Interesting. I was all set to post this today…
Remember this from Obama's first State of the Union speech?I agree 100% with his suggestion that we need more safe, clean nuclear power plants, and that we need to open up new offshore oil and natural gas development. Amen! Unfortunately, I don't believe for a second that he'll follow through. Dems have a 100% record of opposing precisely those measures. I sincerely hope he follows through, but I'll be shocked.
Bingo, via RedState:President Obama shared a vision of our nation’s energy future:
But to create more of these clean energy jobs, we need more production, more efficiency, more incentives. That means building a new generation of safe, clean nuclear power plants in this country. It means making tough decisions about opening new offshore areas for oil and gas development. …
Two months later, if you replace “making tough decisions” with “continuing to do nothing” in that sentence, you’ve got a clear picture of what’s happening.
Not only did the President make a disingenuous suggestion of a push to open new offshore areas (read: Virginia and the Eastern Gulf, off Florida) during the SOTU, over a year of foot-dragging by Interior Secretary Ken Salazar may jeopardize the regular annual leasing program in the Central and Western Gulf of Mexico – that 15% of the Outer Continental Shelf that is currently open for leasing.
Is Obama addicted to lying? I mean, he's lied about so many things since he came onto the national scene (and even before that, really) that I honestly have to wonder. Actually, I think it's more likely that he understands that the majority of this country is happy with a center-right government, and since he is as far left as it is possible to get, he has to lie about everything in order to disguise his genuine desires and intentions. Either way, this is just one more example of Barack Obama saying one thing and doing the opposite.
There's my two cents.
Then I saw this:
After dispensing with a health-reform bill that mostly pleased liberals and alienated nearly all conservatives, President Obama heads back to the ideological middle Wednesday with a dramatic — and controversial — new plan for domestic oil exploration. “The Obama administration is proposing to open vast expanses of water along the Atlantic coastline, the eastern Gulf of Mexico and the north coast of Alaska to oil and natural gas drilling, much of it for the first time, officials said Tuesday,” the New York Times reports, adding: “The proposal — a compromise that will please oil companies and domestic drilling advocates but anger some residents of affected states and many environmental organizations — would end a longstanding moratorium on oil exploration along the East Coast from the northern tip of Delaware to the central coast of Florida, covering 167 million acres of ocean.
Obviously, something is wrong with this picture. Let's look a little deeper…
…the White House is implying the promise of jam tomorrow – in reality, it’s just a study to revisit the denial of jam yesterday – in exchange for jam today. Only the jam today is actually a swarm of angry wasps. Try again, Mr. President. Start with rescinding your interference with the Bush drilling permits, and expect to give up more. A lot more: your opponents are not interested in indulging the Greenies’ quaint, somewhat primitive religious sensibilities.
Moe Lane at RedState thinks this is simply setting down political cover for the coming second whack at cap-n-tax. At best, it will be several years before these studies are finished, so this really doesn't do anything…except make a nebulous promise of future action.
But as always with this administration, there’s a catch, via the American Energy Alliance:
“One major flashpoint in the negotiations has been whether to share drilling revenue with states and to allow states to opt in or out of drilling along their coastlines. It was unclear late Tuesday whether Obama endorses revenue-sharing for states. “It appears the Northern Atlantic and entire Pacific Coast will now be under a de facto ban” for drilling, said Patrick Creighton, a spokesman for the Institute for Energy Research. Even if drilling is ultimately allowed in part of the Atlantic, Creighton said, revenue sharing is an essential incentive for states. The administration’s plans could meet resistance from at least 10 Senate Democrats representing coastal and Great Lakes states who last week raised concerns about “unfettered access to oil and gas drilling” that could jeopardize fishing, tourism and military exercises. …
She also reports that Mike Pence isn't taking the bait:
“As usual the devil is in the details. Only in Washington, D.C., can you ban more areas to oil and gas exploration than you open up, delay the date of your new leases and claim you’re going to increase production.
“The President’s announcement today is a smokescreen. It will almost certainly delay any new offshore exploration until at least 2012 and include only a fraction of the offshore resources that the previous Administration included in its plan.
“Unfortunately, this is yet another feeble attempt to gain votes for the President’s national energy tax bill that is languishing in the Senate. At the end of the day this Administration’s energy plan is simple: increase the cost of energy on every family in America and trade American jobs oversees at a time when millions of Americans are looking for work.”
House Minority Leader John Boehner wasn't suckered, either:
[Boehner] dismissed the president's plan as not going far enough in opening up U.S. waters for exploration.
Obama's decision “continues to defy the will of the American people,” Boehner said in a statement, pointing to the president's decision to open Atlantic and Gulf of Mexico waters, while leaving Pacific and many Alaskan waters largely closed to exploration.
“It's long past time for this Administration to stop delaying American energy production off all our shores and start listening to the American people who want an “all of the above” strategy to produce more American energy and create more jobs,” the House GOP leader added. “Republicans are listening to the American people and have proposed a better solution – the American Energy Act – which will lower gas prices, increase American energy production, promote new clean and renewable sources of energy, and encourage greater efficiency and conservation.” …
For his part, Boehner tied today's administration decision to potential climate rules under consideration by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) as well.
“At the same time the White House makes today’s announcement, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is plotting a new massive job-killer that the American people can’t afford: a cascade of new EPA regulations that will punish every American who dares to flip on a light switch, drive a car, or buy an American product. Americans simply don’t want this backdoor national energy tax that will drive up energy and manufacturing costs and destroy jobs in our states and local communities,” the Ohio Republican said.
That political gamesmanship could explain what's going on all by itself, but I think there's one other piece to this puzzle (emphasis mine):
The Interior Department is ready to announce its analysis and review of defects in a program covering lease sales off much of Alaska's coastline, including Arctic waters, according to a legal filing Tuesday.
Just one lease sale has been conducted under the 2007-2012 five-year Outer Continental Shelf lease program – the February 2008 Chukchi Sea sale that earned the federal government $2.7 billion. Additional sales were scheduled for the Chukchi and three other Alaska areas.
A federal appeals court ruled nearly a year ago that the Bush-era Interior Department did not properly study the environmental impact of expanding oil and gas drilling off the Alaska coast before authorizing its five-year program.
Sea ice is a key element in the Beaufort Sea on Alaska's north coast, the Chukchi Sea on the state's northwest coast, and the Bering Sea, including Bristol Bay, home to the world's largest sockeye salmon fishery.
All three seas are on the migratory paths of endangered whales. The Beaufort and Chukchi seas are home to Alaska's two polar bear populations. Indigenous communities rely on marine life for subsistence hunting and fishing, and some fear industrial activity – from ship traffic to noise to spills – will permanently alter their homes.
… Elected officials in Alaska, which takes in about 90 percent of its general fund revenue from the oil industry, continue to push for lease sales that will lead to exploration and extraction.
Hm, that's very interesting. Sea ice, whales, and polar bears. Staple 'em together and you'd have an enviro-nitwit fundraising calendar. Could Obama be giving with one hand while taking away with the other? Nah, surely not. ***cough cough***
Oh, and never forget that one last detail in everything concerning Alaska: Sarah Palin. I wouldn't be one bit surprised if squeezing her (very non-populous) state was part of the equation out of pure spite, too. With only one lease sale since 2007, and with Alaska relying on oil revenues for its livelihood, this sure looks like a stranglehold to me…but with Mother Earth's best interests at heart, of course. Of course.
Is this really a new direction for Obama and the Democrats? Sure, if you believe I can sprout wings and fly whenever I want to.
There's my two cents.