Monthly Archives: March 2011
After two years of practicing unrepentant contempt for science, jobs, law and truth, why should Interior Secretary Ken Salazar’s words mean anything anymore? While President Obama promotes offshore drilling overseas thousands of miles away in Brazil, Salazar now promises to revitalize America’s oil and gas industry. It’s like Jack “Dr. Death” Kevorkian promoting himself as a lifesaving CPR specialist.
This week, Salazar announced that the administration has just approved the first deepwater oil and gas exploration plan since last spring’s BP/Deepwater Horizon oil spill. Mind you: This is not a granting of permits, but a green light for Shell Offshore to seek drilling permits for three new exploratory wells off the Louisiana coast. Shell first submitted and received approval for its original exploration plan in 1985 — 26 red tape-wrapped years ago.
Salazar’s make-believe resurrection of American offshore and onshore drilling began a few weeks ago, when the Interior Department Bureau of Ocean Energy Management, Regulation and Enforcement issued a deepwater drilling permit to Noble Energy for a well at the Santiago project about 70 miles off the Louisiana coast. But as Louisiana political analyst and blogger Scott McKay pointed out, “This isn’t a permit for a new project. The permit issued to Noble was for a bypass of an obstruction in a well they’d already drilled before the Deepwater Horizon accident. It took 314 days to get that well back online with this administration.”
Nevertheless, Obama oil czar Michael Bromwich claimed credit for the decision and insisted the project be treated as a new well. So this is how Democrats win the future: crushing industries with one hand while patting themselves on the back for saving them.
The measly Noble Energy permit approval came months after the Obama administration purportedly “lifted” its junk science-based drilling moratorium — and only after federal courts repeatedly spanked Salazar and the White House for their “determined disregard” of judicial orders and “increasingly inexcusable” action on stalled deepwater drilling projects.
More than a month ago, U.S. District Judge Martin Feldman ordered the Obama administration to decide within a month whether to grant a set of five permits for deepwater drilling projects in the Gulf of Mexico. Feldman wrote that the foot-dragging administration’s “time delays at issue here are unreasonable” and told the feds to act in an “expeditious” manner to “restore normalcy to the Gulf region and repair the public’s faith in the administrative process.”
The Obama administration’s response? Last week, just under the wire on the judicial time limit, the White House won a stay from the 5th Circuit Court of Appeals. Delay, baby, delay.
Unsurprisingly, the man who misled the public about scientists’ support for his overreaching moratorium now faces more charges of data doctoring. Louisiana GOP Sen. David Vitter called out Salazar and Bromwich for publicly low-balling drilling application figures. While the pair informed Congress that the administration has received fewer than 50 shallow water permits and that only six to seven deepwater permits are pending, the Obama Justice Department asserted in legal filings that “there are 270 shallow water permit applications pending, and 52 deepwater permit applications pending.” Which is it?
Jim Adams, president and CEO of the Offshore Marine Service Association (OMSA), further skewered Salazar’s book-cooking on the permit-orium: “There were 32 deepwater drilling operations already permitted when the president imposed his moratorium last year. Interior Secretary Salazar is merely allowing existing permit holders to resume their operations.”
OMSA reports that there are more than 100 deepwater development plans that have yet to be cleared to even become eligible for a permit. Salazar is “treating Gulf workers like peasants, tossing us work crumb by crumb and expecting us to be grateful,” Adams said. “We’re tired of fighting for scraps. We want to get back to work — all of us, not just a handful of crews.”
At least 13,000 jobs have been lost, according to Louisiana State University professor Joseph Mason’s latest estimates. Isn’t it high past time to send Salazar and his misery-inducing eco-radicals packing? How about exporting them to Brazil?
If Chávez loses access to his oil money the way Qadaffi did he will have an impossible task in the 2012 election and may have to resort to military rule, which would put him in the same place as Qadaffi is in today
To prevent a civilian bloodbath in Libya, the United Nations is imposing economic sanctions, a no-fly zone, and direct attacks on Qadaffi’s military. Member states from Africa and the Arab world have joined the UN coalition including Europe and the US. While a few countries abstained the rest of UN Security Council was unanimous on stopping Qadaffi, who is seen worldwide as a war criminal. All this is bad news for Chávez, not only because he has praised Qadaffi to the rafters as a paragon of human rights -a truly surreal assertion- but also because of what this means about Chávez and Iran.
Iran is also being sanctioned for nuclear proliferation activities and Venezuela is disregarding those sanctions by delivering oil and allegedly nuclear weapons materials such as uranium or hidden cash to pay for these illegal items. Iran says it is building a harmless nuclear power plant but UN inspectors believe differently -it’s the Iraq case with Saddam Hussein all over again. Chávez is a staunch defender of Iran who sticks his finger in the eye of the US at every opportunity on this issue. But with peaceful nuclear power plants creating havoc in Japan after the earthquake and tsunami, plus the UN acting tough for the first time in decades on a war criminal, Chávez is finding virtually no world support for his pro-Iran, pro-Qadaffi, pro-war position. The US Congress, Treasury Department and State Department are taking a second look at Chávez as a state sponsor of terror and violator of sanctions.
The penalty for sanctions violations could radically reduce income of Citgo and Pdvsa, the only cash cows Venezuela owns, and both of which have already been looted of money and knowledge by the Chávez government. If Chávez loses access to his oil money the way Qadaffi did he will have an impossible task in the 2012 election and may have to resort to military rule, which would put him in the same place as Qadaffi is in today. You’d think that someone who had a trillion dollars pass thru his hands since 1999 and who gave 100 million dollars to buy influence around the world would be less isolated than that.
( Original Article )
By Larry J. Richardson
For U.S. energy security, the best antidote to curtailed oil production in North Africa and the Middle East lies in North America. We have billions of barrels of oil beneath the ground and in deep water off the U.S. coast and in the vast Athabasca oil-sands formations in Canada.
It would be hard to overestimate the importance of oil resources in this part of the world, especially the potential for increased imports from our friendly neighbor to the north, what with the conflict in Libya threatening to spread to other oil- producing countries from the Mediterranean to the Persian Gulf.
The fact is that the Middle East holds 57 percent of the world’s total oil reserves and 30 percent of global oil production. The United States relies on oil imports for almost two-thirds of its needs, but just 20 percent of the imports come from the Middle East. Nonetheless, because oil is a world commodity, Americans are not immune to shortages or soaring prices.
What is clear is that we urgently need an energy policy to protect us against the possibility that Middle East imports might be curtailed. Until the time comes when the U.S. auto fleet is fueled by electric batteries and homes are heated with geothermal and solar energy, we are going to need oil. If we don’t produce it in the United States, more oil will need to be imported from abroad.
Yet the Obama administration has forbidden drilling in new offshore areas and hasn’t done enough to expedite the issuance of permits for oil production on land. An estimated 116 billion barrels of oil underlie federal areas, on land and offshore. Keeping the oil in the ground is not doing us any good.
Nor is it clear why the U.S. State Department has yet to approve plans for a major pipeline that would carry Canadian oil to refineries in Texas, where it would be turned into petroleum products like gasoline and diesel for use around the United States. You can be sure that if we don’t make use of Canadian oil, China and other Asian countries will.
Without Canadian oil, we would be even more dependent on the Middle East. In fact, Canada is currently our No. 1 source of imported oil, supplying 2.5 million barrels daily. But with the planned Keystone XL pipeline, Canada’s oil shipments to the United States are projected to double by 2020, reaching 5 million barrels a day, 40 percent of U.S. imports.
Canada is home to the Athabasca oil sands in northern Alberta. They hold an estimated 1.7 trillion barrels of oil, more than double Saudi Arabia’s oil reserves, of which 173 billion barrels can be produced with existing technology. Today, crude oil made from oil sands accounts for half of the oil we import from Canada.
So why do we tie ourselves in knots when we have an opportunity to import more Canadian oil to meet our needs? And why pretend we don’t need oil off the Atlantic Coast and in the eastern Gulf of Mexico? Or that we can do without oil in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge?
Anyone who questions oil’s position in the global economy, and why it is still the single most important source of energy, should keep in mind that the U.S. Department of Energy and the International Energy Agency estimate that global energy use will increase about 50 percent by 2030 — with oil still providing 30 percent or more of the energy in the United States and the world.
We’re doing the best we can in Kansas to find more reserves, but we need all the help we can get to mitigate what is becoming a national problem.
Larry J. Richardson of Derby is a petroleum geologist.
( Original Article )
This letter is in response to Jeff Tittel’s column attacking the tea party for wanting limited government.
The writer needs to learn some American history. Nullifi-cation wasn’t a construct for slavery. But the idea originated from Kentucky and Virginia resolutions, which were first resurrected to be used against the Alien and Sedition Acts and later the War of 1812, in which New England states opposed that war because of their trading commercial interests with England, not to mention using state nullification before the Civil War against enforcement of the fugitive slave laws before they were ruled unconstitutional. States were sovereign entities that chose to form the union, and as such, had their own interests to protect and did so by writing protections into the Constitution. For example, the writer seems to ignore the 10th Amendment to the Constitution that limits federal power. If his concept of an all-powerful federal government is unchallenged, then states are little more than polite fictions with little power or meaning. While it’s true that Southern states later latched onto nullification to justify slavery, there were other reasons for the Civil War, not the least of which was the fight over taxes; import tariffs were the main source of federal revenue. States in the South disproportionately paid those import tariffs, while Northern states benefited since their industries were protected from foreign competition by those high tariffs. Had the South managed to secede, then low-tariff goods would have directly competed across the long frontier and hurt the North’s economy, thus giving meaning to the Civil War saying “A rich man’s war but a poor man’s fight.” I would note that it was the Democratic Party that led the Confederate states out of the union. And while Tittel appears to identify with New Jersey native Union Gen. George McClellan, the failed general fired by President Abraham Lincoln, had McClellan defeated Lincoln for the presidency, perhaps he would have made a negotiated peace with the Confederacy and allowed them to go their own way, with their slaves. Does that make Tittel a Southern sympathizer for admiring McClellan? Further, it was the Republican Party that passed the post-Civil War constitutional amendments that became the basis for the appeals for the 1960s civil right victories. It was the Democratic Party that created the Jim Crow laws in the reconstruction South. It was Democratic President Woodrow Wilson who re-segregated the federal government and had the KKK up to the White House in full hooded regalia for coffee and tea. It was Democratic President Harry Truman who desegregated the military. It was Republican President Dwight Eisenhower who sent in the National Guard to Little Rock schools. Southern Democratic senators led the filibusters against the 1960s civil rights laws.
But more to the point, the writer and his associates are little more than apologists for unlimited expansion of federal government power, as long as that power is used as he wants it to be used. President Barack Obama and his administration are refusing to grant any drilling permits in the Gulf of Mexico, so all those good, high-paying jobs and oil-drilling platforms are leaving America, not to return any time soon. Do remember the Sierra Club as you are paying $4, $5 or more per gallon of gas. But the environmentalist outrage doesn’t end there. Consider that California denied the ability to build solar panel farms in the desert. Worse yet are the recent water restrictions in California, denying water to farmers, which has turned some of the most productive farmland in the world into a modern-day Depression era dust bowl and family farm businesses built over generations, with all those jobs, just dried up and blew away, gone with the wind.
The tea party is for limited government because as Ronald Reagan once noted “… A government that can give you everything you want, can also take it all way.”
A mindless political class in thrall of the extremist environmental movement may offer to protect you from a little pollution today, while you starve from unemployment. May God spare us from the self-righteous elites who would direct every aspect of our lives for our own good.
( Original Article )
WASHINGTON (MCT) – Members of a presidential commission charged with investigating the Gulf of Mexico oil spill used a hearing on the hill Wednesday to make recommendations for regulating oil drilling in the far different but equally challenging environment off the coast of Alaska.
“The Arctic poses a different set of risks. It’s shallow water, but has its own threats of terrible fog, very severe hurricane-type forces, darkness over much of the year, ice … those are all going to need special attention,” William Reilly, co-chair of the commission, said.
Reilly told the Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works that the commission recommended against a moratorium on Arctic drilling, but added that it was one of the most divisive issues the panel considered.
In their written statement, Reilly and his co-chairman, Bob Graham, a former Democratic senator from Florida, offered several suggestions to avoid a new disaster.
Spill-response plans that are practical, both financially and technologically, need to be developed, they said. Companies already are required to develop response plans before they can get drilling permits, but Graham said that in the case of the Deepwater Horizon spill, BP offered a response plan that it was not capable of carrying out — a problem he said was common in the industry at the time.
“Few, if any, of the response plans, particularly for deepwater drilling, were effective in addressing the issues that would be faced or credible in the statement of the resources available to carry out containment and response,” Graham said.
In the case of Alaska, the commission also recommended that in future incidents the Alaskan Coast Guard and Arctic-based oil companies divide up responsibilities for tasks such as search and rescue. Congress should provide additional resources to the Coast Guard based on a report detailing gaps in capabilities, the commission said.
In addition, because a spill in the Arctic could affect several surrounding countries, the co-chairs proposed that “strong international standards related to Arctic oil and gas activities be established among all the countries of the Arctic.”
In turn, Graham said, the record of Alaska’s drilling industry offers lessons and examples for drilling in other areas.
“We feel that there is a model that has a lot of history and value in terms of answering the question of how to organize, and that model is Alaska,” Graham said.
He said things that Alaska has done well are balancing state and federal interests, utilizing citizens groups to assess local environmental and economic impact of accidents, and developing response plans that are long term, spanning over decades rather than just years.
( Original Article )