American Elephants


Governor Bobby Jindal Is Very Angry, And Justifiably So! by The Elephant's Child

The Obama administration imposed a ban on deepwater drilling, which was overturned by a District judge, and affirmed by the Court of Appeals.  Not to be outdone by Louisiana judges, the administration re-wrote the moratorium and imposed a new ban on July 12 which now extends to shallow-water drilling as well.  The Louisiana Department of Natural Resources issued a press release on Tuesday, showing that the moratorium had resulted in a near-complete decline in approval of shallow-water drilling permits.

Approved permits for shallow water drilling in the Gulf of Mexico have dropped significantly since the federal moratorium on deepwater drilling earlier this year, with only one approved new well permit so far in July. In the 11 months prior to the moratorium, the federal government approved an average of 14 permits per month in the Gulf of Mexico.

Interior Secretary Ken Salazar, he of the 10-gallon hats, said about the new ban:

Like the deepwater drilling moratorium lifted by the District Court on June 22, the deepwater drilling suspensions ordered today apply to most deepwater drilling activities and could last through November 30…the May 28 moratorium proscribed drilling based on specific water depths; the new decision does not suspend activities based on water depth, but on the basis of the drilling configurations and technologies.

According to The Advertiser of Lafayette, LA, these “configurations and technologies” are essentially the same regardless of water-depth.  “Since shallow-water wells often utilize floating drilling platforms,” which is one of the key pieces of banned equipment, “the an in fact applies to most shallow-water drilling.”

Gulf Coast residents are outraged.  A huge “Rally for Economic Survival” which drew over 11,000 local citizens affected by the drilling ban.  Dr. David Kreutzer and John Ligon report that a total offshore drilling ban could be nationally crippling economically.  It would reduce GDP by $5.5 trillion, reduce job growth by more than 1 million jobs by 2015 and increase the expenditures for imported oil by nearly $737 billion.  Dr. Loren Scott, LSU economics professor emeritus, says that 50,000 wells have been drilled in the Gulf with no problems.  America depends on the oil coming from the Gulf.

It is impossible to know what the administration has in mind: 1. If they ban all drilling, then they have shown that they aren’t going to allow any more spills until it is “proven” safe.  2. If they ban all drilling, then increasing gas prices will make Americans angrier at the oil companies and more amenable to wind and solar energy and efforts to ban carbon. 3. They don’t care what people think, it’s a good opportunity to make America dependent on clean energy instead of dirty old carbon-based fuels. Amy more explanations?



It Wasn’t Anger that We Wanted, Mr. President. It Was Leadership. by The Elephant's Child

In the wake of the oil spill, President Obama asked Interior Secretary Ken Salazar to come up with a new report on recommendations for drilling safety.  Then, on May 27 Mr. Obama announced a six-month deep water drilling ban. He justified it on the basis of the top recommendation of Mr. Salazar’s report, which was a moratorium. The report noted, to include an air of technical authority: “The recommendations contained in this report have been peer-reviewed by seven experts identified by the National Academy of Engineering.”

That was flatly false.  In a scathing statement released this week, the seven experts explained that the report draft they had reviewed did not include a six-month drilling moratorium.   That was added after they had signed off.  “The Secretary,” they said, “should be free to recommend whatever he thinks is correct, but he should not be free to use our names to justify his political decisions,” wrote the seven in a letter to Gulf Coast politicians.

The seven noted that they broadly agreed with the report and even signed off on a proposal to suspend new deep water permits for six months.  They also agreed to a “temporary pause” in drilling to perform additional testing on the Gulf’s 33 deep water wells that have already received permits to drill.

“A blanket moratorium,” the seven said “is not the answer. It will not measurably reduce risk further and it will have a lasting impact on the nation’s economy which may be greater than that of the oil spill.”  If anything, the ban could prove “counterproductive to long term safety.”

The Department of the Interior says the ban was a White House request.  Best guess is that credit should go to energy czar Carol Browner, who has been loudly favoring the ban to show the Administration is doing something.  Mr. Obama has pushed to question off to the commission he has appointed to investigate the spill.  The commission is not fully staffed, and their report is not due for six months.  That will be too late for thousands of Gulf workers who are in danger of losing their jobs within weeks, as deep water rigs prepare to leave the Gulf.

Meanwhile talk of “kicking ass” and demonizing BP has led to a backlash from Great Britain, home country of the oil giant, and the mainstay of many a retirement portfolio.  A Conservative peer, Lord Tebbit, called the American response “a crude bigoted, xenophobic display of partisan, political, presidential petulance against a multinational company.”

British message boards have been full of anger against America and Mr. Obama, a president who has been wildly popular until now, and against the economic costs of American anger.



Place: BP Corporate Headquarters. Problem: The Spill. by The Elephant's Child
June 11, 2010, 4:57 pm
Filed under: Domestic Policy, Energy, Environment, Humor | Tags: ,

This is pretty funny, simply because it is so true.  Humor is the saving grace.

(h/t: Planet Gore)



Obama Knew From His First Briefing That The Spill Might Go On For Months. by The Elephant's Child

Obama was apparently told by Carol Browner,  his Energy Czar,  at one of the earliest briefings that the BP Deepwater Horizon oil rig explosion would lead to an unprecedented environmental disaster.  That capping a well at such depths had never been done before, and that they should expect an oil spill that might well continue until a relief well was drilled — probably to be completed by August.

The early briefing and the technical challenges involved may have given the Obama team the fatalistic notion that there was nothing they could do.  No one has blamed Obama because he has not stopped the spill.  The negative stories are a direct reflection on the president’s  response to the spill, to BP, to the people of the Gulf, and to the public in general.  He has not been straightforward.  He cannot make up his mind whether to attack BP or to criminalize their actions.  Offering all the assistance of the federal government,  suspending regulations that get in the way, seeing that the EPA responds to queries promptly and doing everything possible to protect the beaches doesn’t seem to have been done.  Poor public relations.  A little graceful appreciation for all the hardworking people who are doing their best, and a quick response to Governor Jindal’s requests would be more in order.

(h/t: Gateway Pundit)



Don’t Let a Crisis Go To Waste — Make it Worse! by The Elephant's Child


Since the BP Deepwater Horizon drill rig exploded, the response of the White House has struck many Americans as somewhere between off-the-mark and completely incompetent.  This White House, it seems, can look at things only through the lens of politics.

The administration apparently thought the explosion might be a short-lived disaster, and they should hunker down and wait for it to blow over.  After some nine days, it revealed itself as a very big deal indeed, and the administration hastened to claim that they were completely on top of it.  It became almost comical as each representative of the administration appeared on television assuring the public that they had been “on top of it from Day One.” And the White House published a time line to demonstrate just how on top of everything they had actually been — including gallons of oil sopped up and feet of oil boom located.

I may have looked in the wrong places, but the only place I could find that listed the names of the men who lost their lives was a piece in Forbes.  Plenty of mention elsewhere on the potential effects on wildlife.  As Investors pointed out:

In crisis, character is inevitably revealed. That this president has looked so inept in handling both the spill itself and the negative public opinion it was bound to bring is a testament to his lack of preparation for the office.

No executive experience, virtually no private-sector business experience, no military service, no real responsibility for decision-making that has real-world consequences — this was President Obama’s resume when he was sworn in.

Now it shows in his botched response to the BP spill. From the April 20 explosion that blew up the well and killed 11 oil workers to now, the steps Obama has taken have been strangely political.

Obama first welcomed BP’s efforts, assuming that when they were successful the credit would be shared with the administration.  Then frustration, “Just plug the damn hole,” Obama said, and as one solution after another failed, polls showed the president’s support dropping, even Democrats began urging Obama to do something.  Obama came out hostile.  I’m in charge, he said.

Now the White House is “distancing itself” from both BP and the oil spill.  Instead of trying to offer all possible assistance to the oil industry who are after all, the ones who know what remedies can potentially work.  Obama’s angry pose is supposed to assure angry Americans that he is on their side.  Eric Holder has sent a team of lawyers down to search for possible criminal behavior.  Just when you want full BP attention on solutions, they need to lawyer up?

Some are urging massive fines, boycotts, anything to punish BP.  Democrats in Congress are pushing for new taxes on oil companies to “pay for” the disaster, as a way to pass the unbelievably disastrous cap-and-trade bill.

We need a little common sense here.  BP is expending millions of dollars and engineering expertise in trying to stop the spill.  No one has more invested in finding a solution than BP.  They need support in their efforts.  And the last thing the people of the Gulf states need is for the administration to shut down their entire oil industry, when forces beyond their control are damaging so many other industries — fishing, shrimping, tourism and their economy.

President Obama has a vision in his head of a “clean energy economy.” This apparently occurs when he makes petroleum prohibitively expensive, and shuts down the coal industry.  He has said that he wants to bankrupt the coal industry. One half of our electric energy is generated by coal-fired plants.

There is no hope that half of our electric energy can, in the foreseeable future, be supplied from wind, solar, geothermal, or biofuels.  It would be a very long time before it could be supplied by nuclear power plants — if there were a complete change in permitting, lawsuits, environmentalist objections and expense.

It is clear that Obama wants to force everyone into electric cars, but they are years from being even feasible, let alone suitable for the mass market.  I guess it is the messiah complex.  He has only to end dirty fossil fuels and he will, what?, snap his fingers and make all these unworkable, unaffordable, economy-destroying fantasies become reality?

The disastrous experience of Spain and Denmark who have most heavily invested in wind power, serious studies by energy industry experts — nothing seems to make the slightest impression.  He is not letting this Gulf crisis “go to waste,” he is using it to shut down oil exploration and drilling in Alaska, and his allies are attempting to put all of Alaska, including the National Petroleum Reserve out of reach, permanently.  What can he possibly be thinking?




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