Obama’s Interior has all the time in the world for wind and solar projects; oil and gas, not so much
posted at 3:31 pm on March 29, 2013 by Erika Johnsen
As keen as President Obama and the White House are to take credit for the fact that oil imports are down and domestic production is going strong, this isn’t due to any especial efforts on behalf of his administration as much as it is due to state and private endeavors — unfortunately, it’s all too clear that the administration has largely dithered and stalled on oil-and-gas permitting, at the opportunity costs of more robust job creation, economic growth, and possibly lower gas prices.
But green energy projects, as we’re all painfully aware by now, have been getting all kinds of devoted attention from the Obama administration, and while the Department of Interior just can’t seem to find the time expedite the oil and gas permits for which the private sector is clamoring, wind and solar ventures are the apple of their collective eye. Via Bloomberg:
Under outgoing Department of the Interior Secretary Ken Salazar, the administration has on average sold 1,000 fewer leases annually for drilling on public lands than Bush, according to data compiled by the Institute for Energy Research, a Washington-based organization.
Companies peddling green energy projects, on the other hand, are enjoying unprecedented access to the 248 million acres overseen by Interior’s Bureau of Land Management. In mid-March, Salazar greenlighted three massive, privately funded clean energy developments on federal properties.
A Duke Energy (DUK) subsidiary will erect 90 towering turbines on a wind farm about 60 miles southeast of Las Vegas, while McCoy Solar and EDF Renewable Energy will each build solar plants in the southern Mojave Desert of California, home to the sun-sanded vistas of Joshua Tree National Park. …
Smaller groups are still skeptical. They wonder why the administration is giving up hundreds of thousands of acres of untrammeled desert when its own Environmental Protection Agency in 2011 identified 80,000 to 250,000 abandoned mine sites on federal lands that would be suitable for large-scale solar and wind projects.
I don’t take umbrage with the Obama administration using the DOI’s authority to implement their agenda — I take umbrage with their agenda, which is largely about thwarting oil-and-gas companies and focusing their efforts on propping up what they’ve deemed to be green energy instead (not to mention practicing a gross double standard in their “prosecutorial discretion” of said energy, harrumph).