Oil spill politics
John Hofmeister has an insider’s view on our nation’s energy travails. In his book “Why We Hate the Oil Companies,” recently released by Palgrave Macmillan, the former president of Shell Oil lays out his concerns. He dresses down energy companies for actions that have ensured a negative public image – so negative that any steps they take to find new energy sources or make energy cleaner or more efficient are met by skepticism. He also chastises the government for years of failed policymaking. Here, Hofmeister, now board chairman of the National Urban League and founder of the non-profit Citizens for Affordable Energy, assesses the politics of the Gulf oil spill.
By John Hofmeister
By rewarding blue state anti-drilling activists with the deepwater drilling moratorium in reaction to his powerlessness over the Gulf oil spill five weeks into the tragic event, President Obama deepened the alienation of red state drilling enthusiasts. He also incentivized an antagonistic industry to undermine his leadership by appealing to the courts and eventually the people. The courts know when an action is “arbitrary and capricious” and have so ruled.
Millions of Americans who every day will buy much higher priced gas in 2012 will hear the oil industry lament its loss of domestic access and production. They will be reminded in an election year what the president did to drive up the price of gas.
The facts, which the oil companies know far better than politicians, are on the side of the drilling enthusiasts. Every morning as President Obama awakes to his duties, one of them is to see to it that America has the 20 million barrels of oil it needs to get through the day.
Like it or not, we burn through 10,000 gallons of oil per second in this country and nothing will change that during the president’s first and – because of likely high gas prices -- only term. By choosing politics over energy production the president has planted the seeds of his administration’s demise.
Americans will not tolerate high gas prices knowing that the United States has more oil and gas natural resources (conventional and unconventional) than the Middle East, but are not allowed to produce them because of government prohibitions.
He’s the eighth consecutive president to promise energy independence and will join his seven predecessors in a frustrating failure.
He’s seeking a flawed solution in an election year to promote the impressions of strength and decisiveness. But his bravado will lose out to energy realities. The nation’s thirst for oil at reasonable prices will always win, unless and until this nation manages its energy future differently.
Politics and energy are like oil and water. They don’t mix and never will. Oil demand outlasts politicians’ histrionics.
To secure a second term and get serious about energy independence, the president should propose the creation of an independent regulatory agency to govern the nation’s future energy solutions. Get energy policy out of the Congress and the White House. Both are committed to partisanship, elections, and energy tactics that don’t make a wit’s difference.
Only a Fed-like creation, a Federal Energy Resources Board, constituted by law and governed by a board independent governors serving 14-year terms who know what they are doing, can decide the means by which we have more energy from all sources. They will guide us toward efficient technologies, environmental protections and the necessary infrastructure. An energy resources board can manage an industry that politicians can’t and enable it to deliver energy that’s affordable, available and sustainable.
Steven E. Levingston
August 16, 2010; 5:30 AM ET
Categories: Guest Blogger | Tags: gulf oil spill; obama reaction to spill; offshore drilling;
Save & Share: Previous: BOOK WORLD - August 15, 2010
Next: Blair's book profit donation called "blood money"
Posted by: fnhaggerty | August 16, 2010 8:05 AM | Report abuse
Posted by: Byrd3 | August 16, 2010 9:44 AM | Report abuse
Posted by: right_as_rain | August 16, 2010 10:15 AM | Report abuse