Energy: The White House billed President Obama’s energy policy speech as a response to mounting criticism of record high gas prices. What he delivered was a grab bag of excuses and outright falsehoods.
Obama’s main message to struggling motorists was: It’s not my fault, so stop whining. The speech only got worse from there, recycling excuses and myths that Obama’s peddled for years. But there were some standout whoppers that deserve debunking. The five biggest:
“We’re focused on production.”
Fact: While production is up under Obama, this has nothing to do with his policies, but is the result of permits and private industry efforts that began long before Obama occupied the White House.
Obama has chosen almost always to limit production. He canceled leases on federal lands in Utah, suspended them in Montana, delayed them in Colorado and Utah, and canceled lease sales off the Virginia coast.
His administration also has been slow-walking permits in the Gulf of Mexico, approving far fewer while stretching out review times, according to the Greater New Orleans Gulf Permit Index. The Energy Dept. says Gulf oil output will be down 17% by the end of 2013, compared with the start of 2011. Swift Energy President Bruce Vincent is right to say Obama has “done nothing but restrict access and delay permitting.”
“The U.S. consumes more than a fifth of the world’s oil. But we only have 2% of the world’s oil reserves.”
Fact: Obama constantly refers to this statistic to buttress his claim that “we can’t drill our way to lower gas prices.” The argument goes that since the U.S. supply is limited, it won’t ever make a difference to world prices.