What is Obama’s Energy Policy?

(Note: This is 1st in a series of articles about Obama energy policy related to Executive Order #13604 released on 4/13/2012.
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On the campaign trail lately President Obama has touted that under his Administration’s direction domestic oil and gas production has been dramatically increased.

The President has pushed this notion to counter criticism of his anti-oil energy policies in favor of far more expensive climate saving green energy solutions.

"Energy Czar" Heather Zichal

The higher gas prices have risen, the harder the President has pushed the notion he is pro-fossil, too.

So which is it?

Is it that the President’s policy is to expand ALL U.S. energy options, as he claims, or is his Administration’s policy to scuttle domestic oil and gas development to save the planet from global warming through green energy?

Intertwined within this little story is a subplot of Obama criticism over his seemingly endless list of youthful, unqualified White House “czars” who actually define Administration policy.

One such White House adviser is Heather Zichal. She is President Obama’s de facto “Energy Czar”.

Through her we gain deep insight into President Obama’s real energy policy.

Heather Zichal: Chief White House Energy Adviser

Zichal’s official WH job title is “Deputy Assistant to the President for Energy and Climate Change“.

She became de facto “Energy Czar” when the original czar, Carol Browner, resigned in early 2011.

Zichal is chairperson in a VERY IMPORTANT executive order signed by President Obama just YESTERDAY.

That executive order will be fully examined in greater detail in upcoming articles.

Energy Policy Indicators

Note that Zichal’s duties cover “energy” AND “climate change”. President Obama combined both issues.

That is the first clue.

The definitive answer as to President Obama’s true energy policy, though, comes from his hand-picked top energy adviser’s background and experience.

What are Zichal’s Qualifications as Energy Adviser?

Before joining the Obama Administration in 2009 she had no real experience. Zero. Zip. Nada!

Zichal graduated Rutgers in 1999 where she joined the Sierra Club and studied “environmental policy”.

Before becoming a White House assistant Zichal worked on one successful election campaign and one unsuccessful one. As a college student, she helped elect U.S. Representative Rush Holt (D-NJ) in 1998. The other campaign was Senator John Kerry’s unsuccessful presidential bid in 2004.

Holt hired her as a legislative assistant for energy policy when he went to Washington DC in 1999.

According to Wikipedia, Zichal served in that capacity for Holt and others to “reduce the country’s dependence on oil for energy” and “address climate change”. She was a Kerry adviser on energy policy in his 2004 campaign.

Zichal was selected by President Obama for his transition team in 2008.

Today, 37 year old Heather Zichal is President Obama’s top White House adviser on energy policy. She IS the “Energy Czar”.

Her views on domestic oil production and climate change are clearly outlined in this and many other White House policy statements she’s written:
Combating Climate Change at Home and Around the World
– Heather Zichal, White House Energy Adviser, 11/25/2009


There are plenty of energy policy initiatives started under President Obama that prove he is pursuing a strict green energy agenda in order to save the planet from global climate change. Describing them is beyond the scope of this article.

This article only covers the intent of Obama’s energy policy, not the specific policies themselves.

President Obama’s top White House energy adviser, Heather Zichal, was specifically hired to reduce this nation’s “dependence on oil for energy” and “address climate change”.

President Obama’s true energy policy is as clear as a cloudless Colorado sky in Winter.

Zichal is yet another disturbing example of the many youthful unqualified or under-qualified individuals picked by the President to fill critically important advisory positions.

In the pragmatic world of U.S. energy policy and gas prices it appears President Obama has chosen, instead, to pursue saving the planet from global warming.


About azleader

Learning to see life more clearly... one image at a time!

Posted on Apr 14, 2012, in Barack Obama, climate change, culture, economics, energy policy, Global Warming, Life, news, Opinion, Politics. Bookmark the permalink. 13 Comments.

  1. Obama takes a lot of heat for his energy policy. I think that it is primarily because gas prices are really high. However, for the most part his energy policy is very similar to GW Bush’s. Although, Obama invested more in renewable and limited off shore (post BP spill). The US’s oil production increased 11+% from 2008-2010. This is largely an effect of Bush’s policies so he deserves credit there, but Obama deserves credit for not changing those policies. Also, gas prices are high due to international demand and speculation by investors, things that are mostly beyond the control of the President. The US refines more gasoline than we need….substantionally more. In 2012 gasoline was the US’s biggest export. So Obama’s policies have indeed been an all of the above (except nuclear). I understand people’s frustration with gas prices. The surest way to solve the problem is through renewable energy, which will have the added benefit of being environmentally friendly. Also, since energy production and use are directly related to environmental issues, it is perfectly appropriate that the energy czar’s job description includes ” energy AND climate change.” I’ll be looking forward to you post on Obama’s executive order. Keep em coming. What I’d really like to know is: why is it necessary to have an energy czar when we already have a Sec. Of Energy and an energy department?

    • This is just a starter background article on a series I’ve begun as an investigation of Friday’s low-key Presidential executive order announced by the EPA.

      That announcement has not got much news coverage yet but will DEFINE the future of U.S. domestic energy policy and that is a big issue in this election cycle.

      It should not be ignored and I won’t ignore it.

      “We the People” deserve to know if our government is working toward our good or not.

      You are correct that we need to be hyper-concerned about the environmental impact of energy policy. Reducing the amount of environmental damage done by human activity has become a necessary function of government.

      I also believe you are in error that Obama is working an “all of the above” approach as he claims on the campaign trail. I believe my investigation will blow that campaign rhetoric out of the water. There are eye-opener discoveries out there.

      I’m just getting warmed up on Obama’s energy policy.

  2. I agree with A. Herkenhoff. Obama’s energy policies have been a step in the right direction, these companies will not change without incentive, these policies will produce gas-efficient cars as an interim solution to our ever-increasing demand. Government should only be there to guide us as a society into the future. Though I do not agree with everything Obama has done, I honestly agree with most of it.

    We have increased oil production and exports, and that is also key to solving economic woes. I also do not see his policies as job killing, more job creating, if you will? It will take more workers to produce something as safe as it is required to be to protect our environment, as well as more regulations on proposed projects.

    Also a selection of someone in policy, is probably a much more proper solution to being the “energy czar” as the alternatives involve bias geared to either energy, or environment alone, a policy adviser however, is involved with that alone, policy to be as reasonable as possible with new impositions on these corporations.

    The direction we’re heading in, until ultimately proven otherwise, shale oil procurement, even though it has caused earthquakes, has had no catastrophic consequences as of yet (emphasis on yet). It however still needs to be affirmed through and by science as to its effect on ground water as well as its potential risks to the environment and therefore citizens.

    • I’m on-board the train with you on these major points:
      1-Long term, Obama’s energy policies are pointed in the right direction
      2-Energy and auto companies need government oversight and will change only as economics or government policy commands them to change
      3-Green energy technologies will create more jobs
      4-Environmental protection is a necessary function of government

      Where the train derails is Obama’s overemphasis on green energy technologies to the exclusion of traditional oil and gas solutions that can tide us over until green technologies are matured and become economically feasible.

      As it stands right now Obama’s policies will lead to substantially higher energy costs in the short term and that will not only kill jobs, but kill the economy as well.

      More articles in this series I’ve just started on Obama energy policy will better explain how Obama derails the train.

  3. I do not believe that any amount of investment in green technologies and research is a waste, and will lead to short-term raises in energy prices, that is along the lines of saying that: With too much investment in cancer research, now chemotherapy is going to become more costley…what? lol

    With traditional oil and gas solutions to tide us over, we are less dependent on foreign ioil now, than anytime in the last decade. Oil rigs have increased steadily, and fracking is still an emerging technology, and despite all the “government regulations are killing business” rhetoric, US oil production is still increasing, regardless. As we move onto less dependency, The Arab Spring is going to have less of an impact on the price of oil.

    But I will try to stay tuned to your interpretation of the Obama Energy Policy, though I actually expect you to find something negative to say about it, it’s not like every solution to our energy problems is going to be all peaches and cream, it’s a cost-benefit analysis that I would be more focused toward, as well as interested in.

    • I fully agree with you that investment in green techologies is both worthy and necessary. That is not my point.

      My point is that a timely, pragmatic approach is the way to go. Its essential to prevent damaging economic effects. Cost/benefit, as you say, is the key. But that is NOT Obama’s approach.

      More on that in later articles.

  4. Since Jimmy Carter, Democrat policy on energy has been to look elsewhere than oil or natural gas. The Democrat party is totally Green at its core. The idiocy of that party is that for its agenda to work, it really needs high gasoline energy prices etc.,but to win politically it needs low gasoline prices. Hence a big dilemna that causes much policy poo to come forth. The party should just be honest with the American people: it wants high energy prices for fossil fuels to help push along and incent the green industries. But honesty is not in either party’s tool kit. I personally support a phased in high energy tax, that would replace the income or payroll tax. That way we get price signals on fossil fuels that include the externalities. I am waiting for truth to emerge out of either party, as under Cheney the focus was on big oil. Democrats = Green; Republican = Oil at their core essence. For Americans to win, rotating the two out of power might be a good thing. A form of check and balance.

  5. The purpose of the failed cap and trade bill was to raise the revenues needed to pay for green energy development through cabon taxes on CO2 violators… an idea promoted by the IPCC.

    I’ve never understood why it is necessary to make gas prices high to bring about a green energy revolution. Imho, market forces should be the driving force behind green energy development. If you have to artificially raise gas prices, then green energy’s time has not yet arrived.

    • Given all the subsidies to renewables, their time has not come, if you make them have to compete directly in the marketplace. But the marketplace, does not always factor in all the externalities. Right now fracking has driven the price of natural gas down to $2, but who knows once the EPA figures out the externalities to the method what will happen to the price of natural gas. So, in government policy, looks like we will always have subsidies. The pure economist in me agrees with you, but the practical economist realizes we live in a world driven by more than the theory.

      Also, Obama employs far too many czars, who are really young under 40 “policy entrepreneurs” with idealism, ambition, and zeal but, often without scientific or technical background. The term policy entrepreneur is not mine. Paul Krugman coined it in one of his writings. He says he loves academics for the pure research, but gets tired of the academic circuit and its nit natting over small, tiny obscure who-really-cares matters. When tired of the university, he jumps into government policy setting, but then he eventually gets overwhelmed and defeated by the policy entrepreneurs who are blind, technically, practically, and even lacking in maturity. So, he has bounced between being an academic and a policy entrepreneur himself. But, at least he has technical foundation. You do not need to like his politics to know he knows math, science, etc.

      I have come to loathe zealous policy entrepreneurs of either party when they get into power, because their blindness to fundamental economics, science or engineering ends up hurting the middle class, and they do so with such condescending attitude too.

      • The effect of the EPA has yet to play itself out. I’ll speak to that in later articles. (I hope)

        Heather Ziphal is a good example of a young “czar” in over her head. I just hope she doesn’t cause to much damage before she leaves.

        Krugman is a special case. On the one hand he is a genius of the first order of magnitude, yet on the other he is a blinded political ideologue. On any given day, you never know which he will be.

  6. Hello, just wanted to mention, I enjoyed this post.
    It was helpful. Keep on posting!

    • Thanks. This article is two years old. What was said them rings true today. Since then things have changed, yet still remain the same.

      Heather Zichal, another of many exceptionally unqualified Obama White House advisers that got in way over their heads, is gone now… burned out… just like all the others. Gone where is somewhat a mystery, but its reported that President Obama himself urged her to stay, offering her other positions within the Executive.

      Now I’m writing an investigative series on the EPA’s newly proposed Clean Power Plan.

      The Clean Power Plan is the stark realization of every fear expressed in this story.

  1. Pingback: Executive Order on Domestic Energy « Inform The Pundits!

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