The People of America's Oil and Natural Gas Indusry

On Energy - Sitting Still

Jane Van Ryan

Jane Van Ryan
Posted April 1, 2011

Energy isn't easy. It isn't easy to produce the affordable, abundant, safe, and secure energy our nation needs today; and it certainly isn't easy to put the policies in place to ensure that we can continue that production in the future. However, there is one thing that is easy; telling everyone what they want to hear, while actually doing nothing. And a review of recent developments indicates that some politicians are trying to protect their jobs by adopting conflicting or incoherent positions that threaten the jobs of others:

  • The administration imposed a moratorium and a permitorium on offshore drilling, and then the president promoted Brazil's offshore drilling saying the United States wants to be Brazil's best oil customer.
  • Sen. Robert Menendez (D-N.J.) called offshore drilling a "non-starter" a year ago then last week lamented that more U.S. oil and natural gas isn't being produced.
  • After gasoline prices began to climb, the administration claimed that U.S. oil production is rising, while its own Energy Information Administration (EIA) reported that oil production from the Gulf is on the decline.

This political posturing hasn't gone unnoticed by prominent bloggers, many of whom are taking the administration to task:

  • Hot Air blogger Ed Morrissey calls the president's support for Brazilian drilling "arrogant," and warns that the administration's anti-domestic oil policies could force the American economy "into stagnation, which will mean a short political career for Obama."
  • Lew Waters of Right in a Left World writes, "We have the largest known reserves of energy sources in the world. Yet, this administration...[is] seeking a "Permanent Moratorium" on off shore drilling off of the Pacific Coast, severely limiting off shore drilling off of the Atlantic & Gulf Coast, all the while blaming the oil companies for the rising gas prices we see at the pump."
  • Geoff Styles of Energy Outlook is scratching his head over the president's recent statement on rising oil production. "...I can't help being surprised when the leader of an administration that has focused 90% of its energy efforts on [renewable] resources and technologies that account for about 5% of our energy consumption and treated oil and gas as a legacy of a previous, less enlightened era suddenly embraces rising oil output."
  • James Shott at Observations calls the administration's energy policies "bizarre." "Mr. Obama doesn't mind ramping up oil drilling, so long as it's not our oil, and he doesn't mind keeping oil workers on the unemployment line and hurting local economies, even when America is desperate for job creation...."

One has to wonder whether the administration is hoping to appear to be all things to all people - both for and against oil and natural gas, the two energy resources that together power more than 60 percent of the U.S. economy. But the United States isn't going to secure its future by sitting on the fence. Rather than trying to have it both ways, the administration should focus its efforts on the needs of the American people. Unemployment remains high and the facts show that this country will need oil and natural gas for decades to come. Increasing domestic energy production will create jobs, grow the economy and increase U.S. energy security. That's a no-brainer.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Jane Van Ryan was formerly senior communications manager and new media advisor at the American Petroleum Institute (API), where she wrote blog posts and produced podcasts and videos. Before coming to API, Jane managed communications for a large science and engineering corporation, and for a top-tier research and engineering university. A few years ago, you might have seen her in your living room when she delivered the news on television. Jane officially retired from API in 2011 and now freelances as an independent communications consultant when not gardening at her farm in Virginia.