- The Washington Times - Friday, March 4, 2011

President Obama has intentionally hamstrung domestic energy production under the delusional theory that the U.S. economy can thrive on so-called green power. As Mideast turmoil threatens the oil supply, the price of domestic crude has jumped above $100 a barrel and gas at the pump now exceeds $3.46 a gallon. This shows just how dangerous the Obama administration’s economic and energy policies can be to our wallets.

There can be no doubt that the president took deliberate action to block access to the nation’s energy resources. A federal judge recently found the Interior Department in contempt for ignoring his order overturning the oil-drilling moratorium the administration imposed following the BP oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico. On Feb. 22, Judge Martin Feldman upped the pressure by insisting that the department act on five pending permits within 30 days. Permits that would, under normal circumstances, be processed in two weeks have been ignored for four to nine months. “Not acting at all is not a lawful option,” Judge Feldman wrote. The department had no choice but to issue the first permit since the spill on Feb. 28.

Interior pinned the blame for delays on technical problems. Yet, as the department dithered, oil companies atrophied and employees lost work. According to a study released in January by the business alliance Greater New Orleans, Inc., the moratorium cost Louisiana about 25,000 jobs. Houston-based Seahawk Drilling, the most recent victim of the drilling ban, announced Feb. 18 that it had filed for bankruptcy and agreed to a buyout from a competitor. The jobs of the company’s 494 employees are in jeopardy, according to USA Today.

Meanwhile, Mr. Obama’s fiscal 2012 budget proposal calls for imposing a $4 per acre fine on oil and gas companies for land on which they currently hold leases but are not drilling. This gimmick helps the O Force imply that the industry is holding off on drilling in the hope that shortages will drive up prices. This is the ultimate in hypocrisy for a leftist administration committed to hampering domestic production by blocking drilling in the Gulf, the Outer Continental Shelf and elsewhere across the country.


On Feb. 23, Treasury Secretary Timothy F. Geithner brushed off questions about the impact of oil price spikes resulting from civil war brewing in Libya and turmoil throughout the Middle East. “The world’s got a lot of experience in managing the tensions that could come with short-term impact on commodity prices,” he said. For Americans who must bear the strain of these policies on their family budget - while dutifully paying their taxes - the consequences are real.

Prior to his election, Mr. Obama vowed to “transform” the nation. Americans have learned too late that the transformation is from exceptionalism to mediocrity and from prosperity to bankruptcy. America needs an energy policy where the most proven, cost-effective techniques are harnessed wherever possible here at home to fuel long-term, sustainable economic growth.