Thursday, October 18, 2012

I Was Against the Oil Before I Was For It

For me, the most exasperating moment in Tuesday’s debate came when President Obama was asked about gasoline prices. As is his fashion, he didn’t directly answer the question, but rambled on and actually sought to claim credit for the recent oil/gas boom in the United States. The gall! The temerity! How could the leader who lectured us how we would no longer be able to set our thermostats where we wanted and had endlessly promoted the need for the government to subsidize “green” energy and jobs suddenly act as if he’s been favor of taking full advantage of the country’s fossil fuel resources all along? How could anyone buy this line of malarkey? I was literally screaming queries such as these and others at the television screen as I watched the debate from my hotel room in Houston.

Not only were the President’s claims to be a big fan of oil and gas ridiculous on the surface, the facts he supplied to support them are also highly suspect. From a WSJ editorial called Energy in the Executive:

The problem for the President is that a government outfit called the U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA) compiles these statistics. That's where Mr. Romney got his accurate figures on oil and gas production on government land and permitting in Mr. Obama's first term. The EIA also reports that total fossil fuel production in public areas—oil, gas and coal—has plunged to a nine-year low, to 18.6 quadrillion BTUs from 21.2 quadrillion in 2003.

Mr. Obama is correct that overall domestic energy production is up, thanks largely to the shale boom in states like Pennsylvania and North Dakota. But he's trying to take credit for something he had nothing to do with, given that this surge is taking place on private property and the EPA is searching for an excuse to supplant state regulation and slow down drilling. Wait for the second term.

No thanks, I’d prefer not to even consider that possibility.