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The Obama Administration & US Politics

Obama Wages War Against the Environment

As the 2012 election is now over, Barack Obama has won a second term. Many wonder how his policies, his administration, and how the entire political arena, will change our future.

Postby Aquarian » Thu Apr 01, 2010 9:34 am

Obama opens US coastlines for oil drilling
By Hiram Lee
1 April 2010
In a speech before a military audience at Andrews Air Force Base on Wednesday, President Obama announced he was preparing to make large regions of the US coastline available for oil drilling for the first time. Oil corporations will now be allowed to explore and eventually drill along the Atlantic coastline, new regions in the Gulf of Mexico and off the northern coast of Alaska.

Coastal waters spanning from northern Delaware to central Florida, an area comprising 167 million acres of ocean, could now be leased to oil corporations for exploration and development. Approximately 130 million acres in the waters north of Alaska will also be made available. The Pacific coast will remain closed to oil and gas development, along with coastal waters from New Jersey north.

The oil and gas industries have had their sights on these regions for decades. The area in the eastern Gulf of Mexico to be opened up to corporations by the new Obama plan is of particular interest, with up to 3.5 million barrels of “economically recoverable oil” and 17 trillion cubic feet of gas believed to be waiting there. Both the amount of resources available and their close proximity to American markets are important incentives. Oil companies could stand to gain billions of dollars in profits from the newly accessible coastal areas.

These regions have been off-limits to oil corporations for decades. In 1981, Congress initiated the Outer Continental Shelf Moratorium, which prohibited the leasing of waters on both the Atlantic and Pacific coasts of the United States as well as in Alaska’s Bristol Bay. In 1990, President George H. W. Bush also issued a ban on Outer Continental Shelf drilling with an executive order that was later renewed by President Clinton.

In 2008, President George W. Bush lifted the presidential ban issued by his father, and the Democratic-controlled Congress allowed its own moratorium to expire. While the Bush administration was unable to finish the work of opening up coastal waters for the oil corporations, the Obama administration has now stepped in to finish the job of removing any further restrictions.

In his remarks at Andrews Air Force Base on Wednesday, Obama informed his audience, “We’re announcing the expansion of offshore oil and gas exploration but in ways that balance the need to harness domestic energy resources and the need to protect America’s natural resources.”

Turning reality on its head, Obama attempted to paint the opening of millions of acres to energy conglomerates as a major step on the way to “clean energy.” He admitted, “There will be those who strongly disagree with this decision, including those who say we should not open any new areas to drilling.”

He presented this cave-in to the oil companies as though it was a “middle of the road” compromise. “[W]e need to move beyond the tired debates of the left and the right, between business leaders and environmentalists, between those who would claim drilling is a cure-all and those who would claim it has no place,” he said.

This marks a complete reversal from the position held by Obama during the 2008 presidential campaign when the Republican Party was using soaring gas prices as a pretext to clear the way for offshore drilling. In a 2008 press conference held in Florida, then-candidate Obama rejected calls to open new areas of the coastline to drilling, saying, “It would have long-term consequences for our coastlines but no short-term benefits, since it would take at least 10 years to get any oil.”

Obama added then, “Offshore drilling would not lower gas prices today, it would not lower gas prices tomorrow, it would not lower gas prices this year, it would not lower gas prices five years from now.”

“When I'm president,” Obama said, “I intend to keep in place the moratorium here in Florida and around the country that prevents oil companies from drilling off Florida’s coasts.”

Aiding Obama in implementing his new plan has been Interior Secretary Ken Salazar. A former senator from Colorado, Salazar has maintained close ties to mining and ranching industries for years, and during his time in the Senate was a right-wing ally of energy corporations. His voting record shows that he was a supporter of offshore drilling near the coast of Florida, that he came out against repealing tax breaks for Exxon-Mobile and against increasing fuel efficiency standards for US automobiles.

Among those groups now protesting the Obama-Salazar plan for offshore drilling is the Sierra Club, whose executive director, Michael Brune, released a statement reading, “Drilling our coasts will do nothing to lower gas prices or create energy independence. It will only jeopardize beaches, marine life, and coastal tourist economies, all so the oil industry can make a short-term profit.”

The offshore drilling plan proposed by Obama is in line with all other pro-corporate policies of his administration. It is a gift to the oil corporations and yet another concession made to the Republican Party. The offshore drilling plan comes as the Obama administration is renewing its push for the passage in the Senate of a comprehensive climate bill that it claims will reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

As Republican Senator Lindsey Graham said earlier this month, "If you're a Republican, and you believe we should 'drill, baby, drill,' now's your chance.”

http://wsws.org/articles/2010/apr2010/dril-a01.shtml

Is it his willingness to bargain away the environment to placate oil companies opposed to the climate change bill? Is it his betrayal of an oft-stated campaign stance? Or is it his diminishing the real issue, backed by real science, by equating corporate interests with environmentalists, conjuring up two petty politicos fighting "the same old battles"?
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Postby greeney2 » Thu Apr 01, 2010 9:51 am

You live in Florida, how many oil spills and enviornmental problem result in the bay between Florida and Mexico? I've never herd of massive oil spills, but I'm sure there have been, and what was the impact on the surrounding coastlines?
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Postby nightwolf » Thu Apr 01, 2010 9:58 am

Whether we like it or not, some of this had to be done. We have to do our best to break away from our dependence on oil imports from the middle east. I'd rather import more from our southern neighbors in South America than the middle east. It's just one step in order to achieve energy independence. It'll be interesting how the climate bill progresses along with alternative energy.
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Postby greeney2 » Thu Apr 01, 2010 10:07 am

We can build safe Nuclear Power plants in this country, we can do the same thing drilling safe oil wells offshore.
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Postby Dark-Samus » Thu Apr 01, 2010 10:12 am

I think inventing a new technology especially concerning nuclear power plants is possible, oil...I'm still a bit skeptic...
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Postby BloodStone » Thu Apr 01, 2010 10:25 am

PLEASE.... you guys really don't think they will start drilling do you ?

they will never pull a drop from the ground with this bs. All this is , is Obummer setting us up for his crap and tax bill. He needs republicans on board cause he screwed himself with this healthcare crap. Now he's a lame duck Prez.
He won't get anything else done without some republicans in his corner.

All he did was open it up for exploration, the drill will never pierce the earth, his environwackos will make sure of that. By time the court cases are done, we will be long gone.

yet another shell game by the Obummer.


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Postby nightwolf » Thu Apr 01, 2010 10:30 am

Dark-Samus wrote:I think inventing a new technology especially concerning nuclear power plants is possible, oil...I'm still a bit skeptic...


Yep, that's where I'm at as well. I'm living in the Dakotas and one thing we're starting to do up here is build a lot of wind farms for energy means. Granted North Dakota is the #4 oil producer in the country, we're still producing other means as well. One thing that would help us get out of our economic woes is if most of our policiticians got off of their arse and actually realised that solar power would be a way to go. There's quite a few companies out in Cali. that could do wonders for our economy.
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Postby Aquarian » Thu Apr 01, 2010 10:55 pm

greeney2 wrote:You live in Florida, how many oil spills and enviornmental problem result in the bay between Florida and Mexico? I've never herd of massive oil spills, but I'm sure there have been, and what was the impact on the surrounding coastlines?


Apparently there have 22 oil spills in the Gulf of Mexico since 2005; 6 which were massive; 1 of the massive ones occurring during Hurricane Katrina. Fortunately, most of these oil spills occurred away from the coastlines because 1) most of them were not massive 2) there was nothing coastline about them. In Obama's plan, drilling would occur 125 miles off Florida's coast. These spills occurred over 300+ miles away or more.

http://www.chron.com/disp/story.mpl/bus ... 40711.html

http://www.offshore-environment.com/oilpollution.html

Whether we like it or not, some of this had to be done. We have to do our best to break away from our dependence on oil imports from the middle east. I'd rather import more from our southern neighbors in South America than the middle east. It's just one step in order to achieve energy independence. It'll be interesting how the climate bill progresses along with alternative energy.


You present a false alternative. It does not "have to be done" as you claim. I think focusing on the issue of reliance on Middle-Eastern oil is not only nationalist, but extremely limiting in perspective of the bigger picture. Furthermore, most of our oil comes from Canada (18%) and Mexico (15%)- source. Saudi Arabia accounts for about 12% along with Nigeria. Simply put, ANY reliance on oil is still an unhealthy dependence, including an addiction to oil in general, domestic or foreign.

The National Geographic has estimated that any drilling off Florida's coast for example from 500 miles off the coast can cause widespread damage- source

All of this is an attempt to win Republican support for the weak climate bill he wants to get passed through the Congress as well. It's pandering at its worst and he is sacrificing the environment for his political satisfaction. Also, we only have about 3% of the world's reserves- how will this do anything or hardly anything for energy revamping? Investing in conservation and renewable energy would go much farther on both fronts.

http://www.awea.org/newsroom/releases/0 ... arger.html

We should focus our efforts towards wind which has a potential to produce 37+million gigawatts of clean energy per year in the US alone.
The Few assume to be the deputies, but they are often only the despoilers of the Many.
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Postby Dark-Samus » Thu Apr 01, 2010 11:30 pm

Yep, that's where I'm at as well. I'm living in the Dakotas and one thing we're starting to do up here is build a lot of wind farms for energy means. Granted North Dakota is the #4 oil producer in the country, we're still producing other means as well. One thing that would help us get out of our economic woes is if most of our policiticians got off of their arse and actually realised that solar power would be a way to go. There's quite a few companies out in Cali. that could do wonders for our economy.


It is too bad that the world does not build all those solar catchy thingies, (forgot the word lol...)in the Sahara Desert which scientists say it would power up all Earth all year.

Money and Science were never the issue on anything, the lack of humanity and goodwill there is plenty off unfortunately.
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Postby frrostedman » Sat Apr 03, 2010 12:13 am

Aquarian, you fell for Obama's P.R. move.

All he really did was greatly restrict the off shore drilling programs that were already put in motion by the Bush Administration.

But Obama took credit for championing the off shore drilling effort as a PR move to win over some independents.

From Charles Krauthammer, syndicated columnist:
    That's why what happened today was a quarter of a loaf. ...what he did was really quite minimal. Yes, he opened up part of the Atlantic coast, a bit of the Gulf of Mexico. But the entire Pacific Coast is shut down, the west slope of Alaska remains shut down, and the most important area, ANWR, the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge ... remains shut.
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