The news this morning seemed surprising, Obama approves of plan to increase drilling. Wow! That’s refreshing.
“The only way this transition will succeed is if it strengthens our economy in the short term and the long run,” the president said. “To fail to recognize this reality would be a mistake.” For more than 20 years, drilling was banned in most offshore areas of the United States outside the Gulf of Mexico because of concerns that spills could harm the environment.
But when you take a peak under the hood, as Ross Perot would say, this is nothing but a tiny morsel of the energy potential that we could get. Obama’s proposal would produce 130 million barrels of oil and 1.14 trillion cubic feet of natural gas. That sounds nice, but when you look at the numbers, it’s just a drop in the barrel. The plan would only open a very small part of the region for oil exploration. According to this article (dated 2008), if the entire region were to be opened, it could provide us with over 3.8 billion barrels of oil. There will be some new drilling off Florida, but it will be limited. The West Coast could produce more than 10 billion barrels of crude (and help bring in extra tax revenue to help ail California’s severe budget mess), but this is of course completely off limits.
Obama says this:
“While our politics has remained entrenched along worn divides, the ground has shifted beneath our feet,” the president said. “Around the world, countries are seeking an edge in the global marketplace by investing in new ways of producing and saving energy.”
Well, not so much. Many countries such as Brazil, Russia, and the team of China and Venezuela are actively increasing their oil exploration and utilization. The United States, even with the Obama increase, efforts are quite tepid in comparison. And even then, many countries are facing the bad news that green technologies are not delivering the cost savings or energy production that were supposed to make them attractive. In fact, green energy economies are much more expensive to build, and much less jobs friendly than advertised.
This move by Obama is nothing more than an attempt to buy off some votes, the strategy that help the massive and needlessly expensive health care bill to squeak through congress. Republican Rep.John Boehner notes:
“Opening up areas off the Virginia coast to offshore production is a positive step, but keeping the Pacific Coast and Alaska, as well as the most promising resources off the Gulf of Mexico, under lock and key makes no sense at a time when gasoline prices are rising and Americans are asking ‘Where are the jobs?’
Mr. President, considering how much oil we know is lying in wait off our coasts, it’s going to take a lot more than 130 million barrels to successfully bride the current Republican crowd. Considering what the cap and trade proponents might be able to get in the energy bill, lets just hope that the price of for the vote would be much too high.