Obama’s true ‘top priority’

Marita Noon Executive Director, Energy Makes America Great
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The “top priority is to recover and rebuild from a recession,” stated Obama in his Oval Office address Tuesday. But his actual comments were to the contrary. Everything he said will hurt the American financial situation, sending us further into debt and insolvency!

We need:

  • Real, American jobs and wealth creation.
  • Domestic energy production that will keep the money in America rather than sending funds to governments who wish us harm.
  • Low fuel costs so Americans can continue to enjoy the freedom of the “road trip” and the comfort of being cool in the summer and warm in the winter.

The president should have said he was going to repeal the drilling moratorium in the Gulf, instead he reaffirmed it—killing more than 30,000 jobs in an area already suffering calamitous economic hardship. These are direct jobs. Untold thousands of local businesses will suffer and have to lay off workers because of the loss of local income. Multi-year contracts have already been cancelled.

Taxes will no longer flow into local and federal coffers. Payroll taxes will necessarily decline, but so will the taxes generated from resource development, the new wealth creation. The only new wealth comes from creating something of value where there was nothing (mining and farming), and then selling it. Everything else is simply moving the same money around. In the Gulf, we’ve had a great opportunity to create new wealth for America that in turn adds jobs and contributes to our overall economic stability.

Because, as Obama stated, deepwater drilling poses greater risks, he should have opened previously off -limit areas with known resources. If he’s insistent on the moratorium, this could make up for the loss of development in the Gulf. More than 30 percent of US oil and 10 percent of natural gas comes from the gulf. Since he acknowledges “the transition away from fossil fuels will take some time,” his policies are making us more dependent on middle-eastern oil.

Instead of encouraging domestic development, Obama’s Oval Office address stressed the need for additional regulations—of which there are already plenty. What we have is a series of government failures. More regulations will not prevent an accident. Think of the space program. The best rocket scientists in the world worked together to put man on the moon and to create the space shuttle program. Despite the check and double-check systems, accidents still happened; people still died. But NASA did not quit as a result. Instead, they pushed forward to success.

We’ve been drilling in the Gulf for 65 years with more than 40,000 wells drilled and there has never been an incident of the magnitude of the Deepwater Horizon. While the Gulf spill may be the largest in American history, it is the 19th world-wide. With international help, these 18 other spills became non-incidents. Why didn’t we hear anything about the Jones Act, about inviting the Dutch, and other countries who’ve offered to help, to come and join the clean up?

While additional regulations can’t guarantee that there will never be an accident, they can guarantee that the price of oil will go up—as it has been doing steadily since the drilling moratorium was announced on May 28.

With the higher oil prices, come increased costs to consumers. Already, governmental policy prohibits domestic energy development in areas where the extraction would be more cost-effective. The deepwater drilling rigs cost $250,000-$500,000 per day to operate—which excludes most independent, American companies from being able to participate. Only the big multi-national companies can afford to drill in the Gulf, but the moratorium and costs generated by the additional regulations and escrow fund demands will chase them to other sites where the risk/reward cycle is more favorable.

Obama’s taking advantage of the Gulf crisis to push an agenda that leaves America with less domestic energy and more expensive foreign oil. He spent a third of the speech pushing cap and trade because he knows it will make fossil fuels more expensive—which will then make “clean energy” competitive. It is not that his darlings of wind and solar will be cheaper, but that fossil fuels will be more expensive. (He never mentioned natural gas or nuclear energy as options for the future.)

How will more expensive energy help Obama’s stated priority of recovering and rebuilding from a recession? It won’t. Energy makes America great; energy that is abundant, available and affordable. It makes one wonder what is his true “top priority.” What agenda is he really pushing?

Marita Noon is the executive director of the Citizens Alliance for Responsible Energy (CARE), a nonprofit organization operating from the platform of “Energy Makes America Great” and supports all domestic energy development. She can be reached at or