Energy right on our shores – Washington Times – LUTHI

 

Energy right on our shores – Washington Times – LUTHI

.When the Interior Department released its five-year plan for our nation’s offshore energy resources late last month, it revealed that President Obama’s “all of the above” energy strategy excludes new areas for offshore natural gas and oil. The plan for the Outer Continental Shelf (OCS) fails to open access to any new areas on the East and West coasts and unnecessarily delays sales in Alaska, putting the nation further behind other countries that are expanding their offshore energy industries.

Fortunately, House Natural Resources Committee Chairman Doc Hastings, Washington Republican, is advancing legislation to fix the plan by expanding access to the OCS. My organization supports the legislation because the United States — thanks to a domestic energy boom driven by new exploration and drilling techniques mainly on state and private lands — realistically can set a course to dramatically reduce its dependence on Middle Eastern oil. The administration’s plan stands in the way because it leaves new offshore opportunities sidelined until 2017.

This is frustrating news for Americans, who time and time again hear the same empty promises about tapping into domestic energy resources when gas prices rise at the pump but never see follow-through. It’s worse for many of the millions of unemployed Americans who would jump at the opportunities the offshore energy industry and the sectors that support it could provide if only given a chance to find out how much oil and natural gas we have off our coasts.

Inexplicably, the new plan even restricts access to offshore Virginia, which was included in the previous five-year plan. This step backward flies in the face of bipartisan support for offshore development from the Old Dominion’s U.S. senators, its governor, a majority of the congressional delegation and the state legislature. Meanwhile, new land-based natural gas and oil operations in states such as North Dakota, Pennsylvania and Texas are supporting tens of thousands of new jobs in each state while providing much-needed new revenue to local and state governments. While the nation’s unemployment rate hovers above 8 percent, the oil and gas industry in North Dakota is actively seeking workers in a state that has an unemployment rate of about 3 percent.

States such as Virginia and South Carolina see what’s happening in other parts of the country and ask, “Why not us?” The key difference is that the energy boom in the nation’s interior is taking place on state-owned and private land. In fact, over the past year, oil production on federal lands and waters is down 14 percent, including 17 percent in the Gulf of Mexico.

If this proposed final plan moves forward without modifications from Congress, our country’s energy future will be worsened. It will hamper efforts to reduce our reliance on imported oil, and much-needed jobs won’t be created. Producing what we have offshore would generate as much as $1.3 trillion over the life of the resource for government at all levels. Leaving much of this out of the picture simply makes no sense. It’s not too late to change course. The Natural Resources Committee quickly passed Mr. Hastings‘ legislation last week, as should the full House and the Senate. There’s no time to waste.

Randall Luthi is president of the National Ocean Industries Association.

 

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» Malkin: Obama’s Interior Department Still Going Rogue » Commentary — GOPUSA

» Malkin: Obama’s Interior Department Still Going Rogue » Commentary — GOPUSA.

The Obama administration’s loathsome cowboy, Interior Secretary Ken Salazar, won’t take no for an answer. He’s been smacked down repeatedly by federal courts for imposing a draconian, junk science-based moratorium on the oil and gas industry. Yet, the job-killing zealot and his boss just introduced another ruinous offshore drilling ban two weeks ago.

The White House rationale for the renewed crackdown? Because we said so.

Thomas Pyle of the D.C.-based Institute for Energy Research reports that the Salazar scheme “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.” Instead of working to enhance our energy independence and free up abundant natural resources, the Obama administration has worked tirelessly to close off access to nearly 86 billion barrels of oil on America’s Outer Continental Shelf alone.

The latest plan involves the interior secretary’s authority to auction oil and gas leases and to oversee oil and gas research and exploration on the OCS. Pyle explains that 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.”

The official Obama for America slogan may be “Forward,” but the Salazar-Obama anti-drilling regime leaves America behind. National Ocean Industries Association President Randall B. Luthi told the Oil and Gas Journal (an industry publication): “This deeply disappointing ‘no new access’ plan does not reflect the comprehensive, ‘all of the above’ energy policy touted by the administration, nor does it keep pace with the energy policies of foreign nations that are expanding their offshore access to develop badly needed oil and gas.”

No surprise. Salazar is an unrepentant glutton for punishment — of America’s energy producers. He’s had the unwavering support of President Obama ever since the aftermath of the BP oil spill in 2010, when the administration implemented a radical six-month freeze on America’s entire deepwater drilling industry. Republicans must forcefully counter the campaign fables being spun by Team Obama with the truth about these rogue overlords.

When the president’s Chicago flacks boast of their noble commitment to transparency, remember: The overbroad drilling ban was stuffed into a technical safety document in the middle of the night by Obama’s unaccountable green extremists.

When White House operatives tout their miraculous economics, remind them: The cost of the original Obama-Salazar edict is an estimated 19,000 jobs and $1.1 billion in lost wages. The new ban takes both coasts off the table and throws Alaska oil and gas sales into uncertain delay.

When Democrats tout their adherence to sound science, don’t forget: The administration’s own expert panel disavowed Salazar and former eco-czar Carol Browner‘s claims that they had secured a scientific consensus for the drilling ban. In fact, Salazar and Browner completely perverted the experts’ consensus against the sweeping offshore drilling ban.

When Vice President Joe Biden takes to the stump to tout the “character of his (boss’s) convictions,” make it known: Louisiana federal judge Martin Feldman rebuked the Obama Interior Department for its “determined disregard” for the law.

And the stench deepens. In May, the House Natural Resources Committee released e-mails quoting a senior whistleblower who directly contradicted Salazar’s claim that doctored support for the ban was unintentional. Where is the Interior Department inspector general to look out for taxpayers’ best interests? She’s knee-deep in ethics problems herself.

A federal panel that oversees government watchdogs took up a conflict-of-interest complaint against Interior Department Acting Inspector General Mary Kendall this week. USA Today first reported in May “that Kendall had attended meetings where top Interior officials discussed drafts of a peer-reviewed report on deepwater drilling.” Later, she was enlisted to investigate how White House officials cooked up the scientifically manufactured report that resulted from those very meetings.

Instead of haranguing GOP opponent Mitt Romney with questions about his offshore bank accounts, this search-and-destroy White House should start accounting for its offshore drilling obstructionism. Salazar’s reign has been a shady, secretive and rotten deal for America.

Michelle Malkin is the author of “Culture of Corruption: Obama and his Team of Tax Cheats, Crooks & Cronies” (Regnery 2010).

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.