Obama decides to drill soon, drill here and there

posted at 11:10 am on May 14, 2011 by Ed Morrissey

You know, in about 15 years or so, Barack Obama might actually come up with an energy policy that increases energy and grows the economy.  After five months of escalating political heat, Obama finally decided that we could drill our way out of our problems — or at least his problems:

Facing continued public unhappiness over gas prices, President Barack Obama is directing his administration to ramp up U.S. oil production by extending existing leases in the Gulf of Mexico and off Alaska’s coast and holding more frequent lease sales in a federal petroleum reserve in Alaska.

Obama said Saturday that the measures “make good sense” and will help reduce U.S. consumption of imported oil in the long term. But he acknowledged anew that they won’t help to immediately bring down gasoline prices topping $4 a gallon in many parts of the country.

Is this leadership?  No, it’s more like covering one’s party mascot:

His announcement followed passage in the Republican-controlled House of three bills — including two this week — that would expand and speed up offshore oil and gas drilling. Republicans say the bills are aimed at easing gasoline costs, but they also acknowledge that won’t be immediate.

The White House had announced its opposition to all three bills, which are unlikely to pass the Democratic-controlled Senate, saying the measures would undercut safety reviews and open environmentally sensitive areas to new drilling.

Wow — sounds bad, huh?  Why would anyone listen to Republican policies that do all that?

But Obama is adopting some of the bills’ provisions.

In fact, most of this action deals with extensions for existing leases, rather than new drilling.  Instead of approving extension requests individually, Obama will issue blanket one-year extensions in Alaska and the Gulf of Mexico.  The lease sales for the Gulf that Obama announced were supposed to take place last year.  They’re not new leases.  Obama did pledge to hold annual lease sales in Alaska’s North Slope area, where they had been ad hoc in the past, which is the only hint of new expansion in his remarks.

This isn’t leadership.  It’s a threadbare attempt at triangulation that doesn’t add much new capacity at all, nor does it speed up the process of exploration and extraction.  The White House will drag its heels on expansion of American production as long as possible; this announcement just buys Obama some time and a respite from the political fallout of high gas prices.  Still, the fact that Obama had to protect himself in this manner shows how politically damaging his refusal to expand American production has become, and how damaging it will continue to be.

Related Posts:

Breaking on Hot Air



Trackback URL


“Drill, Maybe, Drill!”

PattyJ on May 14, 2011 at 4:24 PM


Tim_CA on May 14, 2011 at 5:39 PM

Is this leadership? No, it’s more like covering one’s party mascot ascot:


Dr. Charles G. Waugh on May 14, 2011 at 5:49 PM

We need one standard for oil and gas for the whole country. So one area isn’t confined to getting it’s product from one or two refineries.

Greed on May 14, 2011 at 4:05 PM

What makes you think that supply source is limited to one or two refineries. That is just plain BS unless you live way out in the boonies where no product pipelines exist. If you think for a minute that even a lot of fuel is carried by truck or rail, you really don’t know much about how fuel is distributed.

Kermit on May 14, 2011 at 6:13 PM

That’s the problem with the Obama administration: Even when they appear to be making moves in the right direction, the moves are always stingy and grudging and easily reversible.

Aitch748 on May 14, 2011 at 1:34 PM

Gives with one hand, takes with the other. (Alinsky 101.) Always watch the other hand.

petefrt on May 14, 2011 at 6:21 PM

He is looking more and more pretzel-like,he is not going to remember what he promised to whom!

ohiobabe on May 14, 2011 at 7:51 PM

or at least his problems

Well said Ed, well said.

roy_batty on May 14, 2011 at 9:23 PM

From Drudge:


NYT 2010: Obama oil plan ‘to open vast expanses of water along Atlantic coastline, eastern Gulf of Mexico, north coast of Alaska’…

NYT 2011: Obama oil plan ‘expands drilling in Alaska and prospect of new exploration off Atlantic coast’…

As they say in YouTube comments, “Fake & gay.”

itsnotaboutme on May 14, 2011 at 11:28 PM

E-10 (present gasoline)/E-85 (85% ethyl alcohol from corn) could easily become M-10/M-85 or methanol (wood alcohol from my childhood).

Conversion from gasoline to methanol requires minimum infrastructure changes to fueling stations and limited changes to vehicles as our multi fueled E-85 and Indy cars have shown; seals are main problem. Using propane made from NG as fuel in vehicles as some have proposed requires much more of an infrastructure change. Pros and cons here:

Note that natural gas can be used to make methanol as can biomass materials such as garbage, which we produce a lot of. Our New Natural Gas from horizontal drilling and fracking as well could be the future fuel resource we need. And thermal depolymerization (TDP) can make oil from garbage. Take your pick.

But we only hear about wind mills and solar even they were reliable and economically sound, which they are not, are generally far away from the population centers, so we will need new transmission lines. That is certainly to cause NIMBY reactions. But really we are facing BANANA – “Build Absolutely Nothing Anywhere Near Anybody!” as coined by John Stossel.

amr on May 14, 2011 at 11:35 PM

I’ll believe it when it happens.

sadatoni on May 15, 2011 at 12:02 AM

Liberals have been saying, for several decades, that drilling here and now won’t produce any new oil for…..a decade.

Mord on May 14, 2011 at 11:20 AM

The standard song of ‘it will take a decade to get new oil’ is a pile of dung.

How long does it take a crew to drill down to trapped miners?

I know the TX Oil and Natural Gas ventures drill new wells in less than a year.

Red tape and lawsuits. Both can be stopped if the will is there.

Jimmy Doolittle on May 15, 2011 at 12:29 AM

Full campaign mode spin. He won’t allow permits

Bevan on May 15, 2011 at 8:42 AM

Also – very few claim unemployment and arent being counting anyway.

Odie1941 on May 14, 2011 at 12:51 PM

It would be interesting to know how many people don’t claim. I did not take advantage of any of the extensions of unemployment.

Cindy Munford on May 15, 2011 at 11:44 AM

As with his border moats whine, we need to concentrate our complaints on Dear Leader’s energy policy results, not his pronouncements on the issue.

Knott Buyinit on May 15, 2011 at 12:21 PM

Yeah. Right. Maybe they’ll grant 3 leases but not let them drill anywhere.

Sporty1946 on May 15, 2011 at 1:08 PM

“Drill, Maybe, Drill!”

PattyJ on May 14, 2011 at 4:24 PM


Tim_CA on May 14, 2011 at 5:39 PM

May 15, 2011 12:28 PM **Written by Doug Powers

One of President Obama’s 2012 slogans should be “Drill, maybe, drill.”

Great minds … ;o)

DannoJyd on May 15, 2011 at 1:33 PM

The States and the oil companies should simply go ahead and drill wherever they can agree to drill. The land (or water) is all on (or near) a specific state and the Federal government has no legitimate role in regulating the issue in the first place.

JDPerren on May 15, 2011 at 3:49 PM