Stalled energy projects moving forward

Believe it or not, the current Obama energy strategy is not all that different from Rick Perry's.  Under pressure from Congressional hearings, all of a sudden it is Drill Barry, Drill.

Check out this collection of stories from the Wall Street Journal

BP Moves to Return to Gulf

BP PLC won approval from U.S. officials on Friday to look for oil at new sites in the Gulf of Mexico, the company's first exploration plan in U.S waters to get the go-ahead since the April 2010 Deepwater Horizon oil spill.

The approval represents an important step in the company's efforts to return to the good graces of federal regulators. The Bureau of Ocean Energy Management said it approved a plan in which the U.K. oil giant proposes to drill up to four wells in a part of the Gulf of Mexico known as Keathley Canyon.

The Obama administration said Friday it would sell leases for offshore drilling in the Gulf of Mexico for the first time since last year's oil spill and subsequent six-month drilling ban...

U.S. to Resume Lease Sales for Oil Drilling in the Gulf

Earlier this month, the Interior Department gave Royal Dutch Shell conditional approval of its plan to drill in the Arctic Ocean next summer. In May, President Barack Obama said the administration would hold annual lease sales in Alaska's National Petroleum reserve.

Shell Closer to Arctic Drilling

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency removed a longtime obstacle to Royal Dutch Shell  PLC's Arctic offshore drilling plans, granting the company final air-quality permits to drill for oil and natural gas off the coast of Alaska.

The permits will allow Shell to operate the Discoverer drill ship and a support fleet of icebreakers, oil-spill response vessels and supply ships for up to 120 days each year in the Chukchi Sea and Beaufort Sea Outer Continental Shelf starting in 2012, the EPA said.

Issuing drilling permits in the Gulf of Mexico, selling more offshore oil and gas leases and reining in the EPA!  What more could Rick Perry do than promise more of what Obama has already done?  

Of course this has taken a considerable mid-course correction, one which has left the Democrats in Congress apoplectic.  Ed Markey (D-MA) is fit to be tied.

[Michael] Bromwich [director of Interior's Bureau of Safety and Environmental Enforcement ]agreed with Rep. Ed Markey, D-Mass., the top Democrat on the committee, that the civil penalties BP faces for the regulatory violations "would be laughable if it weren't so serious," and needed to be dramatically increased.

Markey noted that at most BP would owe $21 million for those violations, or "seven hours of profits."

But Bromwich disagreed with Markey's suggestion that BP should be barred from participating in upcoming lease sales in the Gulf, which Bromwich said would amount to a "death sentence" on the basis of a single accident, when, on the whole, BP "didn't have a deeply flawed record offshore" and actually ranked "close to the top tier'' of operators in the Gulf."

The switch in attitude on Obama's part is due to the intense pressure Bromwich and others have been put under, notably by the House Natural Resources Committee hearings. The hearing today ought to be interesting too Panel 1 will have to explain where all that "missing oil" went.

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