Obama's games on drilling, being as restrictive as possible

From US News & World Report, Obama's impact on gulf oil drilling:

The president's yearlong de facto moratorium on deepwater exploration in the Gulf of Mexico has artificially tightened supply—by 375,000 barrels of oil a day, or, as the EIA forecasts, a 13 percent drop in offshore oil output from 2010 estimates.
The president's choice to prohibit deepwater drilling in the Gulf for a full year costs jobs. Tens of thousands of workers and their families are suffering because the administration's opaque energy policies have kept them from working. In Baton Rouge, the civilian unemployment rate jumped from 6.6 percent to 8.2 percent (from March 2010 to this past March). That 1.6 percent drop in employment was the worst for any U.S. city, followed closely by a 1.3 percent drop in New Orleans.
The president isn't opposed to drilling for oil, just not off U.S. shores. The president prefers that Americans enrich Brazil—both as a customer of its oil exports and as the beneficiary of our experts and innovative technologies leaving the Gulf of Mexico.
The president's position on domestic energy production will not put Americans back to work exploring for new sources of affordable, abundant energy, or ease our pain at the pump, or make us less reliant on oil imports.
The president could do something about this. He could direct his interior secretary, Ken Salazar, to expedite the release of previously approved permits and start issuing new deepwater permits to explore for domestic oil. But we know that he won't. [Read the U.S. News debate: Should offshore drilling be expanded?]

Now House passage of a bill to again allow drilling in the Gulf has forced Obama to move back from the ban that he has imposed. Previously a court had put some cracks in the ban and forced the Obama administration to allow some new permits to be issued (see also here).

President Barack Obama is looking to bolster U.S. oil drilling, announcing Saturday a preemptive strike against bolder efforts from Capitol Hill as consumer unrest deepens over the price at the pump.

The White House will move forward without congressional action on a set of ideas espoused by Republicans and oil-state Democrats to expand oil and gas drilling in the Gulf of Mexico, Alaska and potentially parts of the Atlantic seaboard.

It’s the closest Obama has come to rivaling his short-lived pro-drilling stance that ended with the BP oil spill.

At the same time, Obama is also firing up the liberal Democratic base by urging Congress to repeal billions of dollars in oil-industry tax incentives and to raise fees against companies that do not act quickly on drilling leases they own. . . .

But drilling is where the political problems lie for the White House. Republicans and oil-state Democrats have continued to criticize Obama and the Interior Department for what they say is a dramatic slowdown in new permits off and on shore. . . .



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