The Obama administration’s five-year drilling plan (hint: it’s underwhelming)

posted at 4:01 pm on June 30, 2012 by Erika Johnsen

On Thursday, the Obama administration unveiled its latest five-year oil-leasing plan, and I have to say, it looks pretty awesome — you know, as long as you’re not into creating jobs or economic growth or any other such silly material interests.

U.S. oil companies will be allowed to drill in more areas of the Gulf of Mexico but won only limited access to the Arctic under the final version of the Obama Administration’s five year drilling plan that was slammed by industry and some environmentalists.

The 2012-2017 plan calls for three potential lease sales in areas offshore Alaska but the auctions would not be held until the final years of the plan because of environmental concerns about operating in the Arctic. …

“Today, the Obama Administration has announced a bleak future for American energy production by keeping 85 percent of America’s offshore areas under lock and key and refusing to open any new areas to drilling,” said Doc Hastings, Republican chairman of the House Natural Resources Committee.

Why, why, why do we consistently take ourselves out of the game on the energy front? Worldwide demand for oil and gas is booming, and instead of taking advantage of our highly abundant natural resources and getting a hefty share of that market, we quixotically decide that we’re going to take some self-imagined high road and lead the world in the righteous quest for green energy. Drilling our own stuff would produce productive private-sector jobs, create wealth, and increase our energy security, all in one fell swoop — but because the environmental lobby gets its knickers in a twist over anything that doesn’t come from the Captain Planet earth-wind-fire-water-heart playbook, we all have to suffer.

Le sigh. Here are some of the interested parties’ opinions on the announcement:

“The Obama administration has demonstrated that they will not allow the safe and responsible development of oil and gas energy resources off of Virginia’s coast,” Republican Governor Bob McDonnell said in a statement. “Offshore energy exploration and development would mean thousands of new jobs and millions in new revenue.” …

“The government keeps promoting risky offshore drilling that jeopardizes the health of the entire Gulf and Arctic regions,” said Jacqueline Savitz, vice president for North America at environmental group Oceana. “This plan sets us up for another devastating oil spill, which endangers human lives, coastal economies and marine life.” …

“Our plan adopts a regionally tailored approach that accounts for the distinct needs of the different regions,” Salazar told reporters in Washington. “The plan takes into account the range of factors, like resource potential, status of development and emergency-response structure, regional interest, and the need for a balanced approach when it comes to the use of our natural resources.”

The Obama administration has had the perfect excuse to be stingy in their permitting every since the BP oil spill — and yes, the BP oil spill was a terrible disaster, as well as a monumental waste of everybody’s time, money, and effort. We should indeed work to make sure nothing like that ever happens again — but at what cost? It was very much a black-swan situation, and if you haven’t noticed, the Gulf Coast has been completely recovered (both economically and ecologically) for awhile now.

Our economy is in the hurt locker, and frankly, I think playing political games with America’s natural assets is about as inexcusable as it gets.


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