Southern governors to Jewell: Drill, baby, drill

posted at 10:01 am on February 15, 2013 by Ed Morrissey

With Ken Salazar stepping down as Interior Secretary, politicians of both parties in Southern states see an opportunity to get more cooperation from Washington in unlocking energy reserves off their coast.  Governors in three states signed a letter asking Sally Jewell, nominated to replace Salazar, to allow them to open oil and natural gas reserves to produce more American energy:

The governors of South Carolina, North Carolina and Virginia are pushing President Barack Obama’s choice for interior secretary to abandon federal opposition to drilling off the Atlantic Coast, where production has been blocked for decades.

“During your nomination hearings, we will be listening intently to your answers regarding energy exploration off the coasts of our states and hope you will signal your willingness to revise the administration’s current policy to one that is committed to safely harnessing our coast’s vast natural resources,” the three Republican governors wrote in a letter Thursday to nominee Sally Jewell.

The White House didn’t respond to a request for an interview with Jewell, a conservation advocate whom Obama chose to replace Ken Salazar. She’ll soon undergo her confirmation hearings by the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee.

It’s questionable how much the Atlantic drilling issue will factor into her confirmation. Republicans on the committee, including South Carolina Sen. Tim Scott, favor drilling in the Atlantic Ocean. But most of them are from Western states, and they’re more likely to grill Jewell on public land issues closer to their constituents. There’s also the fact that Democrats control the Senate and the committee’s chairman, Democrat Ron Wyden of Oregon, has no problem with Obama’s reluctance to drill in the Atlantic.

This may seem like a pointless gesture to any nominee from Barack Obama, but there is some reason to hope for a rational response.  Jewell, currently the CEO of outdoor-sports retailer REI, has extensive experience in the oil industry.  First, she spent three years working for Mobil, and then the next twenty in the banking industry as an expert on oil-industry lending.  At the same time, though, Jewell is a dedicated conservationist, and of course Obama’s policies will be what Jewell will have to put into effect.

In that sense, she embodies the kind of tension that Obama himself is now experiencing in another oil issue.  Byron York writes about the vise in which the President finds himself over the upcoming decision on the Keystone XL pipeline:

A brief moment on Wednesday showed why President Obama can’t win when it comes to the Keystone XL pipeline. In front of the White House, protesters led by actress Daryl Hannah and the head of the Sierra Club demanded that Obama kill the project. Just a few blocks away, the head of the AFL-CIO’s powerful Building and Construction Trades Department joined with the American Petroleum Institute to demand that Obama approve it.

Obama’s friends in the environmental movement and Hollywood on one side. Obama’s friends in Big Labor allied with his enemies in Big Oil on the other. What’s a Democratic president to do?

Both sides were unhappy that Obama, who took the time to talk about wind power, solar power, fuel efficiency, global warming and all sorts of other related topics in his State of the Union speech, did not mention Keystone at all. Not a single word.

Public support for the project remains high, however, and the economy could use the boost the big project — and the cheaper oil — would bring.  The issue has brought together the labor movement and the oil industry, which wants to promote Keystone for its economic benefits to workers and consumers.  With that kind of pressure, Obama may have no choice but to say yes:

Given that pressure, and especially given the new fact of a safer route for the pipeline, it’s hard to see Obama saying no. But so far, the president just can’t face his environmental and Hollywood allies with the bad news. Even when they come to the White House to see him.

I’d bet that Jewell gets the tough task of announcing the approval of the pipeline.  That may mean, though, that the Southern governors get told no in order to demonstrate some resolve for the benefit of those Hollywood environmentalists.

 


Related Posts:

Breaking on Hot Air

Blowback

Note from Hot Air management: This section is for comments from Hot Air's community of registered readers. Please don't assume that Hot Air management agrees with or otherwise endorses any particular comment just because we let it stand. A reminder: Anyone who fails to comply with our terms of use may lose their posting privilege.

Trackbacks/Pings

Trackback URL

Comments

Let them eat solar panels and windmills. – Dear Leader

VorDaj on February 15, 2013 at 10:03 AM

I’d bet that Jewell gets the tough task of announcing the approval of the pipeline. That may mean, though, that the Southern governors get told no in order to demonstrate some resolve for the benefit of those Hollywood environmentalists.

Wouldn’t be a shock to see that path taken — the Democrats need both the money and the manpower of the unions more as a whole than they need the enviros and Hollywood when it comes to GOTV efforts during elections — but it would be fun to see what would happen if drilling off the Virginia coast became an issue in this year’s governor’s race in that state. Your move, Terry McAuliffe.

jon1979 on February 15, 2013 at 10:05 AM

Keystone is projected to kill zero birds…

hillsoftx on February 15, 2013 at 10:08 AM

Streamlining the approval process and removing red tape. That’s what he said.

I’m betting he’ll renege on yet another of his promises. Any takers?

Wino on February 15, 2013 at 10:10 AM

Who’s the guy sitting next to Barry?

Coulda at least worn a tie.

coldwarrior on February 15, 2013 at 10:13 AM

I’d bet that Jewell gets the tough task of announcing the approval of the pipeline. That may mean, though, that the Southern governors get told no in order to demonstrate some resolve for the benefit of those Hollywood environmentalists.

Yeah, the Eco-nuts are their constituency, but the far more important anti-energy agenda of the Obama-trons is aimed directly at destroying America’s embarrassing (to the failed socialists) capitalist machine.
The hope and change is but pure destruction from within–while saying the opposite.

Don L on February 15, 2013 at 10:17 AM

There is so much untapped oil off the California coastline, the fact that the Democrats (that have controlled both houses of state government since the 1960 Census and subsequent reapportinment) refuse to allow drilling shows you how powerful (and powerfully stupid) the eniro-lobby is, ESPECIALLY out here…

Khun Joe on February 15, 2013 at 10:27 AM

It cost $58 dollars to fill up my car last night. It’s hard to imagine that Obama would put anyone in place that would disagree with him or go rogue.

Cindy Munford on February 15, 2013 at 10:30 AM

Just a few blocks away, the head of the AFL-CIO’s powerful Building and Construction Trades Department joined with the American Petroleum Institute to demand that Obama approve it.

With the AFL-CIO and API on the same side of this issue, Obama would be crazy NOT to approve the Keystone XL pipeline. Somebody needs to tell Quixote-bama that it’s a whole lot cheaper than building a million windmills.

Besides, the oil from the Alberta tar sands is a lot heavier and more viscous than Sweet Arabian Light, and American refineries will need to be adapted to process this oil. Does any oil company need a Chemical Engineer to help adapt their refinery?

Steve Z on February 15, 2013 at 10:36 AM

It’s mean to say, but hell it’s a Friday and I STILL can’t find .22LR anywhere thanks to Bark so here goes:

Where does Dog Eater find all these manly females to staff his cabinet and such? Why do so many of them look like men wearing a dress?

Bishop on February 15, 2013 at 10:40 AM

Go ahead Dog Eater, approve it. It will be an extra shining ray in your MSM-painted nimbus, and Hollywood will swallow it. They had a lot of practice doing that.

Archivarix on February 15, 2013 at 10:46 AM

Why do I get the feeling we are going to miss Ken Salazar.This “it” he appointed to take his place is going to be 10 times worse.

jeffinsjvca on February 15, 2013 at 10:49 AM

There is so much untapped oil off the California coastline, the fact that the Democrats (that have controlled both houses of state government since the 1960 Census and subsequent reapportinment) refuse to allow drilling shows you how powerful (and powerfully stupid) the eniro-lobby is, ESPECIALLY out here…

Khun Joe on February 15, 2013 at 10:27 AM

You naive fool. Environmental lobby receives up to $300 million dollars from abroad, mostly from Saudi Arabia, and by their effect on American oil production, it’s money very well invested.

Archivarix on February 15, 2013 at 10:50 AM

but hell it’s a Friday and I STILL can’t find .22LR anywhere

Gander Mounain in Sugar Land has plenty (at least they did last Friday).

DanMan on February 15, 2013 at 11:02 AM

I just don’t see Barky allowing Keystone without more environmental studies. As for expanded drilling in redneck states – the Bubbas need to suck it down.

Why do so many of them look like men wearing a dress?

Bishop on February 15, 2013 at 10:40 AM

A rhetorical question.

CorporatePiggy on February 15, 2013 at 11:44 AM

Public support for the project remains high, however, and the economy could use the boost the big project — and the cheaper oil — would bring. The issue has brought together the labor movement and the oil industry, which wants to promote Keystone for its economic benefits to workers and consumers. With that kind of pressure, Obama may have no choice but to say yes:

Ed — you mind sharing a little of what ever it is you’re smoking?

Ogabe won. That means he doesn’t give a hoot about anything or anyone any more other than his own personal advantage. Think about this: Where would Ogabe rather spend his abundant leisure time: being wined and dined by the glitterati of Hollywood in their 40,000 sf mansions or being wined and dined by a bunch of knuckle dragging union goons at the local greasy spoon?

catsandbooks on February 15, 2013 at 11:58 AM

Jewell, currently the CEO of outdoor-sports retailer REI, has extensive experience in the oil industry. First, she spent three years working for Mobil, and then the next twenty in the banking industry as an expert on oil-industry lending.

1. Her “extensive” hands-on oil industry experience is confined to 3 years as a field engineer in W Ok. That isn’t even enough time to complete the MobilCo basic development program in reservoir engineering, let alone produce a comprehensive wetlands environmental impact study. She never had a supervisory or managerial assignment at that level of experience. That is, she was never in charge of any important project.
2. She entered the oil banking industry as a ResEng for a no oil experience S&L that was trying to capitalize on the Reagan era de-regulation of S&Ls. She never got any real, large lending company asset backed lending. I suspect she had a personal in-route to the lending job.
3. I suspect the lending companies at which she worked never took the lead role in any major oil energy syndicated venture.
4. ANYONE who thinks she is any sort of oil energy expert is drinking the Obama Kool Aid, or needs to rethink the use of the term “expert”.

gonnjos on February 15, 2013 at 12:02 PM

It’s past time to stand up against the Washington bullocrasy.

Are we a population of free people; are these sovereign states? Then do it! Call the feds on these issues. Protect projects with the National guard if need be. The federal government is a criminal enterprise and has to be challenged. An example is the intentional destruction of California’s central valley. I am in tears when I think of that situation. The Governator just sat back and let the destruction happened. shame on him and the citizens of Ca.

Remember the Refusniks? They had the balls the “home of the brave” lacks.

FOWG1 on February 15, 2013 at 12:02 PM

Yes on the pipeline, no on drilling…and Obama becomes the great arbiter, “giving some” and taking a stand against some…

right2bright on February 15, 2013 at 12:06 PM

Obama’s friends in the environmental movement and Hollywood on one side. Obama’s friends in Big Labor allied with his enemies in Big Oil on the other. What’s a Democratic president to do?

So much for the value of a “big tent”.

Bitter Clinger on February 15, 2013 at 12:25 PM

Where does Dog Eater find all these manly females to staff his cabinet and such? Why do so many of them look like men wearing a dress?

Bishop on February 15, 2013 at 10:40 AM

…oh?…they’re not men!…OHHHHHH!

KOOLAID2 on February 15, 2013 at 4:38 PM