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When President Obama failed to get Congress to approve programs to force cap-and-trade and other restrictions on fossil fuel use, he said “there are other ways to skin a cat” and resorted to using the EPA to restrict coal use by a series of air quality rulings that forced shutdown of hundreds of coal-burning power plants. These rulings can be expanded to allow only natural gas-fueled gas turbine combined cycles for power generation. Further rule modifications could eliminate any fossil fuel for power generation.
President Obama’s Department of Interior has designated million of acres of Federal Lands as “wilderness areas” in the West which means roads can’t be built in the regions. Coal, oil, natural gas, and uranium is now impossible for exploitation. The EPA is working on regulations to require their approval for “fracking” which can be used to reduce or eliminate shale oil and natural gas resources.
The Obama administration may mention oil leases in the National Petroleum Reserve-Alaska will be put out for bids the day after the election November 6. However, Interior Secretary Salazar has ruled more than half of the Reserve is off limits for drilling for environmental reasons; which includes areas near the Trans-Alaska Pipeline which is necessary for transporting oil from the Reserve. There may be no bids.
The total effort of the Obama administration has been directed toward development of renewable energy resources–solar, wind, battery-powered cars, ethanol from corn, and other biofuels. Examination of all these programs show they are impractical, uneconomical, and some of questionable environmental worth. These programs have cost tax payers hundred of billions of dollars and benefited many donors to President Obama’s political campaigns.
President Obama, if you want to truly show you are for all of the above energy resources, then “Please Put Your Money Where Your Mouth Is”. Immediately issue an Executive Order to allow drilling in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge in the 2000-acre upper Northwest corner of the 19 million-acre Refuge. The Refuge is the largest known region of land-based oil in the United States which enables conventional drilling; no need for fracking.
There is estimates of over ten billion barrels of oil available from the Refuge. The small, desolate region on the upper Northwest corner of the Refuge is within 100 miles of the Trans-Alaska Pipeline required to deliver oil for use by lower states. There is an urgency in providing new sources of oil for the Pipeline due to depletion of North Slope oil fields having caused oil production to fall to one-third its peak flow of 2 million barrels per day in 1988. If flow stops in the Pipeline, it may never be re-started again.
James H. Rust, Professor of Nuclear Engineering and Policy Adviser for The Heartland Institute