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Layers of Hypocrisy: Moratorium on Domestic Offshore Drilling

Following the BP oil spill, the Obama administration issued a moratorium on American offshore drilling. Yet at the same time the administration is not only applauding Brazil’s new offshore drilling project, but is actively supporting the venture. President Obama’s rhetoric about environmental damage from offshore drilling and his efforts to promote job creation in the economy prove empty in the face of his support for Brazil’s offshore drilling project.

The Obama administration has prohibited deep-water offshore drilling, but is aiding Brazil in developing theirs, at the cost of American workers. President Obama has promised our southern neighbor “technology and support” to develop its oil reserves. After Brazil’s oil sources go online with American help, the president has asserted that he wants the United States to “be one of your best customers”.

The president’s position is hypocritical on many levels. He claims to be concerned about possible environmental damage after the BP oil spill, and so shut down operations in Louisiana and has prohibited drilling in Alaska. Yet he wants to be a major player in developing Brazil’s drilling technology as well as being a key customer? The Brazilian oil company Petrobas was drilling at a depth of 2,777 meters when Obama issued a ban forbidding deep water drilling beyond 1,500 meters. The president invested $2 billion in Petrobas for technology development, all of which came from American taxpayers. Americans want their tax money to go towards stabilizing our own fragile economy, not given to another nation’s oil company.

President Obama claims he is working to promote job creation in the United States, yet he has shut down oil production in Louisiana and has forbidden drilling in Alaska. The drilling moratorium combined with the enormous investment in Petrobas has led to thirty-five rigs to shut down and stand useless, while American rig workers are losing $330 million per month in wages. There are “abundant energy resources off Louisiana’s coast,” Senator David Vitter of Louisiana asserts, “but this administration has virtually shut down our off shore industry and … is using American’s tax dollars to support drilling off the coast of Brazil”. There are energy opportunities in Alaska as well, according to Alaskan Senator Mark Begich, but the administration would rather trek all the way to Brazil for “safe, and stable” oil that could be found off the Alaskan coast if drilling were permitted.

Touting job creation and environmental concern, while at the same time sending American jobs and taxpayer money to a foreign country so they can develop an industry that is prohibited in the United States. Brazil can be a valuable partner for importing oil, but should not be used as a substitute for operations in Louisiana and Alaska. Allowing access to our own abundant resources would promote job creation while promoting steps to ensure affordable and stable energy supplies in America. Rather than engaging in foreign energy markets, the Obama administration should revisit its energy policies, which are stifling domestic exploration and growth.