During Tuesday’s presidential debate, President Obama dedicated a substantial amount of time arguing that he, in fact, is a huge advocate of traditional energy – coal, natural gas, and oil. In reality, during the past four years Americans have watched gasoline prices double, the Keystone Pipeline needlessly killed, and the phasing out of coal-fired electricity.
While these industries employ millions of Americans, the implications of Obama’s policies affect every American energy consumer. With fewer offshore lease sales, Obama’s has all but assured higher prices at the pump. With less coal being converted into power, Obama has all but assured higher electricity bills.
Below you will find three attempts by Obama to cover-up his war on affordable energy.
Obama: “Now, I want to build on that. And that means, yes, we still continue to open up new areas for drilling.”
One of the President’s first energy actions was to cancel the previous Administration’s five year offshore lease plan, which allowed for drilling off the Atlantic and Pacific coasts. Slow-walking remaining lease sales, the Obama administration has conducted only 11 of the 21 originally scheduled offshore lease sales. Codifying his plan to inhibit development of oil and natural gas reserves on federal land, Obama’s 2012-2017 lease plan represents the lowest number of lease sales ever offered, according to the non-partisan Congressional Research Service.
Probably the best metric to assess the Administration is the number of oil and natural gas approved Applications for Permits to Drill (APDs). Here the Obama Administration shows its true colors: between 2009 and 2011, APDs were down 36 percent.
Further down the road, Obama’s denied Applications for Permit to Drill will cost consumers at the pump when expected oil and natural gas reserves do not come online.
Obama: “We have increased oil production to the highest levels in 16 years. Natural gas production is the highest it’s been in decades.”
Nearly all of America’s increased energy production is owed to the development of shale oil and gas wells – 95 percent of which are on state and private lands. In 2010, 6,512 shale wells were drilled in the U.S. compared to 1,131 shale wells drilled in 2001, a 476 percent increase.
So while oil production on federal lands is down 14 percent in 2011, oil production is up 11 percent on private and state lands. Natural gas is the same story with production on federal lands declining by 10 percent in 2011.
The 2011 increase in oil and natural gas production on private and state lands overwhelms the decrease on federal lands, resulting in an oil production net increase of 3.6 percent and a natural gas production net increase of 7 percent.
Indeed, the incredible production gains have occurred in spite of Obama’s policies, not because of them.
Obama: “We have seen increases in coal production and coal employment.”
This statement couldn’t be farther from the truth – both coal production and coal employment are down under Obama’s tenure. In January of 2009 there were 86,600 coal jobs. In September of 2012, there were 82,200 coal jobs – that’s fewer jobs, not more. In fact, the number of coal mining jobs has dropped in 24 out of the 45 months that Obama has been president. Over the most recent 12-month period, the number of coal mining jobs has dropped every month for a loss of over 5,000 jobs.
How about coal production? In January of 2009, America produced 545.8 million tons of coal; now, 507.8 million tons of coal. Again, that’s a reduction in coal produced, not an increase.
Most importantly, the full impact of Obama’s job-killing regulations have not yet been felt. Power plant owners have announced the shutdown of around 36,000 MW of coal capacity due, in no small part, to EPA regulations. This enormous amount of electricity represents approximately 11 percent of U.S. coal electric generating capacity. Undoubtedly, such a huge reduction in coal-fired electricity will be accompanied by a similar huge reduction in coal-based employment.
While most of us aren’t employed by the coal industry, nearly all of us consume efficient, reliable coal-fired electricity. So if you pay an electricity bill, the EPA’s policies directly affect you.