President Obama last week tried to reboot his supposed energy policy during a much hyped speech at Georgetown University. The problem is that the Obama Administration does not have an energy policy to reboot. As with other major problems facing the country, the President and his team have been focusing on issues that placate the left and do not help the average hardworking American taxpayer. The speech at Georgetown was typical Obama; a lot of fluff and buzz words with no clear plan to achieve energy independence.
The first grand “energy plan” produced by the Obama Administration was Cap and Trade. This misguided policy would have taxed carbon emissions on power companies that would have been felt by middle class Americans. In 2009, the Congressional Budget Office estimated that the average household in the lowest tax bracket would see a $680 jump in energy costs if there were a 15 percent cut in emissions. Strikingly, the pain would have been felt hardest in states that rely on coal to power their homes and businesses – mainly in the mid-west and south.
Cap and Trade did pass the Nancy Pelosi-led House of Representatives in 2009, but failed to gain any traction in the United States Senate where Republicans had an effective minority. In 2010, the BP oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico led to a costly overreaction by the Obama Administration when it banned drilling and exploration in the Gulf and Eastern Atlantic. Fortunately, the drilling moratorium was lifted last October for the western Gulf, but the Obama Administration has been slow-walking the permit process in the Gulf and has banned drilling off the coasts of Florida, Virginia and the eastern Gulf for at least the next seven years. In essence, there is a de facto moratorium in place.
As James Adams of the Offshore Marine Service Association (OMSA) said during a House Energy and Power Subcommittee last month, “President Obama’s moratorium needs to end because it is killing jobs, raising the price of energy and making our country vulnerable to unpredictable international political forces.” It has been estimated that 300,000 barrels a day in production have been lost due to the de facto moratorium. The amount of jobs lost in the Gulf Coast region is estimated at 13,000.
Early last month, President Obama traveled to South America on his first trip to the continent as President. In Brazil he made a stunning statement that shows the hypocrisy of the Obama Administration’s energy policy:
“By some estimates, the oil you recently discovered off the shores of Brazil could amount to twice the reserves we have in the United States. We want to work with you. We want to help with technology and support to develop these oil reserves safely, and when you’re ready to start selling, we want to be one of your best customers.”
If you are an unemployed American living on the Gulf Coast, your blood must be boiling when you read that the President of the United States is more eager to drill off the coast of Brazil than to safely drill in the Gulf and Eastern Atlantic.
In his speech at Georgetown, President Obama claimed that America only held two percent of the world’s proven oil reserves. President Obama cannot quantify a number when his own administration has thrown up so many road blocks to oil exploration. Our dependence on foreign oil has become an urgent matter of national security. We must explore for oil off our shores or we will never know how much we have. This is a false argument from the President.
The results of the failed energy policies of the Obama Administration are evident at the gas pump. At the end of March, the national average price of gas was $3.60 – the highest ever recorded for the month. These high energy prices will have far reaching effects on the economy and will ultimately cost jobs. The Obama Administration must present a clear strategy for energy independence. The speech given last week by President Obama was good for sound bites but will not solve our energy problem.