Apparently no one has informed the President of a critical artificial shortage — and he hasn’t bothered to find out about it himself. In his Oval Office speech, Barack Obama told Americans that the Gulf disaster originated in a shortage of other places to drill:

One of the lessons we’ve learned from this spill is that we need better regulations better safety standards, and better enforcement when it comes to offshore drilling. But a larger lesson is that no matter how much we improve our regulation of the industry, drilling for oil these days entails greater risk. After all, oil is a finite resource. We consume more than 20% of the world’s oil, but have less than 2% of the world’s oil reserves. And that’s part of the reason oil companies are drilling a mile beneath the surface of the ocean – because we’re running out of places to drill on land and in shallow water.

Er, no we’re not, except to the extent that we refuse to do so. The outer continental shelf is much shallower than the deepwater drilling of the kind that BP did, but we’re refusing to allow drilling there.  Even in the case of a blowout, the engineering for a fix would have been much simpler and more quickly applied.  We’re also choosing not to drill in ANWR and the interior West, where both shale and natural gas exist in abundance.  The only reason we’re “running out of places to drill” is because the federal government insists on setting up roadblocks to them.

Obama knows that well enough.  He apparently doesn’t know that we know it, however.

Got an Obamateurism of the Day? If you see a foul-up by Barack Obama, e-mail it to me at [email protected] with the quote and the link to the Obamateurism. I’ll post the best Obamateurisms on a daily basis, depending on how many I receive. Include a link to your blog, and I’ll give some link love as well. And unlike Slate, I promise to end the feature when Barack Obama leaves office.

Illustrations by Chris Muir of Day by Day. Be sure to read the adventures of Sam, Zed, Damon, and Jan every day!