It’s unbelievable (literally) the rhetoric coming from President Obama today. This is coming from he who is manipulating the U.S. energy supply. President Obama is once again giving lip service to a “new energy proposal”; but let’s remember the last time he trotted out a “new energy proposal” – nearly a year ago to the day. The main difference is today we have $4 a gallon gas in some places in the country. This is no accident. This administration is not a passive observer to the trends that have inflated oil prices to dangerous levels. His war on domestic oil and gas exploration and production has caused us pain at the pump, endangered our already sluggish economic recovery, and threatened our national security. 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. Meanwhile, the vast undeveloped reserves that could help to keep prices at the pump affordable remain locked up because of President Obama’s deliberate unwillingness to drill here and drill now. We’re subsidizing offshore drilling in Brazil and purchasing energy from them, instead of drilling ourselves and keeping those dollars circulating in our own economy to generate jobs here. The President said today, “There are no quick fixes.” He’s been in office for nearly three years now, and he’s about to launch his $1 billion re-election campaign. When can we expect any “fixes” from him? How high does the price of energy have to go?
So, here’s a little flashback to what I wrote on March 31, 2010, at National Review Online’s The Corner:
Many Americans fear that President Obama’s new energy proposal is once again “all talk and no real action,” this time in an effort to shore up fading support for the Democrats’ job-killing cap-and-trade (a.k.a. cap-and-tax) proposals. Behind the rhetoric lie new drilling bans and leasing delays; soon to follow are burdensome new environmental regulations. Instead of “drill, baby, drill,” the more you look into this the more you realize it’s “stall, baby, stall.”
Today the president said he’ll “consider potential areas for development in the mid and south Atlantic and the Gulf of Mexico, while studying and protecting sensitive areas in the Arctic.” As the former governor of one of America’s largest energy-producing states, a state oil and gas commissioner, and chair of the nation’s Interstate Oil and Gas Conservation Commission, I’ve seen plenty of such studies. What we need is action — action that results in the job growth and revenue that a robust drilling policy could provide. And let’s not forget that while Interior Department bureaucrats continue to hold up actual offshore drilling from taking place, Russia is moving full steam ahead on Arctic drilling, and China, Russia, and Venezuela are buying leases off the coast of Cuba.
As an Alaskan, I’m especially disheartened by the new ban on drilling in parts of the 49th state and the cancellation of lease sales in the Chukchi and Beaufort seas. These areas contain rich oil and gas reserves whose development is key to our country’s energy security. As I told Secretary Salazar last April, “Arctic exploration and development is a slow, demanding process. Delays or major restrictions in accessing these resources for environmentally responsible development are not in the national interest or the interests of the State of Alaska.”
Since I wrote the above, we have even more evidence of the President’s anti-drilling agenda. We have the moratorium in the Gulf of Mexico as well as the de-facto moratorium in the Arctic. We have his 2012 budget that proposes to eliminate several vital oil and natural gas production tax incentives. We have his anti-drilling regulatory policies that have stymied responsible development. And the list goes on. The President says that we can’t “drill” our way out of the problem. But we can’t drive our cars on solar shingles either. We have to live in the real world where we must continue to develop the conventional resources that we actually use right now to fuel our economy as we continue to look for a renewable source of energy. If we are looking for an affordable, environmentally friendly, and abundant domestic source of energy, why not turn to our own domestic supply of natural gas? Whether we use it to power natural-gas cars or to run natural-gas power plants that charge electric cars, natural gas is an ideal “bridge fuel” to a future when more renewable sources are available, affordable, and economically viable on their own. It’s a lot more viable than subsidizing boondoggles like these inefficient electric cars that no one wants. I’m all for electric cars if you can develop one I can actually use in Alaska, where you can drive hundreds of miles without seeing many people, let alone many electrical sockets. But these electric and hybrid cars are not a quick fix because we still need an energy source to power them. That’s why I like natural gas, but we still have to drill for natural gas, and this administration doesn’t like drilling or apparently the jobs that come with responsible oil and natural gas development. They don't have a coherent energy policy. They have piecemeal ideas for subsidizing impractical pet “green” projects.
I have always been in favor of an “all-of-the-above” approach to energy independence, but "all-of-the-above" means conventional resource development too. It means a coherent, practical, and forward-looking energy policy. I wish the President would understand this. The good news is there is nothing wrong with America’s energy policy that another good old-fashion election can’t solve. 2012 is just around the corner.
- Sarah Palin