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President Obama recently articulated his plans to begin drilling for oil and natural gas off the coasts of North Carolina, Virginia, Florida and Alaska. Obama conveyed, at Andrew Air Force Base, the importance of exploiting the natural resources along our coastlines that will spur job growth, and diminish our dependence on foreign oil imports. Although this drilling project is a stride in the right direction, it is too incremental and, in fact, leaves much of our energy resources locked up without the possibility of exploration. In order for the U.S. to truly create jobs, and actually diminish their dependence on foreign oil, we need to fully commit to drilling in all offshore and onshore regions that we know contain oil and natural gas deposits.
Regarding the insufficiency of the Obama administration’s plan, The Hill reports that House Minority Lead John Boehner (R-Ohio) stated:
It's long past time for this Administration to stop delaying American energy production off all our shores and start listening to the American people who want an 'all of the above' strategy to produce more American energy and create more jobs.
The Competitive Enterprise Institute criticized Obama’s drilling plans by stating:
The White House announcement today that limited areas off the coasts of North Carolina, Virginia, Florida, and Alaska will be open to oil and gas exploration obscures the fact that most areas are still being ruled off limits. Most of Alaska, all of the Pacific coast, and other areas that could yield affordable energy for American consumers are still closed off from any development.
Clearly, Obama’s drilling proposal needs to be reconsidered. If in fact he hopes to implement a policy that will be beneficial to our domestic economy, and that will not impose yet another financial burden on American taxpayers, then the proposal for drilling and exploration must be expanded to include far more areas.
Thomas J. Pyle, president of the Institute for Energy Research, issued the following comments on Obama’s drilling proposal:
America’s offshore energy resources belong to the American people. Not a company, not a special interest, and not a single administration. And a clear majority of the American people supports the commonsense strategy of producing more oil and gas here in America. Unfortunately, today, and to our economic detriment, the President once again ignored the will of the American people.
Pyle then proceeded to say:
Canada drills for oil in the North Atlantic. Cuba, Brazil, and Venezuela produce energy in the water to our South. The Russians do the same to our West. Yet, America, the most technologically advanced nation in the world, with the most stringent environmental policies on the books, remains the only nation that imposes burdensome regulations and endless streams of red tape on domestic production. Americans want to stop embargoing our own oil. The president’s plan expands that existing embargo, and Americans will pay the price.
President Obama’s drilling proposal falls short of what would be best for American energy consumers. His approach circumvents any major commitment to actually working to diminish the U.S.’s dependence on foreign oil imports. Instead, it creates a very temporary solution to a very sizeable issue. Although Obama’s drilling announcement was meant to appeal to frustrated conservatives, let’s not forget that this is the same man who still supports a cap and trade climate bill, which would cap greenhouse gas emission levels and therefore limit production, employment, and increase energy costs for producers and consumers. Properly understood, this drilling announcement is nothing more than a political marketing ploy, the benefits of which will pale significantly relative to the burden of the administration’s more ambitious efforts to cap carbon dioxide emissions.