In his speech on energy in Michigan today, Barack Obama pretended to call for increased exploitation of our domestic energy resources. In instance after instance, however, if Obama’s proposals are considered with any care, they turn out to be illusory.
Thus, for example, Obama said today:
Over the next five years, we should also lease more of the National Petroleum Reserve in Alaska for oil and gas production.
But, as Obama no doubt knows, much of the NPR has already been leased, yet those leases have not generated any oil production. Why is this? Not because there aren’t enough leases, but rather, as we pointed out here, because the necessary infrastructure doesn’t exist: the Corps of Engineers has not been able to get a permit to build a pipeline. Further, the projects that oil companies have already proposed in NPR have been tied up in litigation initiated by the Sierra Club and other environmental groups. Leasing more acres won’t solve these problems, it will only lead to more litigation. Of course, the Democrats have always been better at producing lawsuits than producing oil.
What we really need to do is open up ANWR, where more oil can be obtained with far less environmental impact, and little new infrastructure will be necessary. Even opening up ANWR will be of little use, however, unless a way is found to short-circuit the inevitable lawsuits that would otherwise delay production indefinitely.
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