‘In the Wizard of Oz,’ it takes Dorothy a concussion-induced nightmare to reach the conclusion there’s no place like home. In real life, it is going to require more than a bonk on the noggin to knock some sense into a president who appears intent on walking away from an immense energy windfall here at home (read: the Keystone XL pipeline) to explore Emerald City alternatives.
ABC News’s Mary Bruce reports:
President Obama is shifting gears today, venturing outside the Beltway to deliver the first energy speech of his second term, one that will promote research into fossil fuel alternatives.
The president will promote his ‘all-of-the-above’ energy strategy and plan to reduce the nation’s dependence on oil during a visit to the research facilities at Argonne National Laboratory outside Chicago in Argonne, Ill.
Obama is calling on Congress to establish a new Energy Security Trust, urging them to set aside $2 billion over ten years to support research into ‘cost-effective technologies.’
Notice how easily Bruce buys into the administration fiction that its “all-of-the-above” strategy excludes fossil fuel exploration and production, including Keystone, which the International Energy Agency predicts will make the U.S. not only self-sustaining but the world’s largest oil exporter by 2030.
As for the set-aside, the cost is a pittance compared with the $80 billion earmarked in the 2009 stimulus to subsidize politically preferred energy projects. Yet at a time when the country is struggling to recover from a still-weak economy, a condition complicated by four years of profligate government spending, the $2 billion may as well be $2 trillion.
House Speaker John Boehner’s office has reacted, noting that there’s not enough oil production on federal lands to fund the proposed trust:
For this proposal to even be plausible, oil and gas leasing on federal land would need to increase dramatically. Unfortunately, this administration has consistently slowed, delayed, and blocked American energy production.
As Jonah Goldberg points out in a Townhall column, the administration is fond of bragging that oil and gas production are up under Obama. Yet, his policies have had nothing to do with this. If anything, they have been inimical to oil production on federal lands, which has fallen by 23 percent since 2010.
And while green advocates protest the Keystone pipeline, which the New York Times’s Thomas Friedman claims will “facilitate the dirtiest extraction of the dirtiest crude from tar sands in Canada’s far north,” governments around the world are seizing the opportunity to expand oil production. Goldberg writes:
In Russia, oil output keeps going up. Brazil is racing to expand offshore drilling. Mexico recently announced another huge oil field it won’t hesitate to develop. Experts are predicting a South Atlantic oil boom to rival the North Sea craze of the 1980s.
But in spite of these realities, the president and environmental activists cling to the dream of capitalizing on technologies not-yet realized. His own State Department has already greenlighted the Keystone project. What will it take to get him to click his heels three times and chant, “There’s no alternative like fracking. There’s no alternative like fracking”?
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