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Obama's Energy Policy: A Looming Disaster

The opinions expressed by columnists are their own and do not necessarily represent the views of

Once again, on energy policy and action, President Obama talks the talk, but has no substance behind his teleprompted words.  In an address at Georgetown University, Obama touted his Administration's plans for energy dependence, outlined in the 44 page,   Blueprint for A Secure Energy Future, recently released by the White House.  The Blueprint is a banal and ineffective proposal more reminiscent of a poorly written, high school term paper than a substantive policy paper from the leader of the free world.  In it, Obama continues his worrisome trend of avoiding decisions, clouding the issues, and sidestepping any responsibility to lead.  The President should be ashamed.

Obama's speech made it clear that while he advocates making hard choices, he has very little experience and no plan for doing so.  So when he tried to talk down the price of oil by outlining a new energy policy which would make America less dependent upon foreign oil, the market quickly reacted.   Within hours of Obama's speech, the Stock Market apparently weighed, measured and found Obama's proposals hollow, and ineffective, and the price of oil went up.   Clearly, the President’s gift of persuasion is not what it used to be as we become more and more used to his unwillingness to make difficult decision or face problems squarely. 

Obama said: "we will keep on being a victim to shifts in the oil market until we get serious about a long-term policy for secure, affordable energy."  Obama then made a powerful case to demonstrate his own lack of seriousness, by suggesting that American energy needs could be provided by solar, bio and wind.  We learn, once again, that Mr Obama hates coal (too dirty), he hates drilling for oil (BP spill), and now hates nuclear (after Japan). The obvious problem here is that coal, oil, natural gas, and nuclear together account for almost 90% of US energy production and cannot possibly be replaced any time soon. 

What Obama needed to do was to start a dispassionate conversation about how American know-how and technological abilities could be unleashed to make our sources of energy safer, less dangerous, and less expensive.  Instead, Obama left American with the impression that renewable energy could someday soon replace more conventional sources of energy.   Not once did he admit that  solar, wind and ethanol require massive government subsidies and a government diktat, forcing consumption    But then again, misleading the public while avoiding any difficult decision is becoming the Obama Way. 

For example, the President states that he will call for a "100% alternative fuel, hybrid, or electric vehicles" government fleet within 4 years. 

Left unsaid was the fact that this kind of energy policy actually makes the situation worse.  Obama is proposing to replace cars that don't need to be replaced (remember, in 2009 and 2010, he accelerated the replacement of 250,000 vehicles in the government fleet in support of Cash for Clunkers), for cars that must use fuel that doesn't exist in large enough quantity to keep the vehicles on the road, at a cost that the country cannot afford with out huge government subsidies.  Now that's some kind of a plan!

None of the President's proposals will meet his stated of goal of making America more energy dependent.  Instead, what Obama proposes is a transfer of energy dependence from the Middle East to Mexico, Canada and Brazil.  " We can partner with neighbors like Canada, Mexico, and Brazil, which recently discovered significant new oil reserves, and with whom we can share American technology and know-how."  We are left to wonder why Americans should not use these same  American resources and know-how to exploit even larger energy deposits in the US. 

Obama says all the right things, such as: "Meeting this new goal of cutting our oil dependence depends largely on two things: finding and producing more oil at home, and reducing our dependence on oil with cleaner alternative fuels and greater efficiency."   And yet, time and again, President Obama proposes increasing the regulatory stranglehold that arcane and left-wing extremist rulemaking have on the industry, thus preventing any kind of energy independence. 

Perhaps the cruelest fantasy advanced by Obama was when he dangled the possibility of natural gas as a potential solution.  Focusing attention on natural gas makes sense given the nation's enormous reserves, yet, Obama says that we aren't going to drill,  And, in the interests of safety, there will be more regulations imposed upon that industry, which shows Obama doesn't understand that the very regulatory regime he embraces is the single thing that most hinders utilizing more natural gas.

Obama likes to sound tough, so he told his audience of Georgetown students: " I don’t want to leave this challenge for future presidents."  But, a quick read of the plan he is proposing shows that all deliverables are for four or more years in the future-- which means, inevitably, it will become some other president's problem. 

Of course, Obama isn't the only Democrat leader who just doesn't get it.  At almost the same time, that Obama was claiming that his Democrat leadership team was going to make energy independence a priority and focusing their efforts on the hard science needed to make this dream a reality, and that everyone one of them would "do their part", Harry Reid, Senate Majority leader, was getting advice on energy policy from  Chuck  Leavell, keyboardist for the Rolling Stones.  

So there you have it, confronted with a serious issue about what to do on energy, our President avoids making any decision at all, while the Democrat Senate Majority leader gets advice from a member of the Rolling Stones on what America should do. 

Americans are left with this unmistakable reality--the greatest impediment to a coherent energy-independence policy is Obama, the man advancing the policy. 

Churchill said it best: "So they [the Government] go on in strange paradox, decided only to be undecided, resolved to be irresolute, adamant for drift, solid for fluidity, all-powerful to be impotent." 

Yep.  That's Obama for you.

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