Examiner Editorial: President turns off homegrown energy 

President Barack Obama says he wants to decrease U.S. dependence on foreign oil by increasing U.S. production of domestic U.S. resources, including America’s rich deposits of fossil fuels. To that end, Obama promises efforts to “enhance U.S. energy supplies through responsible development of domestic renewable energy, fossil fuels, advanced bio-fuels and nuclear energy.” At least, that’s what the president says he wants to do.

To see what he’s actually doing, take a look at the policies of the Department of Interior. In fact, the Obama administration is cutting production of domestic fossil fuels — oil, natural gas and coal — by creating costly and time-consuming new layers of suffocating red tape and legal barriers.

Here are the stark facts, as compiled by the Institute for Energy Research (IER), about the area where the federal government has the most direct and immediate impact on domestic energy production — managing energy exploration and production leases on western and off-shore public lands:

- The Interior Department has collected only one-tenth as much revenue from oil and gas lease sales in 2009 as it did in 2008.

- Revenue from such lease sales produced a return for the taxpayer of $942 per acre in the last year of the Bush administration, compared to only $254 per acre in the first year of the Obama administration.

- Presently, not quite 3 percent of the 2.46 million available public lands are leased, and that percentage is headed down.

Under Obama’s Interior Secretary, Ken Salazar, fewer acres on- and off-shore were leased in 2009 than in any previous year.

This is why IER’s president, Thomas J. Pyle, says that “when it comes to paving the way for the responsible development of homegrown, job-creating energy resources, no administration in history has done more to ensure producers do less.”

Similarly, David Holt, president of the Consumer Energy Alliance, offers this common-sense observation: “Adding layers of additional and unnecessary bureaucratic red-tape to the federal oil and gas leasing process will result in less homegrown energy … At the same time, erecting these needless roadblocks for safely producing American energy will not only lead to more expensive and less stable prices for struggling consumers, but it will also deepen our nation’s dependence on foreign and often unfriendly regions of the world to meet our growing demands and to keep our economy moving.”

In other words, Obama’s policies in the energy field are producing exactly the opposite result he claims to seek.

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Staff Report

Staff Report

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A daily newspaper covering San Francisco, San Mateo County and serving Alameda, Marin and Santa Clara counties.
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