President Barack Obama is in my home state of Oklahoma today, touting his tired talking points about energy in little Cushing, “the town that fossil fuel built.” For the record, most Oklahomans aren’t happy he’s here. The state administration will give him no official welcome and protesters have already gathered near the location of the president’s speech, which — predictably — was closed to the public.
First, listen to this portion of the president’s energy address (h/t Greg Hengler).
As usual, he uses “we” to refer to both the government and private energy companies and takes credit for an expansion of drilling and production that he didn’t do anything to facilitate. Oil and gas production, he brags, is at an eight-year high. Actually, on federal land, fossil fuel production is at a nine-year low.
Then, he actually has the audacity to suggest that we’re producing too much oil and gas. The problem, he says, is that we don’t have enough pipeline to transport all of that. Gee, you’d think the president had done all he could to fast-track the Keystone pipeline. What’s that, you say? He’s doing what he can now to fast-track the portion of the pipeline that runs through Oklahoma and Texas? Don’t buy that he’s the reason TransCanada is moving ahead.
If the president had an ounce of humility at all, he might recognize that he has something to learn from Oklahomans, who know the energy industry the way Obama knows critical race theory. We kinda just imbibe it from the people around us who know it better than we do. Even those of us whose families weren’t actually in oil grew up knowing drilling engineers, geologists and landmen. We drive by pumpjacks on our way to visit grandparents, spy the lights of a far-off rig on midnight drives and occasionally will see a car fuel up at — get this! — a natural gas pump that the government didn’t pay us to install.
We might not articulate it to ourselves — I didn’t, really, until the BP oil spill, which I mourned along with the rest of the nation — but we respect the oil industry for its commitment to safely extricating oil and gas from formations far below the surface of the earth. The nation never pays attention to oil and gas companies until they do something wrong or an accident occurs, but, in Oklahoma, we can’t help but pay attention. We value what the industry has brought to our state — including, I’m not ashamed to admit, the Oklahoma City Thunder.
That’s why we wish that, just once, Obama would admit he doesn’t know everything about oil and gas companies and listen a little more to those who do:
Approval of the entire Keystone XL pipeline should happen now — not after the election. Yes, we are pleased TransCanada decided to build a critical section of the project from Cushing to the Gulf Coast. We note that this section doesn’t require State Department approval. However, America’s greatest benefit will come when we can transport oil from our best energy partner, Canada, and oil-rich North Dakota and Montana.
Private-sector innovation led to the combination of horizontal drilling with hydraulic fracturing resulting in the most significant resource revolution in the nation’s history. The safe and responsible application of these technologies has added new proven gas and oil reserves once inconceivable, and it has made U.S. energy independence a distinct possibility in just the next 10 years. We have now safely and successfully fracture treated 1.2 million wells in the U.S. since 1948 and more than 45,000 wells in 2011 — a safety record that would be the envy of any industry in the country. …
Our industry invests billions of dollars to ensure our operations are conducted in an environmentally responsible manner. However, with more than a dozen federal agencies in your administration proposing, planning or implementing new regulations — for little or no environmental benefit — there is considerable risk that increased costs and bureaucratic delays will cripple America’s energy production and halt the renaissance under way in our nation’s steel, plastics, chemical and agricultural industries.
Mr. President, your words suggest you want the economic benefits American natural gas and oil can deliver. We hope your actions follow suit — to date they have not.
Oil and gas CEOs have the greatest incentives of all to discover and promote some new and better energy source than fossil fuels — before some government-subsidized start-up does. Why does Obama act like they’re the enemy?