October 17 2012

Obama & Romney Spar over Energy

Emily Wismer

 

If you watched the debates last night, you probably were as confused as the rest of America as to what either candidate’s energy policy is or will be.

Why was it so confusing? National Journal explains:

They sparred over whether President Obama’s policies have increased domestic-energy production or slowed it down. It’s hard to answer that question right now because the most up-to-date information on production numbers actually reflects regulatory and policy action taken several years ago, dating possibly back to the George W. Bush administration or even earlier. A lag always exists between actual regulatory action and companies’ ability to drill or mine for a particular fossil fuel… President Obama said oil production is at its highest level in 16 years, natural-gas production is at the highest it’s been in decades and that coal production is up as well.

According to National Journal, The President’s claims are only half true:

Oil production on public lands is up 12 percent from 2008 to 2011, according to a March report by the Energy Information Administration. A discrepancy exists here between offshore and onshore federal lands. There was a dip in production in the Gulf of Mexico in 2011 because of the BP oil spill, but oil production on public lands has steadily increased since 2008.

Natural-gas production on public lands is down 16.5 percent between 2008 and 2011, according to the same EIA report. Natural-gas production on private lands has steadily increased from 2005 to 2011, largely because of massive shale gas resources found on private lands in states such as Pennsylvania and West Virginia.

Coal production on public lands is down 7.8 percent from 2008 to 2011.

Here’s one thing we know for sure.  The President may try to take credit for increasing energy production, but it’s safe to say that the policies he is advancing today are designed to make fossil fuels more expensive, and are already raising electricity costs for families. The President's promise to bankrupt coal is marching forward as coal plants are closing rapidly, in part due to regulation, and Americans are paying more for electricity as a result.

The President also continues to sit on domestic oil production, which certainly isn’t going to ease the pain Americans feel today at the pump and will feel years from now.  The administration continues to boast about throw millions of taxpayer dollars into clean energy companies and imply that our energy needs can all be met with sun and wind.  Good luck with that.  We see time and again that many of the President’s bets go bad, as these “promising” companies shut down, go bankrupt, or have huge layoffs, in spite taxpayers’ investments.

Energy policy rarely makes headlines, especially when there is so much to choose from in a presidential debate.  Yet this is one worth paying attention since the next Administration’s energy policy will have huge ramification for the economy for years to come.

 

 

 

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