President Obama’s Energy Rhetoric, Please Meet His Record

by David Bier on February 8, 2012

in Blog

Iain Murray and I today published an article in the American Spectator, which disputes many of President Obama’s State of the Union energy policy claims. As we wrote, “While the president spent more time on the topic than any other policy area, he distorted the facts, misrepresented his plans, and ignored his record.” It’s time to set the record straight:

Obama announced that “tonight, I’m directing my Administration to open more than 75 percent of our potential offshore oil and gas resources.” For those who favor energy production, this sounds great, but a close inspection reveals that this announcement was nothing new — the sale should have been scheduled last year, and the only reason the administration is planning it now is that it is required under the Outer Continental Shelf Lands Act. In fact, he didn’t direct his administration to do anything new — he just recycled a plan actually released in November 2011 that actually kept closed key areas for future oil and gas exploration in Alaska, the Gulf of Mexico, and the Atlantic coastline.

The president claimed that, “over the last three years, we’ve opened millions of new acres for oil and gas exploration…. Right now, American oil production is the highest that it’s been in eight years. That’s right — eight years.” But that’s no thanks to the federal government. The administration didn’t hold a single offshore lease sale in all of 2010 and canceled sales off the coast of Alaska and Virginia this year. It’s the oil boom in North Dakota on private lands that’s kept domestic oil production from falling — not the president’s policies.

Obama continued, “The easiest way to save money is to waste less energy. So here’s another proposal: Help manufacturers eliminate energy waste in their factories and give businesses incentives to upgrade their buildings.” But manufacturers already have huge incentives to reduce wasted energy. Airlines today, for example, use almost half as much energy per passenger mile as they did in 1979 and 24 percent less than in 2000. No one needed to tell them to do that. Energy is only “waste” if it cost less to save it than to not. Forcing taxpayers to pick up the tab for manufacturers’ energy costs isn’t eliminating energy waste — it’s creating government waste.

Obama has already been burned by his poor energy investments, but that hasn’t stopped him from promoting them in every speech. “In three years, our partnership with the private sector has already positioned America to be the world’s leading manufacturer of high-tech batteries,” he said in reference to stimulus grants to an electric car battery manufacturer. That manufacturer was Ener1. Two days later, it filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy.

Read the rest here.

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