Obama Puts Alaska On The Table? No, He Has Already Traded It Away

… to Big Oil:

Obama Opens Part of National Petroleum Reserve In Alaska to Leases for Drilling
By: David Dayen Saturday May 14, 2011

President Obama announced in his weekly address a plan to open part of the National Petroleum Reserve in Alaska to oil drilling. Through an executive order, the President would also extend leases in the Gulf of Mexico for oil concerns that were subject to the moratorium on deepwater drilling after the BP oil disaster, as well as speeding up evaluation of resources in the Atlantic, extending other leases in Alaska and building incentives for oil and gas companies to use land they own on existing leases on land and sea.

The President characterized the moves, achieved through a directive to the Department of the Interior, as part of a strategy to reduce dependence on foreign oil. The United States uses roughly 25% of the world’s oil, but controls only about 2% of the resources within its own national borders. So more drilling is hardly likely to make a dent in gas prices, and ramping up production from scratch could take years.

Obama, who acts as if he has no concept of cause and effect in environmental matters, has traded away Alaska to Big Oil. He has done so by executive order, with little consultation outside his own administration (except perhaps with the leaders of the awl bidness), and has ordered the moratorium on deepwater drilling in the Gulf lifted. And the only rational explanation is that he expects a big campaign contribution in return. I’d be very surprised if he doesn’t get one.

The reality that drilling in Alaska would take a decade to ramp up and still not net enough oil to make even a minimally significant difference in prices at the pump has been known for over a decade. Sierra Club members understand this; hell, their children understand this. It isn’t rocket science; it’s just a few crunched numbers. But Obama does not understand this.

Or else he does understand… and does not care. Perhaps he does not care about the almost certain negative environmental impact, with no compensating positive economic impact… except to his campaign. I leave it to you to decide.

Under the circumstances, are you happy with your new executive-only government?

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  • Bryan  On Sunday May 15, 2011 at 11:23 am

    Alaskan crude oil is shipped to Asia [well, what makes through the leaky, BP maintained pipeline]. Heating oil, gasoline, and other refined petroleum products actually used in Alaska contain no Alaska crude and are absurdly expensive.

    Alaska does get a decent tax on the oil that is extracted, and citizens each get a share after the tax pays for the state government. [If Texas did the same thing it would be called communism and the oil checks welfare.]

    Drilling for oil at this point is a fool’s errand and waste of money. It isn’t going to affect the price of oil. If you want to bring down the price of oil re-regulate the commodities market and start throwing some of the criminal traders in prison.

    • Steve  On Sunday May 15, 2011 at 1:49 pm

      “Drilling for oil at this point is a fool’s errand and waste of money.”

      Bryan, precisely so. Nothing anyone can do will turn oil into a viable energy source for the future. The oil industry can absorb billions of government giveaways, tax breaks, special dispensations on environmental requirements, etc. etc. … and they still need to find another business to be in, 10 or 20 years from now. Oil is like vacuum tubes: even in the solid state era, there are still a few specialty uses for tubes, and the military needs them, but I wouldn’t bet on being able to sell any substantial number to the public as part of my livelihood. Oil is dead; long live… what? solar, wind and geothermal? Unlikely biofuels, and unlikely nuclear.

      There’s a chance we’ll live through the transition. I’m not looking forward to it.

  • MandT  On Sunday May 15, 2011 at 11:58 am

    “does not care” exactly.Time may ultimately judge Obama as the most brilliant gaming playing 2nd worst president in history,

    • Steve  On Sunday May 15, 2011 at 1:54 pm

      MandT – “does not care,” indeed. A few of us were not deceived, but I certainly was. At least I wasn’t hopey-changey enough to walk blocks for the man or give his campaign money. But now he has all the large corporate donors to fund him and buy block-walkers for him.

      I could conceive of a circumstance in which I’d vote for the man again… but only if, say, Mike Huckabee was on his way to victory.

  • Kay Dennison  On Sunday May 15, 2011 at 1:10 pm

    Sigh. Here we go again . . .

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