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Obama Ignored Court Warnings On Drilling

From the Wall Street Journal:

Obama Decried, Then Used, Some Bush Drilling Policies

July 6, 2010

Less than four months after President Barack Obama took office, his new administration received a forceful warning about the dangers of offshore oil drilling.

The alarm was rung by a federal appeals court in Washington, D.C., which found that the government was unprepared for a major spill at sea, relying on an "irrational" environmental analysis of the risks of offshore drilling.

The April 2009 ruling stunned both the administration and the oil industry, and threatened to delay or cancel dozens of offshore projects in Alaska and the Gulf of Mexico.

Despite its pro-environment pledges, the Obama administration urged the court to revisit the decision. Politically, it needed to push ahead with conventional oil production while it expanded support for renewable energy.

Or, rather, it needed to pretend to push ahead on “conventional” oil production while it threw billions at the fantasy of "renewable energy."

Another reason: money. In its arguments to the court, the government said that the loss of royalties on the oil, estimated at almost $10 billion, "may have significant financial consequences for the federal government."

It sounds like it is the federal government that is ‘addicted to oil.’ Or, at least, the taxes it gets from oil production.

The U.S. Court of Appeals reversed its decision and allowed drilling in the Gulf to proceed—including on BP PLC’s now-infamous Macondo well, 50 miles off the Louisiana coast.

The Obama administration’s actions in the court case exemplify the dilemma the White House faced in developing its energy policy. In his presidential campaign, President Obama criticized the Bush administration for being too soft on the oil industry and vowed to support greener energy forms.

But, once in office, President Obama ended up backing offshore drilling, bowing to political and fiscal realties, even as his administration’s own scientists and Democratic lawmakers warned about its risks

Still, the administration defends its intervention in the court case, and says the ruling made it look more cautiously at whether to open new areas to offshore drilling. It pins blame on the Bush administration for pursuing a policy for deep-offshore drilling "that was driven by one principle: open everything," said White House spokesman Ben LaBolt

Naturally, it was Bush’s fault.

The administration was apprehensive about expanding offshore drilling. But it also hoped to get a legislative package on climate change through Congress. At the center of the bill was a controversial and potentially expensive provision requiring companies to acquire permits to release carbon dioxide.

To navigate Capitol Hill, the administration needed to strike a balance between the "green energy" projects favored by environmentalists and liberals, and the traditional oil and gas projects favored by Republicans, whose support would be crucial in the Senate. Continuing to promote offshore drilling was part of that bargain.

But the federal appeals court decision, which came just days after Mr. Salazar’s tour, threatened to throw a wrench in that process. The case was brought two years earlier by indigenous Alaskans and a coalition of environmental groups. It challenged a Bush-era plan to lease large chunks of offshore Alaska to oil drilling.

The groups argued the strategy didn’t adequately account for the whole range of environmental perils raised by oil drilling on the outer shelf.

The appeals court agreed, ruling that the federal program was based on "irrational" analysis. The government’s own assessment, the court found, weighed only the impact of oil washing up on shorelines. In a foreshadowing of the post-spill debate, the court noted that the analysis didn’t address the impact of a significant spill further out at sea

The administration’s struggle to find middle ground on its offshore policy came to a head in Senate hearings in mid-November, just weeks after a drilling rig off the coast of Australia had suffered a deepwater blowout, creating an oil leak that would go on for months.

Something we have heard nothing about until now.

Sen. Robert Menendez (D-NJ) pointed to an enlarged photo of the Australian rig in flames and asked rhetorically whether he was "just being old-fashioned" to worry that a similar blowout could occur in the U.S.

MMS Deputy Director Walter Cruickshank assured the panel that such fears were misplaced. The Australian rig wouldn’t have been licensed to operate in U.S. waters, he said. The U.S., he said, had "what we believe is the most aggressive oil spill contingency planning…in the world."

On March 31, Mr. Salazar joined President Obama in a hangar at Andrews Air Force Base in Maryland to announce their new offshore policy. Standing before an F-18 "Green Hornet" fighter jet designed to run partly on bio-fuel, Mr. Obama told the audience that "we’ll employ new technologies that reduce the impact of oil explorationAnd we’ll be guided not by political ideology, but by scientific evidence."

Which, of course means that he was guided by political ideology. As he obviously was. Indeed, Mr. Obama only wanted to ‘expand’ offshore oil drilling as a sop to get his ‘Cap And Trade’ legislation through Congress.

So now, in retrospect, we can see that ‘Cap And Trade’ has been dangerous for our country without even having been enacted.

This article was posted by Steve on Tuesday, July 6th, 2010. Comments are currently closed.

3 Responses to “Obama Ignored Court Warnings On Drilling”

  1. GetBackJack says:

    Whew! Now I feel better … all stations normal, FUBAR, etc … the daily dose of It’s Bush’s Fault has been published.

  2. proreason says:

    This presents a MAJOR financial opportunity.

    With the smartest man to ever live in the White House, why do we need 10 million bureaucrats writing laws and regulation. Just ask Obamy!! He knows best. Of course, an occasional little snafu is inevitable…like the BP thingee.

    Oh wait….those 10 million bureaucrats are VOTERS. And they suck the life out of 50 million capitalists.

    Silly me.

  3. Rusty Shackleford says:

    “we’ll employ new technologies that reduce the impact of oil exploration… And we’ll be guided not by political ideology, but by scientific evidence.” …

    “blah, blah, blah, blabbity blah, blah, blah”

    Y’know whut, boy? I’m gittin real sick o’ yer crap. An’ I’m not the only one.

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