Obama’s War on the Gulf Coast


When it comes to explaining the meaning of my recent book’s less-than-subtle title — Power Grab: How Obama’s Green Policies Will Steal Your Freedom and Bankrupt America — I have begun to point to the court’s opinion enjoining the Obama administration’s attempted moratorium on drilling in water deeper than 500 feet.

As I also noted in recent testimony to a Joint Hearing of the Senate and House Western Caucuses on the War on Western Jobs:

The federal court enjoining that move cited factors which equally apply to today’s discussion:

[T]he Court is persuaded that it is only a matter of time before more business and jobs and livelihoods will be lost. The defendants trivialize such losses by characterizing them as merely a small percentage of the drilling rigs affected, but it does not follow that this will somehow reduce the convincing harm suffered. . . .

The effect on employment, jobs, loss of domestic energy supplies caused by the moratorium . . . will clearly ripple throughout the economy in this region. . . . [1]

The same applies to locking up land out West, halting more than just energy production, but harming a diverse array of communities.

The fact that two courts have sided with the economy and (to use Judge Martin Feldman’s word) rationality has not deterred the administration, in its persistent war against domestic-energy production, from effectively and knowingly imposing a moratorium on both deepwater and shallow-water drilling.

This has already prompted rigs to head off to friendlier shores — friendlier to energy production, at any rate, but (alas) not so friendly to us, or to the environment.

This is an irrational war that extends deeply into the president’s political party, as well. Today I tuned in on a call to discuss the new report by a professor at Louisiana State University entitled “The Economic Cost of a Moratorium on Offshore Oil and Gas Exploration to the Gulf Region,” which Greg excerpted below.

The numbers are damning in their exposition of what the administration is wreaking not only on the Gulf Coast, but the impact of its (effective) moratorium on the nation. And things are actually much worse.

Imagine if the Obama administration effectively continues the expired congressional and repealed executive moratoria on offshore drilling (and shale-oil production). Conversely, imagine the benefits if we were to have a sane policy of domestic-energy production.

Hopefully, the silver lining of BP’s latest mishap in the Gulf — an incident typical of BP far more than it is of offshore drilling, if one dares be so bold as to compare relative safety records — will be that Americans complete their maturation on energy issues that began with the gasoline-price spikes of two years ago. Perhaps we will come to fully understand that there are costs and risks associated with producing domestic resources — but that these costs and risks are overwhelmed by the costs associated with not doing so. The “greatest threat,” to borrow a favorite expression of the greens, is the failure to weigh relative threats.

If sanity prevailed on these issues, as it might possibly in a new Congress, the jobs boom we keep being promised — you know, the one that requires massive wealth transfers from taxpayers present and future to reward select political constituencies — would actually arrive, severalfold, and without such statism required.

At this point, we can only hope for change. And this is the least joy I have had in saying I told you so.


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