Obama’s war on drilling is also a war on the poor


I saw something on the news the other day about New Yorkers lining up for their HEAP (heating assistance) payments. The federal funding is late, and the program is expected to run out of money early. It’s really cold. People are out of work and can’t pay their heating bills. Here in the LC household our heating bill was 10% higher last month than it was at the same time last year, even though we had insulation blown into our attic and replaced a handful of windows.

President Obama is making it all worse. He’s raising our energy prices and killing jobs during a jobless recovery. Somebody needs to alert the media. Oh wait, they’re on board.

The oil industry, its lobbyists and its Congressional allies are predictably furious at the Obama administration’s decision not to allow exploratory oil drilling in the eastern Gulf of Mexico and off the Atlantic coast. The decision was unquestionably the right one.

Given the disastrous oil spill in the central gulf, and industry’s inability to clean it up, one might have expected a little self-knowledge. Not from this crowd, which continues to lobby for more risky drilling instead of focusing all its energy on improving its capacity to prevent and respond to future blowouts.

The White House announced in March that these areas would be opened to exploration as part of a larger political deal intended to produce comprehensive climate legislation. Congress did not pass such a bill. But what really altered the administration’s calculus was the massive BP oil spill in April and the huge flaws it exposed in the industry’s safety practices and the government’s regulatory machinery.

I guess they just don’t care about the poor. I’ll get to that in just a moment. First – about that “self-knowledge” – maybe it’s the Obama administration that’s in need of a little self-knowledge.

“The real issue is the Interior Department, which is the most scandal-ridden agency in American history,” he said. “Along with an inability to regulate, the entire department is rife with conflicts of interest, which came to light during the BP fiasco when Interior Secretary (Ken) Salazar was making statements to the effect of, ‘We’ve got our heel on the throat of BP.’ Statements like that were just a way to divert attention away from their own inadequacy.”

Kindt argues the Interior Department is just as culpable as BP for the disaster in the Gulf yet has somehow avoided any real scrutiny in the court of public opinion.

“The regulators at Interior didn’t just have a cozy relationship with the people they’re supposed to be regulating, they had outright conflicts of interest,” he said. “I fault the regulators at Interior for not doing what they should have been doing.”

But that’s not to say that BP should be given a free pass, Kindt says. BP is guilty of managerial arrogance, and “not looking out for the public interest.”

Oh, and let’s not forget about Energy Secretary Steven Chu who stopped the top-kill operation because of carbon or something. And why punish an entire industry for the mistakes of one company? We don’t hear much about that from the media. We also don’t often hear about how Senator Mary Landrieu, a Democrat who normally supports the President, recently had this to say about Obama’s drilling ban.

They have so bungled this moratorium effort, if it wasn’t so sad it would be laughable … This administration has failed to use every opportunity they’ve been provided to reassure the industry that they actually believe they have a future in this country.”

The number of jobs destroyed by the ban is staggering, not to mention the loss of revenue to the federal government and the fact that it will make us more dependent on foreign oil. But the worst thing is what it’s doing to the poor in America.  It’s devastating.

As winter weather already grips portions of the United States, the need for cheap and efficient power for heat and light is essential. Deneen Borelli, a fellow with the Project 21 black leadership network, points out that the Obama Administration’s continued war on fossil fuels that is making the guarantee of a comfortable winter increasingly bleak for the nation’s poorest citizens.

“With millions of Americans unemployed and struggling to keep their homes warm, the need for government assistance will only increase. Heavy demand and higher prices due to the Obama Administration’s assault on the fossil fuels we rely upon are going to stretch charities to their limits and beyond,” noted Project 21’s Borelli. “It’s disgraceful that the first black president and the first black EPA administrator are advancing policies that will preferentially harm blacks who overwhelmingly supported Obama.”

In a speech in late November to the Aspen Institute, EPA administrator Lisa Jackson demonized the private sector and strongly defended the Obama Administration’s decision to regulate “greenhouse gas” emissions without having specific Congressional authority to regulate these emissions.

That report goes on to point out that the average American household will spend nearly $1000 this year on heat. I know from experience that number is considerably higher for those of us in cold areas like upstate New York.

Higher energy costs, fewer jobs, deeper dependence on foreign oil and increased national debt. That’s the legacy of Obama’s war on oil.

Rick at Wizbang pointed out the sad irony.

It’s the irony of ironies that this administration’s energy policies are putting the squeeze on constituencies largely responsible for Obama’s election.  Those he promised hope and change to, this country’s poor and the middle class, are being victimized by Obama’s debt to the radical environmentalist fringe.

What’s really sad (and quite frustrating) is that many of those he’s hurting the most will probably vote for him again. They say ignorance is bliss, but really, in this case, ignorance is sheer misery.

One more thing: Isn’t it also ironic that low income Americans received more money to help them make it through the winter before Obama came along? Remember the good old days, before Democrats took over, when there was a lot more wealth to spread around? Those were the days.