American Elephants


Obama’s Energy Strategy: Posture, Pretend and Prevaricate! by The Elephant's Child

President Obama’s refusal to authorize the Keystone XL pipeline will go down in history as one of the dumber decisions ever made by an American president.  According to a recent Gallup survey, Americans favor the pipeline by 57% to 29%. Even a majority of Democrats favor the pipeline 44%-39%, Independents 51%-35%, and Republicans favor the pipeline by 81% to 9%. Obama does not change his mind; but he’s posturing, pretending and prevaricating as fast as  he can.

He has gone to Cushing, Oklahoma which is a kind of junction of pipelines. There is currently a glut of oil at Cushing because the pipelines to the coast are too small to carry all the oil from Oklahoma. The last third of the Keystone will remedy that.

So Obama has visited Cushing to “authorize” the lower third of the Keystone XL which goes from Cushing to Texas refineries. But this portion is an interstate pipeline and doesn’t need the president’s authorization nor any oversight by the federal government at all. The Army Corps of Engineers gives a perfunctory review, but any other permitting is done on the local level. Obama’s appearance is all for show. There is political pressure for the White House to appear to be doing something about high gas prices, so there he is— showing off. This is not a good-faith endeavor, and the people know it.

He uses the same canned energy speech. We’re producing more oil than ever before (due entirely to permitting done in the Clinton and Bush administrations) (and it is being produced on state and private land where the president has no control). He suddenly claims he has directed his administration to open up millions of acres for oil and gas exploration in 23 different states, and directed them to open up more than 75 percent of our potential oil resources. There’s a big difference between saying you can look on these millions of acres (which may contain not a drop of oil) and approving the permits to drill that oil drillers have actually applied for.

He says “If you hear anybody on TV saying that somehow we’re against drilling for oil … they’re  not telling the truth. We’re drilling all over the place. That’s one of the reasons we’ve been able to reduce our dependence on foreign oil every year since I took office.  Whoah.

The reason “our dependence on foreign oil”is down, is because our economy is in the tank, and the number of unemployed who are so discouraged they are no longer looking for work keeps growing.

 [O]ver the last 36 years, there has been no connection between the amount of oil that we drill in this country and the price of gasoline.  There’s no connection.  And the reason is that we’ve got a worldwide oil market.  And so even if we produce more, the fact of the matter is we use 20 percent of the world’s oil.  And even if drilled But even if we drilled every square inch of this country, we’d still only have 2 or 3 or 4 percent of the world’s known oil reserves.

Major whopper. See here.

So what ends up happening is the price is impacted not just by us, but by everybody, in the amount of oil that’s used worldwide.  And that means if we don’t develop new sources of energy along with oil and gas, and if we don’t develop technologies to use less energy for the same amount of output, we’re always going to depend on other countries for our energy needs.

The world price of oil is determined by the futures price on the commodities market. Not on “speculators” as Obama would have it, but by the estimate of what the future price will be by people looking at events in the world that may affect the price of oil.  When Iran threatens to close the Straits of Hormuz, through which much of the world’s oil supply passes, investors worry. When instability in the Middle East increases they worry, and the price goes up.

The price at the gas pump is not based on how much the station owner had to pay for the last tanker load, but on what he will have to pay for the next one — else he would not be able to pay for the next one. If the president had approved the Keystone XL pipeline from Canada, the price would go down because the future outlook had just improved.

What the president actually believes about energy is a mystery. He talks about alternative sources of clean energy, and rushes off to a solar array which the government is subsidizing in one way or another. (Has wind finally lost favor?)

He talks about biofuels, but the only one we have is corn ethanol which is more polluting than gasoline, contains less energy, and is doing damage to the food supply. Biofuel from forest waste and plant material or switchgrass is mandated, with big fines if not, yet there isn’t any. The process hasn’t yet worked.  Solar energy heats water successfully, but produces little electricity, wind produces little electricity. The electric cars are so far a flop.  He’s now big on algae, but that is probably 30 years away from development, and unlikely anyway because producing any quantity just takes too much land.

Solar remains wishful thinking. Master Resource explains the history of the wishful thinking that over and over goes nowhere. The president is claiming a great accomplishment by extending the Keystone XL from Cushing to the Gulf, and the compliant media dutifully reports his words. He adds that he simply couldn’t allow the northern part to be built until it was not a danger to the American people. What an absolute crock.

“This administration’s record speaks for itself. For more than three years, President Obama has implemented a three part energy strategy: delay, deny, and deceive.”  — IER President Thomas Pyle


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