The People of America's Oil and Natural Gas Indusry

A Bipolar Energy Policy

Jane Van Ryan

Jane Van Ryan
Posted March 18, 2010

Are you perplexed by the administration's energy policy? You're not alone. Many observers have noticed a disconnect between the administration's various energy proposals.

As William F. Shughart II points out in an op-ed titled, "The President's Bipolar Energy Policy," the administration included federal guarantees in the proposed 2011 budget for new nuclear power plants, but also it proposes to eliminate funding for the nuclear waste repository at Yucca Mountain.

Likewise, Shughart says the administration is sending mixed signals on oil and natural gas:

"...for all its talk about energy independence and jobs, the Obama Administration has continued to push drilling initiatives aside. Rather than lease offshore areas in the Atlantic, Pacific and eastern Gulf of Mexico, or in the Inter-Mountain West and Alaska, it calls for yet another round of environmental studies...The Destin Dome, for example, 25 miles off the coast of Pensacola, Florida, could produce up to 165 billion cubic feet of natural gas annually for the next 20 years, according to estimates filed with the Interior Department. But Interior Secretary Ken Salazar has blocked plans to lease new offshore areas for exploration and drilling."

Shughart notes that the oil and natural gas industry supports more than 9 million U.S. jobs and could create more. He adds that it also could help the administration meet its low-carbon energy goals by allowing production of more clean-burning natural gas.

It's "time to stop an energy policy working at cross-purposes with economic policy," Shughart suggests. As he puts it, the administration should expand oil and natural gas development to create jobs, generate billions of dollars in revenues for government coffers, and increase supplies of U.S. natural gas.

Shughart's Op-Ed has been published in the Clarion-Ledger, Hartford Business Journal and is posted online at The Independent Institute.

Hat tip to The Bear at The Absurd Report!