Interior Dept to America: You might think you want to drill here, but really, you don’t

posted at 7:21 pm on October 15, 2012 by Erika Johnsen

In addendum to my weekend post about the Department of Interior focusing its bureaucratic efforts on fast-tracking their program for quickly approving permits for solar panels on public land — yippee ki-yay — I’ve just spotted this specific example of the ways in which the Obama administration is trying to take credit for the oil and gas boom while simultaneously trying to shut it down. It’s absolutely zero surprise, given that energy production on federal lands has fallen under the Obama administration and that they’ve openly announced their plan to keep several valuable offshore areas under lock-and-key, but it’s kind of funny how Interior is so loud n’ proud of their renewables-related decisions while their drilling-denials somehow seem to fly underneath the radar. “All of the above”? I call malarkey, sirs. Via the WSJ:

The latest example is the Interior Department’s little-noticed August decision to close off from drilling nearly half of the 23.5 million acre National Petroleum Reserve in Alaska. …

Alaska favors exploration in nearly the entire reserve. The feds had been reviewing four potential development plans, and the state of Alaska had strongly objected to the most restrictive of the four. Sure enough, that was the plan Interior chose.

Interior Secretary Ken Salazar says his plan “will help the industry bring energy safely to market from this remote location, while also protecting wildlife and subsistence rights of Alaska Natives.” …

The problem is almost no one in the energy industry and few in Alaska agree with him. In an August 22 letter to Mr. Salazar, the entire Alaska delegation in Congress—Senators Mark Begich and Lisa Murkowski and Representative Don Young—call it “the largest wholesale land withdrawal and blocking of access to an energy resource by the federal government in decades.” …

The greenies and their powerful lobbies just hate the idea of drilling anywhere in the pristine and ostensibly delicate environs of Alaska (ANWR’s political punching-bag status springs to mind), so it’s curtains for Alaskans’ and American businesses’ ambitious economic hopes on that front for now.

It may be true that a Romney administration would have some difficulty immediately rolling back and negating the avalanche of ideological, intrusive, and expansive regulations borne of President Obama’s environmentalist-laden administration, but this policy of barring access to valuable natural assets is type of thing that a Republican president could remedy pretty darn quickly — putting Americans back to work and creating the affordable energy and economic growth that our country sorely needs.

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