Just Drill, Barry – John Ransom – Townhall Finance Conservative Columnists and Financial Commentary

 

Just Drill, Barry – John Ransom – Townhall Finance .

When presidential candidate John Kerry pointed out that he voted for the Iraq War before he voted against the Iraq War, we all thought it a terrible gaffe. But politics, in a study of how politics leads to a devolutionary society, no longer sees campaigning as being for something before being against something as gaffe-worthy.   

Yesterday’s sex scandal can be today’s mystique, if you are just willing to afterward reveal to teenagers on TV what kind of underwear you favor.

So it’s with this quaint notion that right can be made wrong- and vice a versa- if you just are brave enough to ask people to lower their standards by this much: <—> (not actual size…actually much, much smaller) that we address Democrat energy policy- or lack thereof- depending on your standards… or lack thereof.

It turns out that being for having an energy policy before being against it –or vice a versa- it isn’t a gaffe at all; no, indeed.

Under Obama, the Democrats have made it part of the party platform.For example, did you know that president Obama has been a champion of Big Oil since he became our Chameleon-in-Chief?

That’s right: Oil production is at an all time high under- hurray!- his administration because he’s been so cooperative with oil and gas producers- and, depending on your standards, or lack thereof, you might even believe him when he says it.

Last year the New York Times was so disgusted with Obama’s landmark, much-billed energy policy speech that they actually issued this correction:

This article has been revised to reflect the following correction:

Correction: March 30, 2011

A previous version of this article misstated how many of the president’s proposals to reduce the country’s reliance on imported oil were new in his speech on Wednesday. None of them were, not one of them.

So let’s you, me and the New York Times agree that Obama really doesn’t have an energy policy. Recently Obama reinforced that notion.

You see, Obama was against oil production before his newest, bestest policy, just recently embraced 72 hours ago, that- to paraphrase him- says: “Drill, Barry, drill.”

His change of heart <hack, cough>, or lack thereof, has come about in wake of the administration’s latest self-inflicted gunshot wound to the economy, rising oil prices… again.  

For decades the basic policy of all US governments, Democrat or Republican, has been to keep oil prices relatively low and relatively stable.  To argue a contrary policy, as Obama has done, would be like arguing that a higher crime rate leads to less crime because we’d end up getting more criminals off the street and in to jail. Crime rates would certainly go up, if we encouraged it. 

So it goes with oil prices.     

Since Democrats took over Congress in 2007, we’ve gone from relatively stable oil prices to all time highs, a small correction, and now we are headed back to all-time highs…again.  We have neither low prices, nor stable prices.

And oil prices have been rising during a jobs recession masquerading as Obama’s Summer of Love. Just wait to see what oil prices do when we have real economic growth. But of course we neither have had growth nor will we grow under these self-defeating economic and energy policies, which are really the same thing. 

Makes you wonder if the same bright federal lights who illegally sold guns to Mexican meth dealers are also in charge of energy policy (see Solyndra). It’s the only explanation that I can come up with for the willful blindness that allows the Obamanauts to not see that their energy policy, like their policy on gun-walking, WON’T END WELL.

Economies around the world have been reeling and tottering on the brink of disaster: Japan? Recession, Europe? Recession. China? Double Secret Recession.

The thing the world needs is rapidly-rising oil prices.

And this just in: Guess who has the largest amount of oil reserves in history? That’s right: the U-S-A.  

“In fact, the U.S. has a mind-boggling 1.4 trillion barrels of oil,” writes Investors Business Daily, “enough to ‘fuel the present needs in the U.S. for around 250 years,’ according to the Institute for Energy Research. The problem is the government has put most of this supply off limits.”

We have lots of recoverable oil it seems, but we don’t have a recoverable president of the United States.

China, Japan and Europe, with a combined $30.6 trillion in GDP, are responsible for almost half the economic output of the world. Despite contraction in those economies, oil prices are still making new highs. Basic supply and demand, if supply and demand weren’t artificially restricted and inflated by our genius central planners at central banks around the world, should have oil prices going down, not up to new highs.

We are in the midst of repeating exactly what happened in 2008: A world economy already sputtering, faced rapidly rising oil prices until oil prices collapsed, taking everything else with it. 

Built to last? This newest oil bubble? Maybe. But I tend to think of oil as the real estate play of 2012. In 2011 we at least needed bad, bad news to chase oil prices up. Now it’s just happening on its own. 

The so-called soft-patch economy we’ve been in since last year has been the result of spiking oil prices as much as anything. Last year at this time, a red flag was going up on all the great economic news Obama was bragging about. The red flag was oil prices that were spiking to two year highs on news out of Libya regarding regime change and news out of Japan about the tsunami. One extended soft-patch later, the lesson that seems to be lost on the administration is that oil prices do have a direct effect on US economic growth.    

If oil prices stay high, this time, it just means the US economy will be slowed to a standstill- again, if it ever really has grown in real terms rather than just inflated. On the other hand, if oil prices collapse, it just means the financial losses in the oil patch will ripple throughout markets. And these are markets that have more assets, concentrated in fewer places than was true in 2008- in other words they are much too bigger to fail than last time we had to bailout troubled assets.

And remember Obama fixed too big to fail. Let’s hope that he doesn’t have to try to prove it. That has the makings of Tyson-Holyfield Part III. We’ll be lucky if someone just loses an ear, so to say.   

Because far from ensuring more production of oil, Obama has done everything he can to restrict oil production at a time when the country has finally discovered enough oil to become a net exporter of petroleum. Obama, in fact, has concentrated oil assets in fewer distribution outlets and the result has been higher prices.   

“The administration’s actions and its policy proposals on domestic oil and natural gas development are out of synch with its words,” says the president of the American Petroleum Institute (API). Oil producers, who API represents, actually benefit from these high prices. “The administration is restricting where oil and natural gas development may occur, leasing less often, shortening lease terms, going slow on permit approvals, and increasing or threatening to increase industry’s development costs through higher taxes, higher royalty rates, higher minimum lease bids, and more regulations.”

Contrast oil prices with natural gas prices which “plunged 32 percent in 2011 to end the year at $2.989 per million British thermal units for the largest annual decline in half a decade,” reports Bloomberg. “Since then, gas fell another 12 percent, thanks to mild North American weather that crimped demand for the fuel to run furnaces and added to the surfeit.”

The difference between gas and oil?

“Fracking has opened up vast areas of [natural gas] development on a scale that’s practically overwhelming for the industry,” said William Dutcher, president of Dutcher and Co., an Oklahoma City- based operator of 1,300 oil and gas wells,” according to Bloomberg. And now Obama supporters are trying to kill fracking as well.

Efforts to stimulate the economy- which are likely more widespread than either the Fed or the White House are willing to admit- without addressing the US domestic oil supply issues will just have the effect of raising oil prices even higher as more and more dollars chase up commodities like oil. The administration seems to be caught in a vicious cycle of central bank stimulus measures that inflate our economy, followed by a collapse of economic growth because of inflation, followed by renewed central bank stimulus measures, followed by inflation, followed by….

It’s that unknown “followed by” that’s really scary.  And it’s real too.

Just ask the millions who have stopped looking for work, permanently.  

So? What about those jobs?

They’re going into your gas tank via Middle East oil, while our surplus oil remains in the ground.

That’s a standard, or lack thereof, that Obama seems to have always been for even when he says he’s against it.

 

MURDOCK: High cost of fantasy fuel – Washington Times

MURDOCK: High cost of fantasy fuel – Washington Times.

Team Obama fines companies for not buying fuel that doesn’t exist

By Deroy Murdock

Why does America’s economy feel like an SUV running on fumes? The Obama administration’s laughably rigid enforcement of a Bush-era ethanol mandate typifies today’s regulatory climate. When Uncle Sam governs with a tire iron in his hand, U.S. companies wisely pull off the road and pray for new management.

The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has slapped a $6.8 million penalty on oil refiners for not blending cellulosic ethanol into gasoline, jet fuel and other products. Those dastardly petroleum mongers are being so intransigent because cellulosic ethanol does not exist. It remains a fantasy fuel. The EPA might as well mandate that Exxon hire leprechauns. So far this year — just as in 2011 — the supply of cellulosic biofuel in gallons totals zero.

EPA’s decision is arbitrary and capricious. We fail to understand how EPA can maintain a requirement to purchase a type of fuel that simply doesn’t exist,” said Charles Drevna, president of American Fuel and Petrochemical Manufacturers (AFPM), the Washington-based association for the oil-refining industry.

President George W. Bush idiotically signed the Energy Independence and Security Act (EISA) of 2007. Beyond prohibiting Thomas Edison’s groundbreaking incandescent light bulb by 2014, EISA’s Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) mandated cellulosic ethanol. Under the RFS, refiners had to blend 6.6 million gallons of cellulosic ethanol in 2011. Although this substance is not extant, EPA then demanded to see 31 percent more of it. This year’s quota is 8.65 million gallons. Somehow, EPA expects cellulosic ethanol to leap magically from test tubes into storage tanks.

Presidents Bush and Obama have pumped about $1.5 billion in grants and guarantees into converting cellulosic ethanol from dream into reality. As Thomas J. Pyle of the Institute for Energy Research reports, Team Obama handed a $105 million loan guarantee to POET LLC, “the world’s largest ethanol producer,” to create cellulosic fuel. Last September, Abengoa Energy scored a $134 million loan to build a Kansas cellulosic factory. Last August, Mr. Obama gave the Navy $510 million to develop biofuels for the U.S. armed forces.

Way back in 2010, about 70 percent of fantasy fuel was supposed to spring from Cello Energy in Alabama. Unfortunately, in 2009, a jury determined that Cello had falsified its production capacity. Cello went silent in October 2010 when it filed for bankruptcy.

The National Academy of Sciences predicted last year that by 2022, EPA’s mandated cellulosic supplies will not materialize “unless innovative technologies are developed that unexpectedly improve the cellulosic biofuels production process.” In other words, if you don’t build it, they will not come.

The oil refiners absorbed all of this and chose, at first, to play nice. AFPM and the American Petroleum Institute petitioned EPA in February 2011 and again on Jan. 20 — that time joined by the Western States Petroleum Association (WSPA). As the administration gave labor unions and entire states waivers from Obamacare, the refiners asked for waivers from the RFS mandate.

Fully 15 months after the first petition and four months beyond the second, EPA Administrator Lisa P. Jackson finally rejected the refiners’ appeals, reaffirming that they must obey this regulation — never mind that they more easily could defy gravity. “We thank you for your interest in these issues,” Ms. Jackson’s May 22 letter cheerily said.

Thus, on June 11, the AFPM and WSPA sued EPA in D.C. Circuit Court. The plaintiffs hope a federal judge will blend some sanity into a scenario that resembles the work of Salvador Dali.

Rather than focus on expanding operations and creating jobs, lawful American companies must spend money to sue the federal government for relief from unobservable rules. This fact demonstrates how boneheaded and bullheaded Washington has become. Even worse, businessmen beyond the oil industry watch this charade and wonder when the regulatory tumbrels will roll by for them.

Washington’s unyielding, heavy-handed and nonsensical behavior nonetheless may obscure a sliver of silver lining. The Bush-Obama administration indeed has invented a hybrid fuel: Cellulosic ethanol is one-half industrial policy and one-half comedy routine.

Deroy Murdock is a columnist with the Scripps Howard News Service and a media fellow with Stanford University’s Hoover Institution.

PYLE: Energy Department sneaks offshore moratorium past public – Washington Times

PYLE: Energy Department sneaks offshore moratorium past public – Washington Times.

Jobs and oil-supply potential are shut down

By Thomas J. Pyle

While the Obama administration was taking a victory lap last week after the 5-4 Supreme Court decision to uphold the president’s signature legislative accomplishment, Obamacare, the Interior Department was using the media black hole to release a much-awaited five-year plan for offshore drilling. That plan reinstitutes a 30-year moratorium on offshore energy exploration that will keep our most promising resources locked away until long after President Obama begins plans for his presidential library. Given the timing, it is clear that the self-described “all of the above” energy president didn’t want the American people to discover that he was denying access to nearly 98 percent of America’s vast energy potential on the Outer Continental Shelf (OCS).

The Outer Continental Shelf Lands Act (OCSLA) of 1953 provided the interior secretary with the authority to administer mineral exploration and development off our nation’s coastlines. At its most basic level, the act empowers the interior secretary – in this case, former U.S. Sen. Kenneth L. Salazar of Colorado – to provide oil and gas leases to the highest-qualified bidder while establishing guidelines for implementing an oil and gas exploration-and-development program for the Outer Continental Shelf. In 1978, in the wake of the oil crisis and spiking gasoline prices, Congress amended the act to require a series of five-year plans that provide a schedule for the sale of oil and gas leases to meet America’s national energy needs.

But since taking office, Mr. Obama and Mr. Salazar have worked to restrict access to our offshore oil and gas resources by canceling lease sales, delaying others and creating an atmosphere of uncertainty about America’s future offshore development that has left job creators looking for other countries’ waters to host their offshore rigs. More than 3 1/2 years into the Obama regime, nearly 86 billion barrels of undiscovered oil on the Outer Continental Shelf remain off-limits to Americans. Alaska alone has about 24 billion barrels of oil in unleased federal waters. The Commonwealth of Virginia – where Mr. Obama has reversed policies that would have allowed offshore development – is home to 130 million barrels of offshore oil and 1.14 trillion cubic feet of natural gas. But thanks to the president, Virginians will have to wait at least another five years before they can begin creating the jobs that will unlock their offshore resources.

Once you add those restrictions to the vast amount of shale oil that is being blocked, the administration has embargoed nearly 200 years of domestic oil supply. No wonder the administration wanted to slip its plan for the OCS under the radar when the whole country was focused on the health care decision.

But facts are stubborn things, and the Obama administration cannot run forever from its abysmal energy record. In the past three years, the government has collected more than 250 times less revenue from offshore lease sales than it did during the last year of the George W. Bush administration – down from $9.48 billion in 2008 to a paltry $36 million last year. Meanwhile, oil production on federal lands dropped 13 percent last year, and the number of annual leases is down more than 50 percent from the Clinton era.

Under the new Obama plan, those numbers will only get worse. The 2012-17 plan leaves out the entire Atlantic and Pacific coasts and the vast majority of OCS areas off Alaska. It cuts in half the average number of lease sales per year, requires higher minimum bids and shorter lease periods and dramatically reduces lease terms. Yet, somehow, we’re supposed to believe that our “all of the above” president is responsible for increased production and reduced oil import.

With oil hovering around $85 a barrel and nationwide gas prices nearly double what they were when Mr. Obama took office, you’d think the administration might implement a sensible plan to promote robust job creation and safe offshore energy development. Instead, what we get is the latest phase in the Obama administration’s war on affordable energy, filed under cover of media darkness while the nation was swallowing its Obamacare medicine.

Thomas J. Pyle is president of the Institute for Energy Research.

Energy: Coincidences, Truth, and Propaganda – Tea Party Nation

Energy: Coincidences, Truth, and Propaganda – Tea Party Nation.

By Alan Caruba

On April 18th I received an email from the Sierra Club announcing that “We’re endorsing President Obama for reelection. We’ve made too much progress over the past four years to give it all back to Big Polluters.”

Among the Sierra Club’s many projects to plunge the nation back to the golden days of reading by candle light and transportation by horse has been “Beyond Oil.” It praised the President for implementing “the toughest fuel efficiency standards for cars and trucks in history.” Never mind that this has driven up the cost of cars and trucks or that the price of gasoline at the pump is headed toward historic highs.

The Center for Automotive Research has warned that overly stringent standards could add $10,000 to the cost of a new car, thereby decreasing sales, reducing production, and thereby destroying as many as 220,000 jobs. A 2002 National Academy of Sciences study concluded that CAFÉ’s downsizing effect makes cars less safe and contributed to as many as 2,600 deaths per year.

The enemy for the Sierra Club and others like Friends of the Earth has long been coal and oil, but coincidently on the same day, the U.S. Department of the Interior, no friend to either energy source, released its “Global Estimate for Undiscovered, Technically Recoverable Conventional Oil and Gas Resources.” It is an assessment by the U.S. Geological Survey.

U.S. has Largest Energy Reserves on Earth

The estimate, however, excluded data on the U.S. resources. In March 2011, however, the Congressional Research Service (CRS) released a report that revealed that America’s combined energy reserves are the largest on Earth. We sit atop an estimated 163 billion barrels of oil, domestic and offshore. The U.S. accounts for more than 28% of the world’s coal reserves, at least 262 billion tons. Natural gas? We have, conservatively, an estimated 2,047 trillion cubic feet.

The worldwide estimates for recoverable oil are in the billions of barrels but thanks to Obama’s Interior Department fewer leases to explore and extract it on federal owned lands have been issued and some have been reversed. When you add in the fiasco caused by two moratoriums on drilling the Gulf of Mexico, both ruled illegal by the courts, the true intent of the administration is well known and established.

In the wake of Earth Day with all its usual lies about “peak oil”, the “Global Estimate” concluded that the world “holds an estimated 585 billion barrels of undiscovered, technically recoverable conventional oil.” In addition, it estimated that were is “5,606 trillion cubic feet of undiscovered, technically recoverable conventional natural gas” and “167 barrels” of comparable natural gas liquids.”

For reasons known only to those who set energy policy in the U.S., according to the Institute for Energy Research, “fossil fuel (coal, oil, and natural gas) production on Federal and Indian lands is the lowest in the nine (9) years” that the U.S. Energy Information Administration has issued such reports. It is six percent less than in Fiscal year 2010.

Americans are being deliberately starved of the energy sources we have in abundance.

We are being robbed in the form of higher prices for electricity produced in the most expensive fashion, wind and solar, instead of affordable coal. Not only are gasoline prices up, but the government continues to demand more mileage per gallon of gas.

The result of the environmental organizations propaganda to demonize oil and coal, and the Obama administration’s anti-energy policies, has been the loss of revenues, as well as jobs, from royalties and taxes paid to the government. Meanwhile, Americans have watched the Obama administration loan guarantees to solar industry corporations waste well over a billion taxpayer dollars.

As for wind energy, Reuters reporter Andy Sullivan recently reported that the industry actually “shed 10,000 jobs since 2009 even as the energy capacity of wind farms doubled.” To put this in context, Sullivan also reported that “the oil and gas industry has added 75,000 jobs since Obama took office.”

The Obama administration energy policies have been a thorough-going failure that puts in jeopardy the ability of the nation’s energy industries ability to keep up with demands for more electricity and more fuel for its automotive and truck fleets.

© Alan Caruba, 2012

VITTER: Truth about Obama’s energy claims – Washington Times

VITTER: Truth about Obama’s energy claims – Washington Times.

By Sen. David Vitter – The Washington Times

President Obama and his interior secretary, Kenneth L. Salazar, have been amazingly creative in trying to convince us that they’ve actually promoted a robust domestic energy agenda and increased oil production. But it only takes a little research to conclude that Mr. Salazar and the Obama administration have been flat-out wrong with some of their claims and incredibly misleading with others.

Obama claim: Domestic oil production is up under his administration.

Last month, the nonpartisan Congressional Research Service issued a report revealing that 96 percent of the increase in domestic oil production since 2007 has occurred on nonfederal lands, production the federal government has little or no role in.

But the federal government owns and completely controls almost 2.5 billion acres of land and offshore zones, including our Outer Continental Shelf, an area that is actually larger than the entire land mass of the United States. What’s been happening with oil production there? The government’s own director of the Bureau of Land Management, Bob Abbey, testified to Congress on this very point recently: Oil production is actually down 14 percent on federal property and down 17 percent offshore from a year ago.

The recent Congressional Research Service report confirms this: In 2011, production on federal property declined by an average of 275,000 barrels per day.

So when Mr. Obama says oil production is up, he’s right – and utterly misleading. It’s up because of private-sector activity on nonfederal land that Mr. Obama and the federal government have very little say over (though they’re trying to change that in significant ways). Almost everywhere they play a major role, production is down.

Obama claim: Oil production on federal land and offshore is up since the president took office.

This is another very interesting Obama manipulation of the data and again, utterly misleading.

Oil production on federal property did increase in 2009 and 2010. This was a result of leasing and permitting decisions made by the President George W. Bush’s administration, not Mr. Obama’s. In contrast, the fall-off from the leasing and permitting actions of the Obama administration is very significant, as noted above in the 2011 figures. It’s projected to get even worse in 2012 and beyond.

That’s because Mr. Obama’s five-year lease plan for offshore is half of what the previous plan was – moving us in the wrong direction. And permitting in the Gulf of Mexico is still more than 40 percent below levels prior to the BP oil spill.

Obama claim: “America only has 2 percent of the world’s oil.” This is the real grandaddy of all Obama energy statistics.

In fact, nothing could be further from the truth. We are the single most energy-rich country in the world, bar none.

Mr. Obama bases this statement on our nation’s “proven reserves.” But the president’s own Energy Information Administration has stated that proven reserves is “not an appropriate measure for judging total resource availability in the long-term.” It’s a very narrowly defined universe because more than 90 percent of our U.S. energy resources have been placed off-limits by the Obama administration.

For example, according to the Institute for Energy Research, the “[U.S. Geological Survey] estimates that unconventional U.S. oil shale resources hold 2.6 trillion barrels of oil, with about 1 trillion barrels that are considered recoverable under current economic and technological conditions. These 1 trillion barrels are nearly 4 times the amount of oil resources as Saudi Arabia’s proven oil reserves.”

None of this is counted in the Obama statistics.

Now you know “the rest of the story,” as radio broadcaster Paul Harvey used to say. It explains the difference between what we know in our gut and what we hear out of Mr. Obama’s Washington. And as usual, it confirms that we should trust our gut.

As bad as the Obama energy reality is, the good news is that America can turn the tide rapidly and take control of our energy destiny. That’s because we are, as previously stated, the single most energy-rich country in the world, bar none. All we need to do is have a government that lets us produce it.

If the president and his administration spent less time crafting their labored image of promoting domestic energy production and spent more time actually opening up our vast federal resources, we’d be on our way to building energy independence, to helping lower the price at the pump, to creating millions of good-paying jobs – even on our way to increasing revenue and lowering deficit and debt, since new domestic production would produce enormous new federal revenue.

Sen. David Vitter is a Louisiana Republican.

Critics rip Obama claim that drilling in U.S. won’t drop gas prices – Washington Times

Critics rip Obama claim that drilling in U.S. won’t drop gas prices – Washington Times.

By Susan Crabtree – The Washington Times

President Obama has been touring the country this week touting increased oil and gas production numbers during his time in office — but his selective quotes and figures tell only part of the story.

Citing statistics showing an eight-year high in domestic oil and gas supply, Mr. Obama says his administration has opened up millions of acres to gas and oil exploration across 23 states while gas prices have continued to rise — so more drilling will do nothing to alleviate pain at the pump.

“We’ve quadrupled the number of operating rigs to a record high. We’ve added enough new oil and gas pipeline to encircle the Earth and then some,” he said. “So we are drilling all over the place [-] right now. That’s not the challenge. That’s not the problem.”

In making such sweeping statements, Mr. Obama has not acknowledged other facts and figures that are not so flattering for his administration — the impact of actions his administration took after the BP/Deepwater Horizon oil spill or his dramatic shift away from drilling in areas of the outer continental shelf that President George W. Bush proposed at the end of his term.

Republican presidential contender Newt Gingrich has railed against Mr. Obama’s “anti-energy” policies and Thursday revisited his $2.50-a-gallon gasoline pledge, saying “there is a silver bullet” to the nation’s energy needs: “It’s called drilling.”

One day before a trip to the oil-dominated economy of Shreveport, La., GOP presidential front-runner Mitt Romney said Thursday that Mr. Obama has “done almost everything wrong with regards to energy and almost everything wrong with regards to the economy.”

“And I don’t think it’s because he’s a bad guy. I just think he’s over his head and doesn’t have the experience to know how what he is doing is harming the American people,” Mr. Romney said.

Thomas J. Pyle, president of the industry-funded Institute for Energy Research, has a more cynical view. He labels Mr. Obama’s latest energy tour, as well as his administration’s Thursday announcement that it will fast-track the southern segment of the Keystone XL pipeline, as part of an ongoing “charade” on energy.

“This administration’s record speaks for itself,” he said. “For more than three years, President Obama has implemented a three-part strategy: delay, deny and deceive.”

Both sides used an Energy Information Agency report issued in mid-March to boost their arguments. While the report confirmed that domestic oil production is at an eight-year high, it also showed that Mr. Obama had little if any role in helping boost domestic supply even though he takes credit for it on the stump.

Domestic oil production last year averaged 5.6 million barrels a day, the highest output since 2003 and a 4 percent jump since Mr. Bush’s last year in office, according to the March EIA report, but it’s far below production levels of a decade ago.

Republicans argue that Mr. Obama is taking credit for several lease sales Mr. Bush put into place while failing to take advantage of the end of an 18-year ban on drilling in the outer continental shelf, which the Bush administration lifted in 2008 in response to public outcry over high gas prices.

But the vast majority of the increase in domestic oil and gas production in recent years has occurred on state and private land in North Dakota and Texas, where the president has no role in protecting or permitting drilling. Instead, technological advances that allow companies to extract oil from shale formations have driven the exploration.

Just this week, the nonpartisan Congressional Research Service released a report showing federal oil production as representing 7.5 percent of total oil produced from all onshore U.S. lands in 2011, even though the federal government owns more than 30 percent of the lands with oil-producing potential.

The actions Mr. Obama took after the BP/Deepwater Horizon oil spill in 2010 sharply decreased oil production on federal lands and offshore waters in 2011 — even though that year’s numbers were 12 percent higher than when Mr. Bush left office.

Mr. Obama’s critics say the first six months of the moratorium cost the U.S. at least 12,000 jobs and $2 billion. After the spill, the Obama administration canceled or delayed several lease sales that were part of the Bush administration’s 2007-12 outer continental lease plan, which a Democrat-controlled Congress approved in 2007.

After lifting the drilling ban, Mr. Bush began coming up with a five-year plan for the outer continental shelf that would cover 2010 to 2015 and replace the 2007-12 blueprint, which didn’t provide for lease sales in areas covered by the moratorium.

Right before Mr. Obama took office, the Interior Department issued a draft outer continental shelf oil and gas leasing plan, which included 31 planned lease sales — including four areas off Alaska, two areas off the Pacific Coast, three areas in the Gulf of Mexico and three areas off the Atlantic Coast.

Less than a month after taking office, Mr. Obama delayed the Bush administration’s five-year plan and didn’t come up with a new 2012-17 lease proposal until late last year. The draft allows lease sales only in areas that are already open to drilling, including lease sales in the Western Gulf of Mexico and Alaska — leaving portions of the Arctic and the entire Atlantic and Pacific coasts off-limits to more energy production and job creation.

EDITORIAL: Obama’s gasoline excuse machine – Washington Times

EDITORIAL: Obama’s gasoline excuse machine – Washington Times.

President’s effort to shore up energy strategy not going down well

President Obama noticed spiraling gasoline prices have opened a hole in his bid for a second term in the White House large enough to drive a fuel tanker through. American voters ought not to let the president fill that void with lame excuses or empty promises. There’s only one way to prove his leadership for another four years will pull gas costs back from the red zone: Let the oil flow.

Prices at the pump have soared to near-record levels, now averaging $3.84 a gallon nationwide. GOP presidential candidates have correctly laid blame at the Oval Office door. Mr. Obama has fired back that there’s “no silver bullet” that will bring down gas prices. Sticking to his guns, he lobbied Democratic senators earlier this month to block Republican efforts to resurrect the proposed 1,700 mile Keystone XL oil pipeline, which would have supplied the United States with 700,000 barrels of Canadian crude a day.

The “no silver bullet” argument has proved to be a dud, however, as polls show Americans overwhelmingly blame the president for expensive gas. A recent Washington Post/ABC News poll found two-thirds of Americans disapprove of the way he is handling this pocketbook issue.

The president has boasted that domestic oil production has risen since he took office in 2009 but fails to mention that operations on private lands are responsible for the increase. The amount of petroleum extracted from federal lands – under White House jurisdiction – actually fell 13 percent in 2011, according to the Institute for Energy Research. Tumbling in tandem is oil yield from the Gulf of Mexico, dropping from a third of the nation’s total to a quarter since Mr. Obama clamped down on offshore drilling following the 2010 BP oil spill. His overall approval rating likewise has skidded 9 points in the past month to a dismal 41 percent, according to a recent New York Times/CBS News survey.

Mr. Obama has taken to charging that his GOP presidential challengers act as if they can wave “a magic wand” and provide an endless supply of cheap gas. Meanwhile, he has conjured some magic of his own, pressuring Saudi Arabia to sell the United States more petroleum, and the kingdom has responded by boosting shipments by 25 percent since the beginning of the year. Increased supply is meant to lower gas prices by easing oil-market jitters over potential disruptions arising from Iran’s nuclear program. So far, it hasn’t worked.

During his Saturday radio address, Mr. Obama vilified Big Oil and urged Congress to end its annual tax breaks worth $4 billion: “Your member of Congress should be fighting for you, not for big financial firms. Not for big oil companies.” Killing the tax deductions would only make gas even costlier as companies pass along the costs to consumers.

Inhibiting domestic oil production and increasing energy dependency on unfriendly regimes consigns the nation to persistent economic hardship. It doesn’t take a wizard to divine what polls are saying: If you want a second term, put down the magic wand, drilling bans and green fantasies. Let the free market provide affordable gas.

The Washington Times

Big Lies on Big Oil – David Limbaugh – Townhall Conservative Columnists

English: Undiscovered technically recoverable ...

Image via Wikipedia

Big Lies on Big Oil – David Limbaugh – Townhall Conservative Columnists.

How much truth is there in President Obama’s latest favorite mantra that we consume a disproportionate share of the world’s oil, especially considering how little of the world’s reserves we have?

Recently, Obama said: “But here’s the thing about oil. We have about 2, maybe 3, percent of the world’s proven oil reserves. We use 25 percent of the world’s oil. So think about it. Even if we doubled the amount of oil that we produce, we’d still be short by a factor of five.”

First, let’s look at the raw numbers and then examine Obama’s misleading framing of the issue. This is important because he uses these statistics to justify his reckless expenditure of federal funds to pursue alternative “green” energy sources, such as the disgraceful and scandalous Solyndra project.

The United States has some 20 billion barrels of oil in reserves. By “reserves” we’re talking “proven” reserves, meaning those that are certain to be recoverable in future years from known reservoirs under existing economic and operating conditions. That is, we have 20 billion barrels of oil that is recoverable at current prices and under lands currently available for development.

That definition excludes many oil reserves that Obama has declared off-limits. According to the Institute for Energy Research, we have more than 1.4 trillion barrels of oil that is technically recoverable in the United States with existing technology. The largest deposits are located offshore, in portions of Alaska and in shale deposits in the Rocky Mountain states. So the United States has more recoverable oil than the rest of the non-North American world combined. The Heritage Foundation says this is enough to fuel every passenger car in the nation for 430 years. Therefore, “it is merely semantics — not a scientific assessment of what America has the capacity to produce — that allows critics to claim repeatedly that America is running out of energy.”

When you add in recoverable resources from Canada and Mexico, the total recoverable oil in North America exceeds 1.7 trillion barrels. “To put this in context, Saudi Arabia has about 260 billion barrels of oil in proved reserves.”

Another critical point: Even using the restrictive definition of reserves Obama is using, the 20-billion barrel figure is misleading, because Obama is clearly implying it is a fixed, or static, number — as though with every barrel of oil we consume, we are pushing the oil energy doomsday clock another second toward the apocalypse. But in fact, that number is not static, but constantly in flux.

The institute tells us that in 1980, for example, the United States had 30 billion barrels of oil in reserves. But over the next 30 years — through 2010 — we produced 77 billion barrels. Now, how can it be that we produced almost 2 1/2 times more oil than we had available, consumed a great deal and still ended up with plenty left over?

Obama’s own Energy Information Administration is predicting a steady increase in reserves on land currently available for exploration. Heritage’s David Kreutzer says, “It projects that improvements in technology and the economics of extraction, production, and sales actually will lead to a 23.7 percent increase in U.S. reserves — even after extracting billions of barrels of oil in the interim.”

There’s more. Obama’s formulation conflates two different measures. True, we might have only between 2 and 3 percent of the world’s recoverable reserves — as narrowly and misleadingly defined — but we don’t consume 25 percent of the world’s oil reserves, which is what Obama wants you to believe. We consume closer to 22 percent — but it’s not of reserves; it’s of the world’s oil production. But, as Heritage notes, “we consume about 22 percent of the world’s production of everything,” not just oil. Consumption is determined by income, not by available resources — and for those who are always knocking the United States, we also produce about 22 percent of the world’s total output of all goods and services.

Admittedly, we don’t produce 22 percent of the world’s total oil output; it’s more like 6 to 10 percent. But experts say this number will increase even if we don’t access the other abundant sources that Obama has declared off-limits.

For overblown and in some cases completely fabricated environmental concerns, Obama is preventing us from greatly expanding the pie of our oil reserves, from offshore drilling to Alaska to Keystone to fracking, and at the same time throwing government money down the ratholes of projects that aren’t sound and economically prudent enough to warrant substantial private investment dollars.

He’s told us he wants to bankrupt the coal industry, get us out of gas-driven cars and into electrical clunkers and onto bike paths, and increase the price of gas.

Why don’t we believe him?

David Limbaugh is a writer, author and attorney. His latest book, “Crimes Against Liberty,” was No. 1 on the New York Times best-seller list for nonfiction for its first two weeks.

Just Drill, Barry – John Ransom – Townhall Finance Conservative Columnists and Financial Commentary

Just Drill, Barry – John Ransom – Townhall Finance Conservative Columnists and Financial Commentary.

When presidential candidate John Kerry pointed out that he voted for the Iraq War before he voted against the Iraq War, we all thought it a terrible gaffe. But politics, in a study of how politics leads to a devolutionary society, no longer sees campaigning as being for something before being against something as gaffe-worthy.

Yesterday’s sex scandal can be today’s mystique, if you are just willing to afterward reveal to teenagers on TV what kind of underwear you favor.

So it’s with this quaint notion that right can be made wrong- and vice a versa- if you just are brave enough to ask people to lower their standards by this much: <—> (not actual size…actually much, much smaller) that we address Democrat energy policy- or lack thereof- depending on your standards… or lack thereof.

It turns out that being for having an energy policy before being against it –or vice a versa- it isn’t a gaffe at all; no, indeed.

Under Obama, the Democrats have made it part of the party platform.



For example, did you know that president Obama has been a champion of Big Oil since he became our Chameleon-in-Chief?

That’s right: Oil production is at an all time high under- hurray!- his administration because he’s been so cooperative with oil and gas producers- and, depending on your standards, or lack thereof, you might even believe him when he says it.

Last year the New York Times was so disgusted with Obama’s landmark, much-billed energy policy speech that they actually issued this correction:

This article has been revised to reflect the following correction:

Correction: March 30, 2011

A previous version of this article misstated how many of the president’s proposals to reduce the country’s reliance on imported oil were new in his speech on Wednesday. None of them were, not one of them.

So let’s you, me and the New York Times agree that Obama really doesn’t have an energy policy. Recently Obama reinforced that notion, when he tried to sell us on the idea that he’s responsible for increased oil production. Please.

You see, Obama was against oil production before his newest, bestest policy, just recently embraced 72 hours ago, that- to paraphrase him- says: “Drill, Barry, drill.”

His change of heart <hack, cough>, or lack thereof, has come about in wake of the administration’s latest self-inflicted gunshot wound to the economy, rising oil prices… again.

For decades the basic policy of all US governments, Democrat or Republican, has been to keep oil prices relatively low and relatively stable.  To argue a contrary policy, as Obama has done, would be like arguing that a higher crime rate leads to less crime because we’d end up getting more criminals off the street and in to jail. Crime rates would certainly go up, if we encouraged it.

So it goes with oil prices.

Since Democrats took over Congress in 2007, we’ve gone from relatively stable oil prices to all time highs, a small correction, and now we are headed back to all-time highs…again.  We have neither low prices, nor stable prices.

And oil prices have been rising during a jobs recession masquerading as Obama’s Summer of Love or Day of Rage. Just wait to see what oil prices do when we have real economic growth. But of course we neither have had growth nor will we grow under these self-defeating economic and energy policies, which are really the same thing.

Makes you wonder if the same bright federal lights who illegally sold guns to Mexican meth dealers are also in charge of energy policy (see Solyndra). It’s the only explanation that I can come up with for the willful blindness that allows the Obamanauts to not see that their energy policy, like their policy on gun-walking, WON’T END WELL.

Economies around the world have been reeling and tottering on the brink of disaster: Japan? Recession, Europe? Recession. China? Double Secret Recession.

Rising oil prices won’t help.

And this just in: Guess who has the largest amount of oil reserves in history? That’s right: the U-S-A.

“In fact, the U.S. has a mind-boggling 1.4 trillion barrels of oil,” writes Investors Business Daily, “enough to ‘fuel the present needs in the U.S. for around 250 years,’ according to the Institute for Energy Research. The problem is the government has put most of this supply off limits.”

We have lots of recoverable oil it seems, but we don’t have a recoverable president of the United States.

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China, Japan and Europe, with a combined $30.6 trillion in GDP, are responsible for almost half the economic output of the world. Despite contraction in those economies, oil prices are still making new all-time highs. Basic supply and demand, if supply and demand weren’t artificially restricted and inflated by our genius central planners at central banks around the world, should have oil prices going down, not up to new all-time highs.

We are in the midst of repeating exactly what happened in 2008: A world economy already sputtering, faced rapidly rising oil prices until oil prices collapsed, taking everything else with it.

Built to last? This newest oil bubble? Maybe. But I tend to think of oil as the real estate play of 2012. In 2011 we at least needed bad, bad news to chase oil prices up. Now it’s just happening on its own.

The so-called soft-patch economy we’ve been in since last year has been the result of spiking oil prices as much as anything. Last year at this time, a red flag was going up on all the great economic news Obama was bragging about. The red flag was oil prices that were spiking to two year highs on news out of Libya regarding regime change and news out of Japan about the tsunami. One extended soft-patch later, the lesson that seems to be lost on the administration is that oil prices do have a direct effect on US economic growth.

If oil prices stay high, this time, it just means the US economy will be slowed to a standstill- again, if it ever really has grown in real terms rather than just inflated. On the other hand, if oil prices collapse, it just means the financial losses in the oil patch will ripple throughout markets. And these are markets that have more assets, concentrated in fewer places than was true in 2008- in other words they are much too bigger to fail than last time we had to bailout troubled assets.

And remember Obama fixed too big to fail. Let’s hope that he doesn’t have to try to prove it. That has the makings of Tyson-Holyfield Part III. We’ll be lucky if someone just loses an ear, so to say.

Because far from ensuring more production of oil, Obama has done everything he can to restrict oil production at a time when the country has finally discovered enough oil to become a net exporter of petroleum. Obama, in fact, has concentrated oil assets in fewer distribution outlets and the result has been higher prices.

“The administration’s actions and its policy proposals on domestic oil and natural gas development are out of synch with its words,” says the president of the American Petroleum Institute (API). Oil producers, who API represents, actually benefit from these high prices. “The administration is restricting where oil and natural gas development may occur, leasing less often, shortening lease terms, going slow on permit approvals, and increasing or threatening to increase industry’s development costs through higher taxes, higher royalty rates, higher minimum lease bids, and more regulations.”

Contrast oil prices with natural gas prices which “plunged 32 percent in 2011 to end the year at $2.989 per million British thermal units for the largest annual decline in half a decade,” reports Bloomberg. “Since then, gas fell another 12 percent, thanks to mild North American weather that crimped demand for the fuel to run furnaces and added to the surfeit.”

The difference between gas and oil?

“Fracking has opened up vast areas of [natural gas] development on a scale that’s practically overwhelming for the industry,” said William Dutcher, president of Dutcher and Co., an Oklahoma City- based operator of 1,300 oil and gas wells,” according to Bloomberg. And now Obama supporters are trying to kill fracking as well.

Efforts to stimulate the economy- which are likely more widespread than either the Fed or the White House are willing to admit- without addressing the US domestic oil supply issues will just have the effect of raising oil prices even higher as more and more dollars chase up commodities like oil. The administration seems to be caught in a vicious cycle of central bank stimulus measures that inflate our economy, followed by a collapse of economic growth because of inflation, followed by renewed central bank stimulus measures, followed by inflation, followed by….

It’s that unknown “followed by” that’s really scary.  And it’s real too.

Just ask the millions who have stopped looking for work, permanently.

So? What about those jobs?

They’re going into your gas tank via Middle East oil, while our surplus oil remains in the ground.

That’s a standard, or lack thereof, that Obama seems to have always been for even when he says he’s against it.

Note: The dead Marines killed in a training accident have been identified. Please keep them and their families in your prayers. If you know a Marine, or a former Marine, do something nice for them this week.

Being in the military is a hard, dangerous, uncomfortable business at peace or in war. They volunteer their freedom and security, so you can have both. Pay them back.


“Like” me on Facebook and you’ll get sneak peaks of columns and, as an added bonus, I will never raise your taxes. Send me email and I just might mention you on Sunday.

How to Murder a Superpower – Tea Party Nation

How to Murder a Superpower – Tea Party Nation.

By Alan Caruba

It is the crime of the century that America, home to some of the world’s greatest reserves of coal, natural gas and oil, is being deliberately destroyed by the Environmental Protection Agency and the Department of the Interior as they do everything in their power to restrict access and drive energy producers out of business.

It is common sense that a nation that cannot produce sufficient electricity to turn on its lights and power its manufacturing sector will be destroyed if current Obama administration regulations and actions continue. Our vital transportation sector and all others that utilize petroleum-based products will suffer, too.

While President Obama babbles about millionaires and billionaires, everyone will be impoverished by the loss of jobs and revenue our energy sector produces now and can produce in the future.

This isn’t an “energy policy.” It’s a “no-energy policy” and it is a guarantee of economic disaster.

Obama’s decision to reject a permit for Canada’s XL Keystone pipeline is just one example. It is a job-killer and a revenue-killer. There are thousands of pipelines serving America’s energy needs and the XL Keystone pipeline would ensure that Canada’s own vast energy reserves would flow to America. It is one of our key trade partners and Obama has slapped it in the face.

In early January, Ken Salazar, the Secretary of the Interior, announced a new 20-year, million-acre ban on uranium mining for federal lands in Arizona, despite the fact that these lands hold the highest-grade of known uranium deposits in the United States. It is an outrage that a new GOP-Congress will have to overturn if the nation is to be assured of sufficient uranium to power its nuclear plants and for weapons development. If the ban remains, these uranium resources would be inaccessible until 2023!

Tom Pyle, president of the Institute for Energy Research said that Salazar’s announcement “further compounds a man-made energy crisis that has been planned and executed in Washington, D.C.

At the same time we are learning of enormous natural gas discoveries that can reduce our energy bills and turn sleeping little towns into boomtowns, environmental organizations have launched a vast propaganda campaign against “fracking”, a technology that has been safely used for more than fifty years. Their claims about dangers to the nation’s supply of fresh water are baseless. Their claims that fracking has caused earthquakes in Ohio are absurd.

Need it be said that the Environmental Protection Agency has turned its eyes on fracking and is working on a report due later this year that will likely call for harsh crackdowns on its use and more regulations to throttle the expansion of natural gas extraction?

The EPA has just released a report of those power plants that top the list of its regulation of carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions. There is no basis in science to justify the reduction of CO2. Indeed, since it is a gas on which all vegetation depends, much as oxygen is vital to all animal life, reducing it would impair great crop yields and healthier forests.

These regulations are based on the global warming hoax that blamed CO2 for warming the earth. That is utterly false. The Earth is currently in a perfectly natural cooling cycle and the climate of the Earth is almost entirely based on the Sun—solar radiation—along with the actions of oceans, clouds, and even volcanic activity that spews tons of particulates into the atmosphere.

Coal-fired power plants account for fifty percent of all the electricity generated in the United States. Fifty percent! And yet the EPA is determined to shut down dozens of them providing that vital factor in the lives of all Americans and the economy, nor does this take into account the billions that energy producers have spent to upgrade their technology to reduce emissions.

The Obama administration fuel economy agenda, a call for 54.5 miles per gallon ignores simple physics. There is a finite amount of energy a gallon of gas can generate. If you dilute it with ethanol as is currently required, you get even less mileage. The administration is trying to circumvent Congress by issuing standards based on regulating “greenhouse gas emissions”, but there is no need for this. It is a false argument. The Center for Automotive Research says that the proposed new standards would cause the retail price of average motor vehicles to increase by more than $11,000.

Americans and the nation’s future are being victimized by Obama administration policies. The 18th annual Index of Economic Freedom, was released on January 12th by The Heritage Foundation and The Wall Street Journal, measures the many factors that contribute to the economic health of a nation—things like property rights, regulatory efficiency, open markets, free trade and labor policies.

Economic freedom is declining worldwide as governments try to spend their way out of the global recession. The United States fell to 10th place. In 2009 it ranked 6th, in 2010 it was 8th, and in 2011, it was 9th.

We are witnessing the deliberate murder of a superpower.

© Alan Caruba, 2012

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