Chill, Baby, Chill: Obama Lifts Ceremonial Ban on Hypothetical Oil Reserves

Mark Ambinder at The Atlantic has a pretty good take on the President’s “stunning turnaround” on offshore drilling.

Just like the fuss about the utterly unspectacular ANWR reserves, the controversy over access to America’s remaining offshore oil fields has everything to do with political optics, and almost zero relevance to “energy self-sufficiency,” which is currently only feasible if the US—the world’s third-largest oil producer—suddenly triples its oil production overnight, discovers a practical pocket-sized fusion technology or starts burning coal at a rate that would make Mars look habitable. Even natural gas—which the US is literally drowning in—doesn’t solve the problem unless we massively invest in new infrastructure and technologies (such as fuel cells for cars) to enable more practical, widespread and economically competitive utilization. 

In any event, I agree with Ambinder that Obama has—at virtually no political cost—blunted (if not mooted) the whole Wingnut/Palin “Drill, Baby, Drill!” canard, and effectively called their bluff. Certainly, the Right will be able to attack the plan for being selective in scope and for blocking some planned Alaska drills. But, even if there’s more oil in America’s coastal waters than the relatively paltry amounts that have been estimated in the past, we are many years of costly exploration and qualification away from quantifying—let alone extracting—it. And until the price of a barrel of crude rises above the $90-$100/barrel level again, the sound you hear is unlikely to be the rush of American oil companies anxious to spend billions of dollars to find out what, exactly, is down there.

Posted by StrangeAppar8us on 03/31/10 at 12:12 PM • Permalink

Categories: PoliticsBarack Obama

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Yep, all that new drilling is going to do us a lot of good when US refineries are shutting down.

I’m sure the “deeply-disappointed-what-a-sell-out” brigade is in full force.  But it’s just like how in their zeal to reform HIR, Republicans end up wanting to deny coverage to kids.

This was one of the things that Obama campaigned on that I wasn’t particularly thrilled with. I “get” the politics of it, but I don’t like the optics or the message that it sends.

Having just seen “Capitalism: A Love Story” last weekend, I tend towards Jimmy Carters remarks about the excesses of materialism in the US.  So, I’m of the suck it up and stop using so much gas mindset.

The “true progessives” are, of course, insufferable on this issue. It seems like this time, for sure, they would have pulled the lever for Hillary if they had only known.

Not that this anything to do with 2008 Democratic primaries.

@dewberry—There’ll be plenty of shit from the Left, no doubt, because the Left is often just as energy-illiterate as the right.

That Bush was able to extend bans on offshore drilling isn’t testimony to the power of environmental groups, any more than Obama’s decision to lift restrictions bespeaks the power of Sarah Palin.

The fact is, the offshore leases don’t mean shit to a tree, since the suspected reserves aren’t worth going after, and oil companies aren’t really interested in footing the bill for prospecting it—especially now that there’s only one company on earth that’s still actively manufacturing offshore platforms…so it’s a long fucking wait for equipment.

Oil companies prefer the low-hanging fruit—slam-dunk terrestrial drill sites, of which there are fewer and fewer. (And don’t get me started on the Bakken Reserves, which don’t amount to shit. I’m talking Africa and the parts of the Middle East that aren’t already dependent on last-gasp injection recovery to squeeze out low-grade, flammable sludge.)

Regardless, the rhetoric has always been wrong—Middle East oil doesn’t hold America “hostage” any more than Canadian oil or Mexican oil or Venezuelan oil. In a world where output just barely meets demands, any country that produces oil can jack-up world prices by slowing production by 10%. More oil ain’t gonna save us—and certainly not what little we have left.

Right on schedule...

I’m a lot happier today now that most of the GoDaddy issues have been resolved, so I’m not going to read the comments. Blue Texan’s posts, which aren’t suitably anti-Obama, have been bringing out the worst in the manic progressives at FDL lately.

KK, I’d feel really awful about myself if any of this actually impacted America’s energy security, which it doesn’t, even remotely.

I’m just enthralled by how much political leverage/public outrage one can manipulate by starting a fight over the Free Space on the Bingo Card.

I’m just enthralled by how much political leverage/public outrage one can manipulate by starting a fight over the Free Space on the Bingo Card.

Best explanation I could ever possibly hope for regarding this topic.

As usual, Strange FTW.

bringing out the worst in the manic progressives at FDL

Man, there’s a ton of idiots over there. Oil companies could care less, and the environmental downside is practically nil. 

The commenters at FDL are like birds attacking their own reflections in a patio window. This is a highly effective—if somewhat cynical—political maneuver. And forgive me if I think that malevolent calculation shouldn’t be off-limits when dealing with fuck-you-all-to-hell Conservatives.

As Blue Texan said:

Obama could propose cutting taxes to zero, deporting everyone who can’t speak English, renaming the country “Jesusland”…doesn’t matter.

The GOP answer will always be the same.

Yes - Obama is defying the will of the American people!  Yeah, and your tanning bed bills are going way up since health care reform passed, too, Boehner.

On a better note, in a stunning bi-partisan move, the Colorado legislature requiring Xcel Energy to cut emission of nitrogen oxides by 70 to 80% by 2017 - mainly by switching coal fired plants to natural gas.  Which, as Strange notes, the country is practically drowning in and a good bit of it is located here in Colorado.  This is a great win-win cleaning up our air and creating new jobs.  I take back all the bad things I’ve said about Josh Penry over the years (well, most of them.)

And forgive me if I think that malevolent calculation shouldn’t be off-limits when dealing with fuck-you-all-to-hell Conservatives.

Heh. When news of the defecting Iranian nuke scientist broke, I was pondering in wonder the complete and total pwnage the Kenyan Usurper has achieved over the GOP and its vicious wingnut screechers.

While the “god, guns and guts” types were fretting over Obama showing weakness by bowing to the Japanese emperor and the mayor of Tampa and kind of apologizing for America’s kind of being a dick under the Bush Admin, the Panneta-led CIA was resettling an Iranian defector and no doubt shaking him down for goodies with which we can leverage the UN on sanctions. Oh, and taking out half the al Qaeda org chart via new diplomatic maneuvers in Pakistan.

While people like Palin and Bachmann were screaming about death panels and crown jewels of socialism, oh hey, look, we now have a health care bill! One that pretty much deflates the Mittens bubble, I might add, and while doing so will demonstrate that the hysterics over the bill were just that—hysterics.

And now Obama has hit the mute button on Palin’s “drill, baby drill!” shtick.

Crafty devil, that Kenyan Usurper. I am proud to be his fluffer.

And now Obama has hit the mute button on Palin’s “drill, baby drill!” shtick.

Sureshot twatter Palin’s characteristically slow on the uptake/messaging thing, but gets there in the end:

# Drill, baby, drill.
about 2 hours ago via OpenBeak

#  Rep.Boehner spot-on Obama goal=cram thru job-killing, energy-depleting, burdensome Cap & Tax scheme on heels of Obama’s new"pro-drilling"msg
about 2 hours ago via OpenBeak

If it were cold enough for us to “literally drown” in natural gas (methane), then it’d be much too late for us to drown.

Literally means literally, it’s not a word to use for emphasis. That’s literally annoying me to death.

Oh, goodness, Ralph—You obviously weren’t here for the earlier Rumproast grammar-cop free-for-all over the use of “literally” versus “virtually” versus “metaphorically.”

We all know the “right” word, but now it would be seen as an act of submission urination to actually use it.

Thanks, though, for your thoughts on comparative energy costs and the future of coal gasification.

You know, Ralph, what bothers me is that I used “literally” twice in the same post…so I’m replacing the one that didn’t piss you off.

I think you nailed this one right in the title.  Nicely done!

All my intensifiers are mined from pristine wildlife refuges.

What a snarkapolicious comment. ;-)

I’m beginning to wish I would have went to my dictionary before I typed the word “literally.”

Little to my beknownst, that was destined to be the only memorable element of this post, irregardless of the substantive content.

I’m SUCH a looser. And I COULD of been a contender!

Strange, I could care “less.”

The point being is that the boot will soon be on the other foot for conserned partys like these ones with they’re scaremongerer ways ec cetara.

Well-spoke, pufin!

Well, the moving hand, having twatted, moves on to scrawl in crayon in the Corner at National Review Online:

Many Americans fear that President Obama’s new energy proposal is once again “all talk and no real action,” this time in an effort to shore up fading support for the Democrats’ job-killing cap-and-trade (a.k.a. cap-and-tax) proposals. Behind the rhetoric lie new drilling bans and leasing delays; soon to follow are burdensome new environmental regulations.  Instead of “drill, baby, drill,” the more you look into this the more you realize it’s “stall, baby, stall.”

Her ghostwriter follows up with this tantalizing prospect:

Next week I’m headed to the Southern Republican Leadership Conference in New Orleans, where I look forward to discussing what “Drill, baby, drill” really means.

She’s such a tease.

Next week I’m headed to the Southern Republican Leadership Conference in New Orleans, where I look forward to discussing what “Drill, baby, drill” really means.

Oh goodie, another lesbian bondage-club scandal for the GOP.

Since its so big of a subject, these kind of problems desserve a through examineing of the fact’s.

Since its so big of a subject, these kind of problems desserve a through examineing of the fact’s.

Great, boogieman7167’s gone and found himself a new alias.

I’m beginning to wish I would have went had gone to my dictionary thesaurus before I typed the word “literally”.

Fixed.

Sorry, I thought we were going apeshit over petty annoyances in orthography.

No? OK, on with the important stuff - who likes sandwiches?

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