Obama Talking the Talk on Energy Independence

This week brought us the long awaited and highly anticipated occasion of President Obama finally giving a speech to clarify our energy policy. Given rising gas prices, unrest in the major oil producing locations on the planet and the endless calls at home for him to do something, we were certainly more than ready for it. So what does Mr. Obama have in mind?

So today, I’m setting a new goal: one that is reasonable, achievable, and necessary. When I was elected to this office, America imported 11 million barrels of oil a day. By a little more than a decade from now, we will have cut that by one-third.

Well, so far so good, even though I’ve heard that same promise from every president going back to at least Jimmy Carter. But how do we propose to do that? Clearly some big changes will be required to the administration policies we’ve seen thus far.

Meeting this new goal of cutting our oil dependence depends largely on two things: finding and producing more oil at home, and reducing our dependence on oil with cleaner alternative fuels and greater efficiency.

From there the speech devolves into a series of jaw dropping claims, including one where the president boasts that he is “working to expedite new drilling permits,” but only for companies that “meet new standards.” There have, for the record, been a grand total of seven deep water permits issued since the official moratorium ended, mostly for work already in progress.

And if we’re supposed to be working to promote domestic production, why is the President busy telling Brazil we look forward to being their best customer? Jenifer Rubin identifies these talking points as nothing more than raw hypocrisy, and highlights some snarky but salient comments on the topic from Mitch McConnel.

You can’t make this stuff up.Here we’ve got the administration looking for just about any excuse it can find to lock up our own energy sources here at home, even as it’s applauding another country’s efforts to grow its own economy and create jobs by tapping into its own energy sources.

For two years, the administration has canceled dozens of oil and gas leases all across America. It’s raised permit fees. It’s shut down deep-water drilling in the Gulf. It won’t even allow a conversation about exploring for oil in a remote, 2,000-acre piece of land in northern Alaska that experts think represents one of our best opportunities for a major oil find. And it continues to press for new regulations through the Environmental Protection Agency that would raise energy costs for every business in America — and lead to untold lost jobs for more American workers.

In other words, in the midst of average gas prices approaching four dollars a gallon and a chronic jobs crisis, the White House plans to make the climate for job growth worse. And that’s why Republicans, led here in the Senate by Senator Inhofe, have proposed legislation to prevent this new energy tax from ever taking effect without congressional approval.

When you add in the rest of Obama’s “plans” for energy independence – which focus on more “green energy,” bio-fuels, wind, solar, etc. – it becomes clear that this big change is no change at all. It’s precisely the same policy that he’s been pursuing for two straight years.

Now, I’ll be the first to admit that consistency is an admirable trait in politicians, and one that we find all too infrequently. But the noble nature of that trait is somewhat diminished when the person is consistently wrong.

The tag lines for this speech make it clear that Obama has heard the calls from across the nation and is aware of the problem. And some of the initial descriptions make it sound like he’s talking the talk. But buried underneath there is little to no indication that he plans on walking the walk any time soon. Perhaps I’m wrong, and I’ll be more than happy to eat my words if he surprises us in a positive fashion. But thus far, I’m just not seeing it. This “plan” looks like more of the same to me.

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David Strom 5:21 PM on December 09, 2022