit new oil drilling in the Gulf of Mexico, and he has banned offshore oil drilling on the outer continental shelf until 2012 or beyond.

In June it was reported that Team Obama fudged a report to support their drilling moratorium in the Gulf of Mexico, but this didn’t stop the Obama Administration.  Last Friday the Obama Administration appealed a ruling to restore deepwater drilling permits in the Gulf of Mexico.   

Meanwhile, Russia is making a bold strategic leap to begin drilling for oil in the Gulf of Mexico.  While the United States attempts to shift gears to alternative fuels to battle the evils of carbon emissions, Russia will erect oil derricks off the Cuban coast.

Russia is using this oil exploration to establish a new presence in the Western Hemisphere.  It recently concluded four contracts securing oil-exploration rights in Cuba’s economic zone in the Gulf of Mexico.  A Russian-Cuban joint partnership will exploit oil found in the deep waters of the Gulf.

Cuba has rights to the area in which drilling will be conducted under an agreement the Carter administration recognized.

And, yesterday, White House chief of staff, William M. Daley, said Obama is considering tapping the Strategic Petroleum Reserve in response to rapidly rising gasoline prices brought on by turmoil in the Middle East.

"It’s something that only has been done on very rare occasions," Daley said on Meet the Press on NBC, adding, "It’s something we’re considering."

Of course Obama is considering tapping the emergency oil reserve.  It will weaken America.

If he was serious about the energy crisis, he would issue the drilling permits, and he would lift the offshore drilling bans he
imposed just last December.
Gas Prices Up 67% Under Obama
Mark Hemingway reminds us that in January of 2009, hope was in the air, but more importantly, gas was under two dollars a gallon.  Since then gas prices, have gone up 67 percent and it's an ominously upward trend.  Interestingly enough, the Heritage Foundation also took a look at the first 26 months of Bush's presidency -- gas only rose 7 percent during that time frame.
Now obviously turmoil in the Middle East has something to do with our current astronomical gas prices, but keep in mind that by this point in the Bush presidency 9/11 had happened and we were on the verge of invading Iraq.  So while Obama can't be entirely responsible for global commodity prices, it's still worth asking what Obama's doing to make things worse.

After all, this is the guy who told us, "We can’t drive our SUVs and eat as much as we want and keep our homes on 72 degrees at all times … and then just expect that other countries are going to say OK."

And Obama was that one that appointed a Secretary of the Interior that famously said he didn't mind if gas hit $10 a gallon.
High Energy Prices Are Obama’s "Explicit Policy Goal"
Christopher Neefus is reporting that  a prominent GOP senator on energy issues accused Barack Obama of having set an "explicit policy goal" of making energy prices more costly for Americans.

"My message today is simply this: higher gas prices -- indeed, higher prices for the energy we use -- are an explicit policy goal of the Obama administration," said Sen. James Inhofe (R-Okla), ranking member of the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee.  "Let me put it another way: the Obama administration is attacking affordable energy."

Inhofe’s comments come as crude oil futures traded up on anxiety over unrest in the Middle East and broke the triple-digit mark in recent weeks.  As of Thursday, light crude was trading at over $101 per barrel.

"We have, in fact, 163 billion barrels of recoverable oil -- nearly six times higher than what Obama and the Democrats like to claim," Inhofe continued.  "Let's think about 163 billion barrels for a moment: that is enough to maintain our current levels of production and replace our imports from the Persian Gulf for more than 50 years."

The senator, who regularly rails against the Obama administration’s support of so-called "cap-and-trade" legislation, said such policies are about starving the country of energy supply.

"You see, the cap-and-trade agenda is also about energy austerity," Inhofe said on the Senate floor.  "The hope is that if we restrict enough supply, the price will increase, and we can then simply shift to less costly alternatives.  Yet this is wishful thinking."

"If you think $4.00 is too much for a gallon of regular, fasten your seat belts."

Inhofe made the speech in support of the Energy Tax Prevention Act, legislation designed to bar the Environmental Protection Agency from moving to regulate carbon dioxide emissions under the Clean Air Act, which Republicans claim is outside the agency’s purview.  After he introduced the bill last week, it quickly picked up 42 more co-sponsors, including Democrat Joe Manchin (W.Va.).
The One Campaign Promise Obama Has Kept
That is, his promise to increase the price of gasoline. Sarah Palin explains:

Through a process of what candidate Obama once called "gradual adjustment," American consumers have seen prices at the pump rise 67 percent since he took office.  Let's not forget that in September 2008, candidate Obama's Energy Secretary in-waiting said: "Somehow we have to figure out how to boost the price of gasoline to the levels in Europe."  That's one campaign promise they're working hard to fulfill!  Last week, the British Telegraph reported that the price of petrol in the UK hit £6 a gallon -- which comes to about $9.70.  If you think $4 a gallon is bad now, just wait till the next crisis causes oil prices to "necessarily" skyrocket.  Meanwhile, the vast undeveloped reserves that could help to keep prices at the pump affordable remain locked up because of Obama's deliberate unwillingness to drill here and drill now.

Hitting the American people with higher gas prices like this is essentially a hidden tax and a transfer of wealth to foreign regimes who are providing us the energy we refuse to provide for ourselves.  Like inflation, higher energy prices are a hidden tax on Americans who are struggling to make ends meet.  And these high gas prices will be felt in the form of higher food prices due to higher transportation costs.  Energy is connected to everything in our economy.  Access to affordable and secure energy is key to economic growth, which in turn is key to job growth.  Energy is the building block of our economy.  The President is purposely weakening that building block and weakening our country.


2012 can't come soon enough.

Every word of that is true.  This chart, from the Heritage Foundation, is also instructive

John Hinderaker says Barack Obama took office as a naive leftist with essentially no knowledge of how our economy works or how wealth is created.  He subscribed to the leftist view that America is too rich and too powerful.  He therefore took office intending to make America poorer and weaker.  The single easiest way to accomplish this goal is by making energy more expensive.  Obama said that he would increase gasoline prices gradually and cause the cost of electricity to "skyrocket."  I'm not sure he has fulfilled any other campaign promise, but he has certainly made good on that one.  And every American is paying the price, every day.  Just as Obama intended.
Gasoline Up 100% Under Obama
James S. Robbins asks, feeling pain at the pump?  Gas prices have doubled since Obama took office.  According to the GasBuddy gasoline price tracking web site, the price of a gallon of regular gas was around $1.79 when Obama took office.  Today the national average is $3.58.  The lowest average price in the continental United States is $3.31 in Tulsa Oklahoma, the highest is $4.14 in Santa Barbara, CA.  Four-dollar-a-gallon gas has arrived on average throughout California, and a number of other states are headed in that direction.

Consumer price index (CPI) figures from February show an unadjusted 12 month gasoline inflation rate of 19.2%, but in the last month alone prices jumped 6.8%, probably because of oil price increases due to instabilities in the Middle East.  If the trend continues, gas prices would double again within a year.  100% gasoline price inflation is nothing to brag about, but imagine Obama going into the 2012 election having to explain why gas costs $7.00 a gallon?  I'm sure the White House would spin it as one of their "Green" initiatives.

Related:  Obama says "no quick fixes" on gas prices
Gas Prices See Highest March Price Ever
Susanna Kim says the weekly national average gas price showed the highest price ever during the month of March and the seventh consecutive increase this week, according to the Department of Energy.  Prices are at their highest level since 2008.

The national average gas price is $3.60 today, according to the Department of Energy, up 3 cents from a week ago and 80 cents from one year ago.  Last week's national average was an updated $3.56 per gallon for regular gas, the 13th consecutive week that the average was above $3 a gallon, according to the DOE.  The last time gas rose higher than $3.50 was Sept. 29, 2008, when the weekly average hit $3.64.

China is the second biggest consumer of oil, behind the U.S., and is expected to increase its demand by 6.5 percent this year, according to the U.S. Energy Information Administration.

And in California, where you MUST drive, gasoline has soared to $4.06 per gallon.

Related:  Gulf Coast Residents "Galled" by Obama’s Suggestion We Buy More Brazilian Oil

Excerpted from the Obots at ABC News.  You can read how they spin this very bad news here . . .
Obama Meets With Greenies At White House
Politico is reporting that Barack Obama met with a dozen environmental activists at the White House Friday during a meeting between White House staffers and Energy Action Coalition activists in town for the Power Shift 2011 conference -- a gathering of some 10,000 people, almost entirely college students, organizing to promote clean energy and the environment.

The discussion could be seen as an attempt to head off discontent on the left over the failure to pass a comprehensive climate change bill and Obama's embrace of offshore oil drilling, nuclear power and the use of "clean coal" technology.

The above statement, "Obama's embrace of offshore oil drilling, nuclear power and the use of "clean coal" technology," is complete nonsense -- actually, it's a lie.

Courtney Hight, co-director of the Energy Action Coalition and a former White House Council on Environmental Quality staffer, said the group is happy the White House and congressional Democrats were able to stop GOP attempts to block greenhouse gas regulations in the budget bill.

White House spokesman Clark Stevens said Obama "appreciated the opportunity to discuss the administration's record on clean energy as well as his ongoing focus to build a 21st Century clean energy economy with Power Shift leadership."

Former Vice President Al Gore opened the Power Shift conference Friday night with speech took aim at the fossil fuel lobby.

"It's true that governments, by and large, have been politically paralyzed because the energy companies -- the coal companies, the oil companies, the coal-burning utilities -- they have spent enormous amounts of money and they have succeeded in many countries in paralyzing the political process," Gore said, citing a statistic that there are four "anti-climate" lobbyists per lawmaker in Washington.

"But at the same time governments have been paralyzed, we are seeing at the grassroots level a fantastic growing movement, and we're also seeing some responses with renewable energy and conservation."

To that end, Gore, who's family fortune came from Occidental Petroleum -- lied, when he said wind and solar energy is "just a couple of years away" from being competitive on the national electric grid -- and energy efficiency.
As Gas Prices Reach $4 Per Gallon
Fox News is reporting that Shell Oil Company has announced it must scrap efforts to drill for oil this summer in the Arctic Ocean off the northern coast of Alaska.  The decision comes following a ruling by the EPA’s Environmental Appeals Board to withhold critical air permits.  The move has angered some in Congress and triggered a flurry of legislation aimed at stripping the EPA of its oil drilling oversight.

Shell has spent five years and nearly $4 billion dollars on plans to explore for oil in the Beaufort and Chukchi Seas.  The leases alone cost $2.2 billion.  Shell Vice President Pete Slaiby says obtaining similar air permits for a drilling operation in the Gulf of Mexico would take about 45 days.  He’s especially frustrated over the appeal board’s suggestion that the Arctic drill would somehow be hazardous for the people who live in the area.  "We think the issues were really not major," Slaiby said, "and clearly not impactful for the communities we work in."

The closest village to where Shell proposed to drill is Kaktovik, Alaska.  It is one of the most remote places in the United States.  According to the latest census, the population is 245 and nearly all of the residents are Alaska natives.  The village, which is 1 square mile, sits right along the shores of the Beaufort Sea, 70 miles away from the proposed off-shore drill site.

Kaktovik, Alaska
The EPA’s appeals board ruled that Shell had not taken into consideration emissions from an ice-breaking vessel when calculating overall greenhouse gas emissions from the project.  Environmental groups were thrilled by the ruling.

"What the modeling showed was in communities like Kaktovik, Shell’s drilling would increase air pollution levels close to air quality standards," said Eric Grafe, Earthjustice’s lead attorney on the case.  Earthjustice was joined by Center for Biological Diversity and the Alaska Wilderness League in challenging the air permits.

And NorCal blog is reporting that Obama has cleared the way to shut down oil production in America's richest source of domestic energy, the Permian Basin of West Texas.  This is their rational:

Sceloporus Arenicolus
The current threat to America's freedom comes from a 3 inch lizard called the Sceloporus Arenicolus, or better known as the Dunes Sagebrush Lizard or the Sand Dune Lizard.  It was originally classified as a subspecies of the Sceloporus Graciosus, or Common Sagebrush Lizard.  Before they designated the Dune Lizards as a separate species, there were so many of them you could feed them to the Chinese as a delicacy and never run out.
It was in 2002 that the Center for Biological Diversity first petitioned to have the lizard listed as endangered.  The Bush administration stood in the way of the lizard being listed for 6 years, but last year Obama cleared the way by ordering his administration to back off from delaying the listing.  This in spite of the news that Obama has repeatedly refused to grant species the protection for which they are known to qualify adding them instead to the waiting list.  So why did he allow this lizard to be listed?  There can be only one reason, and that is because Obama wants to destroy America's ability to be energy free.  So his relentless attack on America's energy capabilities continues.
Obama Keeps Up Assault On Oil Companies
Jamie Klatell is reporting that Obama used his weekly address to push his plan to end tax breaks to oil companies.  Amid rising gas prices and a heated debate over cutting the federal debt, Obama has targeted the incentives Washington gives the energy industry.

"I don’t have a problem with any company or industry being rewarded for their success.  The incentive of healthy profits is what fuels entrepreneurialism and helps drives our economy forward."... "But I do have a problem with the unwarranted taxpayer subsidies we’ve been handing out to oil and gas companies -- to the tune of $4 billion a year."

Senate Finance Committee Chairman Max Baucus (D-Mont.) Thursday vowed to shepherd a plan through the panel that ends billions of dollars in tax breaks for the largest oil companies.  Baucus released a short "blueprint" of the plan -- which would expand investment in "clean" fuels and efficient vehicles -- the same day that oil giants Exxon and Shell reported big gains in first-quarter profits.

The office of House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) rejected Democratic calls to consider legislation eliminating billions of dollars in tax breaks for the same corporations.  "The Speaker wants to increase the supply of American energy to lower gas prices and create millions of American jobs,"  Boehner spokesman Michael Steel said in an email.  "Raising taxes will not do that."

The national average price for a gallon of regular gas is $3.93, according to AAA's Fuel Gauge Report.

Obama said in Saturday's message that he wants an energy policy that increases energy production through traditional and alternative sources.

"We need to operate on all cylinders, and that means pursuing a broad range of energy policies, including safe and responsible oil production here at home."


"But I also believe that instead of subsidizing yesterday’s energy, we should invest in tomorrow’s -- and that’s what we’ve been doing. Already, we’ve seen how the investments we’re making in clean energy can lead to new jobs and new businesses."

Obama says a lot of things.  It's what he does that matters, and Obama has done everything he can to shut down or otherwise hobble the fossil-fuels industry.
Obama's Scandalous War Against Domestic Oil
David Limbaugh asks, do you remember the terrible things the left was saying about President George W. Bush when gas prices soared under his watch?  Yet Obama, whose policies and actions are actually contributing to rocketing gas prices today, gets the usual mainstream media pass.

Is it that the liberal media exempt Obama from accountability because they're on his team in general?  Is it because they think he's blameless in the equation even though they sprang to the unfounded conclusion that Bush was culpable?  Or could it be that they aren't critical because they share his bias against conventional energy and believe the pain caused by his policies is necessary to move us toward alternative energy sources?

During Bush's term, gas prices went down 9 percent, adjusted for inflation.  Yet, preposterously, he was excoriated for allegedly colluding with "big oil" to drive up prices.  When prices spiked later in his term, he took proactive steps to increase our supply and reduce prices, and they worked.  But Obama has taken action to impede conventional energy sources and shove us into alternative ones.  Even so, liberals ignore any possible causal links.

Obama told us he would bankrupt the coal industry.  He's pushing high-speed rail down our throats despite the lack of public demand for it and our inability to finance it.  Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood said the administration intended to coerce us out of our cars.  Energy Secretary Steven Chu said, "Somehow we have to figure out how to boost the price of gasoline to the levels in Europe."  In view of exploding gas prices, why aren't these statements seen as scandalous?  Where are the calls for investigations?

Obama demeans "big oil," pushes alternative energy every time he gets a chance and does everything in his power to suppress domestic oil production, then looks us in the face and tells us he's increasing domestic production -- kind of like how he says his budget won't add a penny to the national debt.  The audacity is of Hollywood magnitude, and so is the lack of scrutiny that enables it.  Behind the smoke and mirrors of his rhetoric, it's hard not to conclude that Obama's on a mission to suppress or shut down the existing oil infrastructure in the United States in pursuit of his stated alternative priorities.

The Heritage Foundation's Rory Cooper reports that, as of February 2011, at least 103 permits were awaiting review by the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management, Regulation and Enforcement.  And since February, the administration has issued on average only 1.3 permits a month, a 78 percent reduction in the monthly average according to the latest Gulf Permit Index.  Obama even reversed an earlier decision to open access to coastal waters for exploration, placing a seven-year ban on drilling in the Atlantic and Pacific Coasts and in the eastern Gulf of Mexico.  Oil production in the Gulf is expected to drop by 220,000 barrels per day in 2011, which is going to cost the U.S. some $1.35 billion in revenues in 2011.

Not only are we losing oil production and revenues, the administration's actions are destroying jobs in the oil industry and elsewhere.  Many companies are going out of business.  The Heritage Foundation reports that Seahawk Drilling, of Houston, laid off 632 employees before recently filing for bankruptcy as a direct result of Obama's moratorium and subsequent "permitorium."  Seahawk owned and operated 20 shallow-water rigs in the Gulf.  Randall Stilley, president and CEO of Seahawk, said, "As an American, you never want to look at your own government and say they're hurting you personally, they're hurting your business and they're doing it in a way that's irresponsible.  I'm not very proud of our government right now and the way they handled this."

Cooper explains that these crippling policies are having a negative rippling effect throughout the economy.  Many vendors, suppliers, restaurants and retailers are losing revenues or going out of business.  More than 30 deepwater rigs, which each employ around 200 people, have moved from the Gulf to other markets.  While the industry is on "life support," Obama is at war with it, brazenly spending billions to support foreign oil and jobs in Brazil.  Making matters worse, the administration and congressional Democrats are considering legislation that would further damage energy businesses by significantly increasing taxes on domestic oil and gas concerns.  And just in the past few days, we've been reading that the administration is floating a plan to tax cars by the mile.

Can you imagine the insanity and insensitivity of raising taxes on this ailing industry and its consumers (drivers) at a time when both need all the relief they can get?  Obama is no less determined to cram his preferred energy alternatives down Americans' throats than he was to force feed us socialized medicine.

Again, where is the outrage?
Obama On Oil -- Living A Lie
On May 6th, Barack Obama said:

'We’re actually producing more oil here than ever."

Natural Born Conservative says that the truth is that we are producing fewer barrels of oil here than we did in 1951.

click image for large copy
The U. S. Energy Information Agency statistics demonstrate Obama's lie here, and here.

Natural adds, "It’s time to start drilling, and time to stop lying.  If Obama won’t do it, then let’s find someone who will."

Related:  Is Obama a Serial Liar?

He certainly is, and Obama lies with impunity because he knows no one in the ObamaMedia will call him on his lies. 

American journalism is a joke.
House Approves Bill To Lift Drilling Moratorium
Chad Pergram is reporting that the House of Representatives voted to open more of the nation's oceans for oil and gas exploration on Thursday by a vote of 243 to 179.

The "Reversing President Obama's Offshore Moratorium Act," requires the Interior Department to set a production goal of three million barrels of oil per day for its 2012-2017 leasing plan.

In order to reach that target, the legislation requires the department to hold lease sales off the coast of Southern California, in the Arctic Ocean, off Alaska's Bristol Bay, and in the Atlantic Ocean from Maine to North Carolina.

Republicans say that the bill, along with two other drilling measures passed earlier this month, would create 1.2 million jobs and lower the price of oil. The Congressional Budget Office says that the offshore lease sales would generate $800 million in revenue over ten years.

The Obama administration released a statement opposing the bill Wednesday.  The White House argued that the proposal would undermine the current leasing process and mandate drilling leases without input from the affected states.
That Was Then -- This Is Now
On March 31, 2010, John Broder, of The New York Times, penned a report that said Obama was proposing to open vast expanses of water along the Atlantic coastline, the eastern Gulf of Mexico and the north coast of Alaska to oil and natural gas drilling, much of it for the first time.

He didn't.  he lied.

Yesterday, John Broder reported that Obama, facing voter anger over high gasoline prices and complaints from Republicans and business leaders that his policies are restricting the development of domestic energy resources, announced Saturday that he was taking several steps to speed oil and gas drilling on public lands and waters.

Obama said the administration would begin to hold annual auctions for oil and gas leases in the Alaska National Petroleum Reserve, a 23-million-acre tract on the North Slope of Alaska.  The move comes after years of demands for the auctions by industry executives and Alaska’s two senators, Lisa Murkowski, a Republican, and Mark Begich, a Democrat.

The administration will also accelerate a review of the potential environmental impact of drilling off the southern and central Atlantic coast and will consider making some areas available for exploration.  The move is a change from current policy, which puts the entire Atlantic Seaboard off limits to drilling until at least 2018.

Obama also said he would extend leases already granted for drilling in the Arctic Ocean off Alaska and the Gulf of Mexico that had been frozen after the BP spill last year.  The extension will allow companies time to meet new safety and environmental standards without having to worry about their leases expiring.

Broder notes that, "Tens of millions of acres onshore and offshore are under lease but have not been developed."

So what's the point of issuing new leases if Team Obama won't let the oil companies exploit their existing leases?

This is just more smoke and mirrors.  Obama is lying -- again.

In his report, Broder repeated Obama's biggest lie from last the week, that "Last year, America’s oil production reached its highest level since 2003," when in reality we are producing fewer barrels of oil here than we did in 1951.  The U. S. Energy Information Agency statistics demonstrate Obama's lie
here, and here.

Obama lied in 2010.  What are the odds that he's lying now?
Obama's Gas Solution:  More Government
J.K. Gregg is reporting that Obama took his weekly radio address to speak towards the growing gas prices across the country and offered a variety of solutions.  The common denominator of most of his solutions, however, was the direction of, funding from, and oversight by the federal government.

At the onset, Obama announced the creation of a task force to search and destroy "manipulations in the market that might affect gas prices" with particular focus on speculators.  Speculators have been the go-to scapegoat on oil prices by both the left and right.  Unfortunately, Obama's efforts are misguided.  Speculators are those trained individuals who -- with advanced knowledge of supply, demand, and the effects on each by current events -- buy and sell oil at risk to themselves.  If they speculate that a new fervent uprising in Iraq or Nigeria will shake the production of oil, then they will buy oil, increasing its price.  If an oil company strikes a new bountiful oil well, they will sell, and prices will decrease.  We rely on speculators' insight and knowledge of the oil market to give us oil at its market price.

Obama seems to view things differently.  Such high gas prices shouldn't be so, facts or market signals be damned.  Instead, Obama seeks to root out, regulate, or annihilate the very components of the oil market that make it tick.  Just as a contractor has the experience and know-how to complete a project on time and on budget, so too do speculators have the skill to buy and sell oil based on the facts of production.  To assume that the federal government could "resolve" anything related to speculation is an insulting irony.

Secondly, Obama seeks to expand domestic oil production, which is a step forward, but he qualifies such production with more regulation and misguided incentives...which make for two steps backwards.  Obama wants to unleash new permits to oil companies for drilling off the coast of Alaska, but he says that in order to make the process streamlined, a new government organization is required.  Such logic seems counterintuitive; how is it that more government bureaucrats and red tape will quicken leasing and not in fact slow it down?  Moreover, Obama wants to incentivize companies to drill in unused leases -- leases that do not have production-worthy quantities of oil or gas.  So while he pushes for the end of oil subsidies, he's more than willing to subsidize unproductive oil wells.  It seems a little two-faced.  The only difference between "incentives" and "subsidies" is the name.  The money still comes from you and me.

Obama has taken a statist approach to solving the "problem" of high gas prices.  Yes, gas prices are high, but oil is a limited resource subject to an infinite array of market conditions, current events, weather, and simple luck of the draw in drilling.  To demand a set price based on nothing but wishes is anti-capitalist speak.  Dictating prices didn't work for Stalin, Lenin, or Brezhnev; it won't work for Obama.
An Incandescent Bulb In Obama's Head
David Lawrence says Obama is sucked in by nearly every utopian idea that floats across his desk.

He backs cap and trade, green chimeras and restricting drilling.  He is a proponent of spending fortunes on high speed rail and electric plug-in cars.

Obama is Don Quixote chasing after absurd windmills to supply our need for energy.  He is riding with his faithful, flunky, Sancho Panza --Joe Biden.  Obama is investing billions of dollars in Brazilian oil while inhibiting oil jobs in America.

He has insisted that all incandescent bulbs be replaced by compact fluorescent bulbs, even though they are manufactured in China and will cost us jobs.  All in the pristine name of "clean" light bulbs.  Well, what the hell, let the Chinese be poisoned by these harmful compact fluorescent light bulbs.

And why does Obama do all these silly things?  Democrats boast altruistic purposes.  Obama ruins our economy so that polar bears won't die and glaciers won't melt in a few hundred years.  Forget that the glaciers are growing in Antarctica.

But where are our jobs?  How do we resurrect the economy?

Obama rode into office on Quixote's donkey with the promise that he would fix the economy and provide more jobs.  He has totally failed to do either.  Our economy is more in debt than ever and unemployment is certainly higher than it was.

Let's put an old incandescent bulb in Obama's head.  Let him light up to the idea that he should quit selling practical realism down the river for utopian, self-destructive idealism.
Report Finds Obama Policies To Blame For High Energy Prices
Andrew Stiles says a new report from the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform details a disturbing "pattern of evidence" indicating that not only are the Obama administration’s energy policies responsible for higher oil and gas prices, but that the administration’s energy policy, in fact, is higher gas prices.

The report’s findings are the result of an extensive committee review of public records, policy analysis, statements and e-mails from administration officials, and reveal "a pattern of actions [that] shows the Administration is, in fact, pursuing an agenda to raise the price Americans pay for energy," according to a copy of the report obtained by National Review Online.

"What Obama failed to accomplish through the so-called 'cap and trade' program, his administration is attempting to accomplish through regulatory roadblocks, energy tax increases, and other targeted efforts to prohibit development of domestic energy resources," the report concludes.

Among the report’s key findings:

•  Key administration officials, including Obama and Energy Secretary Steven Chu have gone on record in support of higher energy prices as a means to promote "green" technology by making it more economically viable.  The failed "cap and trade" legislation is a prime example of this approach.  "The result of this government action is less production, higher costs for producers, and more expensive energy," the reports states.

•  The United States currently boasts the largest domestic energy resources on earth -- "greater than Saudi Arabia, China and Canada combined."  New technology has allowed for greater access to these resources -- with the potential to increase domestic production by up to 40 percent -- but government regulations threaten to severely limit or restrict development.

•  Despite the fact that the United States relies on carbon-based fuels for more than 80 percent of its energy needs, the Obama administration has been "aggressively suppressing" the utilization of these fuels.

•  Current administration policies have limited the domestic production of oil by restricting access to resources located along the outer continental shelf.  Many of these restrictions were put in place before the disastrous Gulf oil spill.

•  Government agencies have stepped up efforts to regulate energy production indirectly through environmental restrictions, for example, by placing on the Endangered Species list certain animals that live in resource rich habitats, or "targeting independent energy producers for environmental concerns not related to their operations."

•  Obama’s proposal to increase taxes on the energy industry (and transfer some of the money to "green" energy) will severely impact the independent operators responsible for 95 percent of domestic oil and gas production.  The proposed tax hikes would cost these firms a combined $12 billion in the first year alone.

•  Independent operators are responsible for 95 percent of domestic oil and gas wells and they currently invest 150% of their domestic cash flow back into future projects development.  Tax increases proposed by Obama, some of which would be transferred to "green" energy producers, would cost energy producing firms a combined $12 billion in the first year.

•  Many of the "green" energy sources promoted by the administration "create unintended environmental, security and economic consequences," for example, by increasing the demand for Chinese "rare earth" materials, which subsequently boosts harmful coal production because that’s where more than two-thirds of China’s energy comes from.

According to the report, the administration’s "concerted campaign" to keep energy prices high extends "across government agencies" and constitutes a complete disregard for governmental transparency, much less the pocketbooks of all of those affected by the increased cost of energy.  "An effort to intentionally raise the costs of traditional energy sources is a dangerous strategy that will harm economic recovery and job growth," the report asserts.  "If past statements of key administration officials are indeed reflections of the policies they are pursuing, this strategy is playing a quiet but significant role in the higher energy prices Americans are currently paying."

The committee is releasing the report in conjunction with a hearing Tuesday morning titled "Pain at the Pump: Policies that Suppress Domestic Production of Oil and Gas."  Members will hear testimony from Lisa Jackson, Administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency, and David Hayes, Deputy Secretary at the Department of the Interior.  The hearing, designed to examine the harmful effects of government regulation on economic productivity, is part of the House Republican majority’s recent efforts to promote the "growth" portion of its "cut and grow" agenda.
Obama's Regulations Will Cost $200 Billion And Cause Rates To Skyrocket
Jim Hoft says in January 2008 Barack Obama told the San Francisco Chronicle:

"Under my plan of a cap and trade system electricity rates would necessarily skyrocket.  Businesses would have to retrofit their operations.  That will cost money.  They will pass that cost onto consumers."

He promised that his plan would cause electricity rates to skyrocket.
He wasn't kidding.

In January the Obama Administration, for the first time ever, blocked an already approved bid to build one of the largest mountaintop removal coal mines in Appalachian history, and, today it was reported by US News and World Reports that Obama's energy plans will cause electricity rates to necessarily skyrocket… Just as he promised:

Two new EPA pollution regulations will slam the coal industry so hard that hundreds of thousands of jobs will be lost, and electric rates will skyrocket 11 percent to over 23 percent, according to a new study based on government data.

Overall, the rules aimed at making the air cleaner could cost the coal-fired power plant industry $180 billion, warns a trade group.

"Many of these severe impacts would hit families living in states already facing serious economic challenges," said Steve Miller, president of the American Coalition for Clean Coal Electricity.  "Because of these impacts, EPA should make major changes to the proposed regulations before they are finalized," he said.

The EPA, however, tells Whispers that the hit the industry will suffer is worth the health benefits.

Related:  Obama Administration Spends $17.4 Million to Explore Market for Carbon Credits
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