President Obama’s discussion last night of “energy” was dishonest even by his standards. After briefly citing the nation’s energy gains under his administration, he turned to “climate change,” using a few quirky weather events as the springboard for advocating more federal regulation of the economy.
Ben Cole of the Institute for Energy Research has offered a forceful and, I think, largely meritorious response to Obama’s BS on energy and climate change. He writes:
Tonight, the president affirmed the renaissance in American manufacturing and recognized the promise of American energy. Yet he seems to misunderstand the reason that manufacturing jobs are coming back to America and why domestic oil and natural gas production are on the rise. These bright spots in an otherwise dark economic time have happened despite the president’s policies, and not because of them.
The proof of his administration’s failure is that, despite federal lands and waters much larger than the combined private and state lands in the U.S., the CRS says 96% of this increase in oil production occured on non federal lands. Something is very, very wrong with the president’s energy programs.
It is telling that President Obama seemed more concerned about climate change than job creation, clearly following a well-worn path for this administration where no crisis goes to waste in pursuit of the President’s progressive agenda. For this administration, a deadly hurricane means a chance for carbon taxes. A crop-killling heat wave means another opportunity to attack the coal industry. Virtually any nightly weather report can be exploited to justify the empowerment of Washington regulators and more hurdles for affordable energy. In fact, the only jobs the president seems to be worried about are at the Environmental Protection Agency.
The President promised to ‘keep cutting red tape and speeding up new oil and gas permits.’ Yet his record is a more reliable indicator of his agenda than his rhetoric. Currently, it takes more than 300 days to get a permit to drill for oil or gas on federal lands, compared with 10 days in North Dakota where an energy boom has led to the lowest unemployment in the country. For all his talk of speeding up permits, it is telling that one permit remains on ice: the Keystone XL pipeline.
In the very next breath, the president promised to spend more federal dollars on efficiency standards and green energy progams. He just doesn’t seem to get it. More spending from Washington will neither solve our fiscal crisis nor promote American energy independence.
Essentially, the president’s plan amounts to greater dependence on Chinese financiers to reduce dependence on OPEC. Trading one form of foreign dependency for another is not a path forward.
This past week, the Institute for Energy Research released a report detailing a path forward to economic growth, job creation, and much-needed tax revenues without a single dollar of government spending required. This study, entitled “Beyond the Congressional Budget Office,” estimates that the United States could experience more than $14 trillion dollars in GDP growth, nearly $80 billion in annual federal tax revenues, and nearly 2 million jobs every year if the administration would get out of the way and let the American people go to work producing energy on our federal lands and waters.
With commonsense solutions and a commitment to American energy security, we can move forward. What we do not need is more of the same false rhetoric, or more of the same failed policies.
JOHN adds: I wrote about the IER’s “Beyond the Congressional Budget Office” report on the economic benefits of opening up oil and gas drilling here.