President Obama on Oil and Gas
With gasoline prices double what they were when President Obama took office, he has started preaching on the campaign trail that his is an “all-of-the-above” energy strategy.
The President says that he is vigorously pursuing all domestic energy options and that his policies have already raised oil production even more than President George W. Bush did.
Is this true?
Two Energy Orders in One Day
On April 13th, 2012 the President issued an executive order on domestic energy. In support of that order, on the same day, the EPA issued an even more revealing order.
The Presidential executive order forms a high level collaboration among 13 agencies to determine natural gas energy policy.
The EPA edict, however, forms a “Multi-Agency Collaboration on Unconventional Oil and Gas Research“.
The more important EPA order creates a three agency group to assemble the scientific data that will be used as input by the high level 13-agency collaboration for determining energy policy direction.
It all has to do with fracking!!
The term “fracking”, though, is not used in either order.
The word “unconventional”, “tight oil” and “shale gas” are politico talk used to mean fracking. Fracking is how “unconventional” natural gas and tight/shale resources are extracted from the ground.
Differences Between the Two Orders
Both orders involve investigating the same new fracking extraction practice used for both oil and natural gas production.
There is a very, very subtle yet important difference between the Presidential executive order and the EPA investigation:
- The executive order covers “the safe and responsible development of unconventional domestic natural gas resources”.
- The EPA investigation covers “safely and prudently developing unconventional shale gas and tight oil resources”.
One includes oil production, the other does not.
The EPA says:
The goal of this program will focus on timely, policy relevant science directed to research topics where collaboration among the three Agencies can be most effectively and efficiently conducted to provide results and technologies that support sound policy decisions
The EPA is investigating both natural gas and “tight oil” extraction. The executive order only calls for setting energy policy for natural gas fracking alone. It doesn’t include oil production.
That is NOT an oversight.
Nor is it an accident that the executive order does not even mention President Obama’s framework document for setting energy policy, “Blueprint for a Secure Energy Future“.
The Blueprint and the EPA
In its order the EPA specifically indicates it is strictly following Obama energy policy spelled out in the the 2011 Blueprint which EPA calls:
A comprehensive plan to reduce America’s oil dependence, save consumers money, and make our country the leader in clean energy industries.
Note it says “reduce America’s oil dependence”… NOT “reduce America’s FOREIGN oil dependence”.
Whats in the EPA Order?
The three agency collaboration consists of the:
- Department of Energy (DOE)
- Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)
- United States Geological Survey (USGS)
The collaboration is to:
Identify research priorities and collaborate to sponsor research that improves our understanding of the impacts of developing our Nation’s unconventional oil and gas resources and ensure the safe and prudent development of these resources.
Safe and Prudent Development
In the wake of the Deepwater Horizon oil spill, safe and responsible development of all energy resources is paramount on everyone’s mind. No one wants another ecological disaster.
The two orders and the blueprint cover that base backwards, forwards and inside out.
There are safety concerns with fracking and it can and should be investigated fully.
The Economy and the Cost of Energy
Equally paramount on everyone’s mind is the short-term and longer-term price of a gallon of gasoline when they fill up their cars today and 20 years from now.
The cost of energy is the lifeblood of a vibrant and growing economy. High energy costs are the cruelest way to rob demand from an economy and drive it into recession or worse.
No matter what the United States does to develop green energy technologies, fracking is the future of U.S. domestic energy production for the next 50 years. It fits EIA projections.
It is clearly spelled out in the blueprint that it is official administration policy to prematurely cut petroleum out of the U.S. energy future and replace it with alternative energy sources.
Oil and natural gas production is at their 8 year highs and on the rise because fracking is being used to extract them from private and state lands in increased amounts. Thanks to fracking, we will be able to continue to do so for decades to come.
The Obama administration not only isn’t responsible for the increase in energy production over the last 8 years, but oil and natural gas production on public lands, which the President does control, has declined over the last 8 years.
Natural gas production is getting attention through the orders because it is clean and it is 25% of all energy usage in the United States. The writing is on the wall. Natural gas is with us to stay for a very long time to come.
However, the Obama Administration isn’t even attempting to set an energy policy for U.S. oil and gasoline production. None whatsoever.
President Obama’s energy policy for reducing our nation’s dependence on foreign oil is by reducing our dependence of oil, period… no matter what it costs consumers.