Obama's Head-Fake on U.S. Energy Development
The "insanity" of Obama's Keystone XL pipeline decision is only the latest of the administration's actions to block American fossil fuel production to attract notice. The EPA, the Departments of the Interior and Agriculture, and the SEC have attacked the companies utilizing fracking technology to recover oil and gas; the EPA is moving quickly to shut down as many coal plants as it can; and the Department of the Interior has worked frantically to block more deep-water drilling in the Gulf of Mexico while also systematically locking away huge tracts of land even from exploration.
But wait! Out of the blue, the Obama administration seems to be embracing -- fracked gas! Yes, a recent WSJ piece points out that the latest White House jobs report -- no doubt a slender volume, indeed! -- brags that despite past "fears of a looming natural gas shortage" (spread in great part by environmentalists, of course), "the discovery of new natural gas reserves, such as the Marcellus Shale, and the development of hydraulic fracturing techniques to extract natural gas from these reserves has led to rapidly growing domestic production and relatively low domestic prices for households and downstream industrial users."
No kidding! Is the administration just discovering this technological revolution?
But it gets richer. The administration's report adds that "[o]f the major fossil fuels, natural gas is the cleanest and least carbon-intensive for electric power generation." And great news for future jobs: the growing investment in shale gas production is creating new jobs!
Who would have thought it?
Honestly, this has to be the lamest attempt yet by this absurd administration to take credit for something it in fact has opposed. (Remember Biden floating the argument that the American effort in Iraq had led to a remarkable democracy, which would go down as a great legacy of the administration -- even though both he and Obama had as senators opposed the very increase in troops that brought victory? That was lame, but this is even worse.)
And the administration is still doing its best to halt the renaissance of domestic fossil fuel production. The WSJ piece notes that the EPA just recently released a controversial condemnatory report on fracking, clearly intended to justify the EPA's obvious plan to override state agencies and hobble (if not cripple) the industry. And again, even the SEC is fighting fracking as well.
The WSJ is skeptical about the administration's seeming support of fracked gas. I am more than just skeptical -- I think this is just an Obama head-fake. The administration is just feigning goodwill towards the technology so that it can pick up support in two swing states crucial to its re-election: Ohio and Pennsylvania. Once Obama wins re-election, there will then be nothing to stop him from pursuing even more fanatically his vision of the Greening of America. He will conduct a full-scale war against fossil fuel.
There is ample evidence for this suspicion. First, even in the face of the rise of Iran in particular (and Islamism in general) in the Middle East, the administration has fought to suppress American fossil fuel production. Since 2008, due to the deliberate anti-fossil fuel policies of this administration, oil and natural gas royalties have plunged 90%, according to the Institute for Energy Research.
Moreover, I would point to something else the WSJ piece notes -- namely, that Obama has repeatedly urged that we eliminate the $40 billion in tax breaks the oil and gas industry. He keeps demanding this, please note, while his Green administration has been shoveling massive amounts of taxpayer cash into the grotesquely inefficient wind and solar industries (typically headed by or owned by Obama cronies), doubling down even as those companies fail one after another. As Obama made clear in 2009, his goal is to stop the encouragement of "overproduction" (!) of oil and gas, which is supposedly "detrimental to our long-term interests."
But exhibit A is the administration's newly announced decision to cancel the Keystone XL pipeline. This project would have created tens of thousands of jobs and brought us about as much oil (from a close ally) as we import from the Middle East.
Of course, Obama blamed the Republicans, who had demanded as part of the recent debt deal that he make up his mind about the project within two months. He claimed that the deadline didn't give him enough time to vet the project. But this doesn't pass the laugh test, because the project has been in the works since 2008, and it was found by the administration's own State Department to be environmentally safe in 2010. Then -- after environmentalist groups, which donate so lavishly to the Green administration, complained -- the project was restudied and again found to be safe in 2011.
This puts the U.S. in a very dangerous position. Should Iran close the Strait of Hormuz, or even look like it might seriously attempt to do so, we could see oil hit $150 or even $200 per barrel. Whatever feeble economic recovery we are "enjoying" would swiftly end, and we would suffer a major recession. We are in this dangerous condition because of the perverse energy policies of this Green administration.
If Obama wins re-election, it is clear that he will escalate his war against domestic fossil fuel production. That is something to consider, as we witness the mainstream media continuing its relentless campaign to portray every candidate in the Republican primary as evil -- a campaign that has been sickeningly successful.
Philosopher Gary Jason is a senior editor of Liberty and the author of Dangerous Thoughts (available from GaryJasonBooks.com and Amazon).