published Tuesday, February 21st, 2012

Obama, Democrats in Congress hinder U.S. energy production

  • photo
    President Barack Obama waves as he walks on the South Lawn of the White House in Washington.
    Photo by Associated Press /Chattanooga Times Free Press.

The Obama administration and Democrats in Congress are doubling down on their opposition to developing America's energy supplies -- and are keeping us needlessly dependent on oil from hostile nations.

Most recently, Democrats made it clear that energy legislation backed by the Republican-run House of Representatives would get nowhere in the Democrat-controlled Senate. And even if it somehow passed the Senate, President Obama would veto it.

What does the bill seek to accomplish? It would sensibly open up areas off our Atlantic and Pacific coasts and in the eastern Gulf of Mexico to oil and natural gas drilling, and it would at long last allow at least a bit of drilling in Alaska's Arctic National Wildlife Refuge.

The president has flatly refused to go along with drilling in the Pacific or in ANWR, and he has said it will be at least 2017 -- five years from now! -- before he will offer drilling leases in the Atlantic.

That is all on top of his recent refusal to authorize the job-creating Keystone XL pipeline, which would bring oil from Canada through several U.S. states to Texas for refining. He based that decision on the alarmist claims of environmental activists, who predicted ecological catastrophe.

While it would clearly be best for us to develop our own energy resources, at least Canadian oil would be coming from a friendly source, rather than from unstable or anti-American regimes such as the ones in oil-supplying Venezuela or parts of the Middle East. Blocking the Keystone pipeline from Canada only further reduces the leverage we have when dealing with our less friendly suppliers.

So at almost every turn, the president and congressional Democrats have stymied meaningful U.S. energy development and production, choosing instead to pump billions upon billions of dollars into impractical "green energy" programs -- such as huge subsidies for electric cars that have proved unpopular with the public.

Those policies, added to international instability (see editorial above), are artificially inflating the price we pay for gasoline. The average price for a gallon of gas recently passed the $3.50 mark. That's 38 percent higher than the price motorists were paying just a year ago, and gas prices are expected to hit $4.25 per gallon in April.

That is an excellent reason to expand domestic energy production -- not to restrict it, as the administration and its allies in Congress are doing.

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nucanuck said...

The writer is clearly not up to speed on energy matters. The US has less than 3% of the worlds oil reserves and pumping it all out in the short term would be a monumental strategic blunder for the long term health of our country. World oil demand has been out-stripping new discoveries for three decades and production has plateaued even with spiraling prices. US reserves cannot change that dynamic.

As demand continues to grow in the developing countries and world supplies move toward the downward slope of the bell curve, oil will become too expensive for automobile use. Air travel will be for the rich and our lives will be completely re-ordered. We will begin to experience the effects of this new energy paradigm before the end of this decade.

This isn't something that we can change, but we can plan for it and begin to modify our energy dependency. Fossil fuels have allowed several hundred years of rapid population growth which is now ending. Reduced energy availability will be reflected in reduced population. We are at the end of an era that has lasted so long that we thought it was a permanent condition. It is not and it is ending on our watch.

Will we be able to manage a contraction as a permanent condition?

February 21, 2012 at 1:01 a.m.
fairmon said...

Gas prices have reduced spending power by over 200 billion in buying power (demand) from the average price of $1.87 in January of 2009. Limited nuclear expansion and slow movement to natural gas contributes to current and future dependence on foreign sources while alternatives are developed. Drastically reduced consumption is essential. Government dependence on royalty and tax revenue gives the government no incentive to reduce the cost of gas. In fact the incentive is for higher gas prices. The administration thinks higher prices will gain support for their green initiatives which is probably a correct assumption although the loss of buying power will make alternative sources unaffordable for most. The consumer is taking a double hit again. We don't have a well defined we will do energy program instead we have a we will not plan.

February 21, 2012 at 3:39 a.m.
EaTn said...

We need to bring back Dick Cheney and his oil tycoons to write us another energy policy proposal. Or maybe Bush could write another proposal to double the required ethanol in our gas and send our food prices sky-high like the last time. The energy solution is fairly simple--get rid of the big honking gas hogs.

February 21, 2012 at 6:20 a.m.
joneses said...

Obama and the dummycrats want the price of gas to go higher so people will start screaming for viable technology that does not exist. These electric cars are golf carts on steroids and are priced out of reach for most Americans, Chevy Volt, $39,000.00. The gas prices have the most negative effect on the 50% of people in this country that mooch off the government. High gas prices has a negative effect on everything we purchase with the most impact on food. So this extended tax cut has been eliminated by obama's failed energy policies. I expect this pathetic president to make another boring mindless speech saying we need to invest in alternative energy sources. Did he not do that with Solyndra? This fool is out to destroy the middle class and it is obvious as the middle class is being destroyed. There are more people on government assistance under obama in the history of this country. it is sad what he is doing to this country.

February 21, 2012 at 6:28 a.m.
joneses said...

What is really pathetic is this fool we have as president "ruled" against the Keystone pipeline from Canada to the US because of what he said would be a "negative environmental impact". Would someone tell this idiot that there is already 55,000 miles of underground petroleum pipeline in America and another 1500 miles of pipeline will not matter? If he is so concerned about the "negative impact" of petroleum pipelines in this country then why is he not proposing to eliminate the 55,000 miles of petroleum pipeline that already exist? You idiots that think Obama has Americas best interest in mind are fools and you should feel stupid for supporting this communist POS.

February 21, 2012 at 6:34 a.m.
EaTn said...

Only right-wing fools would consider spending billions of dollars to pump crude several thousand miles across the country instead of building a refinery near the source.

February 21, 2012 at 6:45 a.m.
joneses said...

Only a left wing pathetic looser POS like you eatn would think this pathetic fool you worship as president would let a refinery be built. If a petroleum company proposed to build a refinery and this pathetic fool we have as president "ruled" against it you would not be pissing and moaning about that would you? You are a pathetic hypocrit. Because of this incompetant president and his stupid irresponsible liberal environmental policies, refineries cannot be built in this country. How do you propose to get the gasoline distributed from this refinery you want to build at the source to market? Do you think trucking it is less expensive than a pipeline? You have just showed what an imbecile you actually are. You are an idiot. Did you know lisa jackson, head of EPA said she did not care if environmental regulation cost every job in the country? That is the pathetic mindset you support.

February 21, 2012 at 7:17 a.m.
joneses said...


One more comment as I find what you said about building a refinery at the source of the crude to be a viable option rediculous. The crude, or gas from the refinery, has to be tansported to maket some way. Trucking gas all over the country is cost prohibitive. Transporting gas in a pipeline causes more of a risk to the environment than transporting crude oil to a refinery. The refined gas is flammable, contains benzene, a known carcinogen, xylene, MTBE and other EPA hazrdous substances. Crude oil contains crude oil and is not flammable but it might be combustible. Lookup the difference. If it were cost effective the plan would be to build a reinery at the source in Canada. Because this has not been proposed it has to be a stupid idea. I enjoy tying to educate liberals evn though your brains cannot comprehend common sense. You are equal to these iner city kids that graduate from high shool and still do not know how o read. I find my efforts trying to educate you idiots rewarding. And I will bet your next comment will be something stupid about one or two of my misspelled words or typing skills like that means anything.

February 21, 2012 at 8:01 a.m.

Of course President Obama does NOT have an energy plan. That would require he commit to policy and stick with his committments. Which he is unable to do. But he has stuck with Bush policy, pretty well.

February 21, 2012 at 10:14 a.m.

joneses, there are many thousands of buildings in Chattanooga. Do you think building one that's unsafe would be a good idea or not? That's all it takes, especially when the house is full of explosives.

Besides, please tell us how much gasoline would be produced by that pipeline, then tell us how much the Midwest uses.

They aren't wanting to build it in Texas because it's cost effective. They're doing it because it's more profitable to sell it overseas.

I support the right of Canadians to get what they want from their natural resources, but I decline to expose the country I live in to the risks of it without commensurate benefit.

February 21, 2012 at 10:28 a.m.
nucanuck said...

World consumption is driving the price of oil and there is nothing the US can do to change that dynamic. The easy to access oil is mostly gone and what is left is expensive to produce.

Good leadership will have to figure out how to manage in an oil constrained world. That's the plain truth.

February 21, 2012 at 10:50 a.m.
conservative said...

The proposed pipeline is just over 1% of the EXISTING pipeline.

View a map of the proposed and existing pipeline at:

February 21, 2012 at 11:13 a.m.
nucanuck said...

The Keystone pipeline was inserted into the payroll tax cut bill. The pipeline is going to happen. Find something else to whine about.

February 21, 2012 at 11:37 a.m.
conservative said...

Having a bad day?

February 21, 2012 at 11:50 a.m.
acerigger said...

"The United States' rapidly declining crude oil supply has made a stunning about-face, shredding federal oil projections and putting energy independence in sight of some analyst forecasts.

After declining to levels not seen since the 1940s, U.S. crude production began rising again in 2009. Drilling rigs have rushed into the nation's oil fields, suggesting a surge in domestic crude is on the horizon.

The number of rigs in U.S. oil fields has more than quad­rupled in the past three years to 1,272, according to the Baker Hughes rig count. Including those in natural gas fields, the United States now has more rigs at work than the entire rest of the world." Says Simone Sebastian . Read it for yourselves, then find something else to whine about!

February 21, 2012 at 2:18 p.m.
tipper said...

Joneses, you poor lost soul. The oil from that pipeline will be exported to other countries. It will do nothing to strengthen our oil independence. You don't have to be a liberal or conservative to know that. It's a common practice in almost all of the big five oil companies' export strategies. Has been for decades. The $5 at the pump in summer prediction is the tantrum the oil industry will throw to show their political muscle and try and influence the election. As long as we let them, they will own us. Rail and rant on brother. You're a stitch.

February 21, 2012 at 2:24 p.m.
mtngrl said...

Joneses, if you could read and comprehend you just may then understand that "close to the source" would be Canada, not the US. But rant away anyway.

And the gas would be transported no matter where the refinery is, and they are aiming for Texas in order to ship it to Europe.

February 21, 2012 at 4:04 p.m.
nucanuck said...

acerigger, the upward blip up in oil production and shale reserves makes almost no difference in cost effective world oil reserves. The energy return on energy invested is quite low and much of what exists cannot realisticly be extracted. Peak affordable oil is upon us and no "good news" article will change that.

Gas is another matter, but it too is not as bright as some analyst would have us believe. Yes we have a lot, but if we try to convert our transportation fleet to nat gas we will quickly be back in the same price pickle. Fracked gas resourses deplete quickly and require lots of drilling. Again much of the estimated reserves will never be able to be accessed.

The Oil Drum is far and away the best resourse for energy information... no politics, just very smart people sharing high quality knowledge.

February 21, 2012 at 5:04 p.m.
Plato said...

As usual the FP editors distort the facts.

Keystone XL is an export pipeline. According to presentations to investors, Gulf Coast refiners plan to refine the cheap Canadian crude supplied by the pipeline into diesel and other products for export to Europe and Latin America. Proceeds from these exports are earned tax-free. Much of the fuel refined from the pipeline’s heavy crude oil will never reach U.S. drivers’ tanks. By draining Midwestern refineries of cheap Canadian crude into export-oriented refineries in the Gulf Coast, Keystone XL will increase the price of gas for Americans.

Also the president did not reject the project. In October of last year The State of Nebraska opted to reroute the proposed pipeline so as not to endanger sensitive aquifers used for drinking water. That decision required a new environmental impact study which is now underway and should be finished with the next few months. Jumping the gun and proceeding prior to this would be foolish. Apparently the lessons we learned about cutting corners to save time and money from the BP catastrophe didn't hit home with some folks.

February 21, 2012 at 6:54 p.m.
joneses said...

So now you stupid liberals are experts in the oil and gas business. You have not a clue how much will stay here and how much will be sold overseas. By the way have you ever thought the reason the oil companies would sell their gas overseas is because here they are required by stupid senseless liberal policies to inject expensive additives that are meant to make the gas cleaner but actually do noting but add cost. Did you know there are already 55,000 miles of petroleum pipelines in this country? We know who the party of "no" is. It is the dummycrats. Where is your outrage at this pathetic fool you support as president for the highest ever gas prices for this time of year? I could imagine the lies you would be spouting off if a Republican was president. You liberals are nothing but pathetic hypocrits.

February 21, 2012 at 7:05 p.m.
joneses said...


This increase in oil rigs is happening on private and state lands which obama cannot touch. There has been a tremendous decrease on federal land and the gulf because of obama the fool's policies. This pathetic president wants the price of gas to rise. it is part of his plan to destroy the middle class. If he could find a way to stop the increase in production of oil on private and state land he would.

February 21, 2012 at 7:20 p.m.

I already asked you a question about the pipelines. Is there some reason why existing pipelines justify indifference and non-concern about a new one, or is it like building a house, that each time you have to do it, you have to be concerned about doing it right?

Since you're apparently an expert in such matters, perhaps you can explain it.

February 21, 2012 at 7:21 p.m.
nucanuck said...

joneses, oil is fungible. We in the US cannot control the price of world oil and our pricing is based on world oil markets. Your blame game is mis-placed and all the way silly.

February 21, 2012 at 8:10 p.m.
acerigger said...

My point was(is),the TFP editorial board is as nucanuck said...

"The writer is clearly not up to speed on energy matters."

February 21, 2012 at 9:40 p.m.
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