Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Think $4 Gas is Bad; Hang onto your Hat

Remember during the campaign of 2008 when BO/BS said that “under his plan, electricity rates would necessarily skyrocket.” Well, even though Cap and Tax has been defeated ~for now~ BO/BS’s plan B is using the EPA to do the same thing.

After an investment of $250 million in the mountain-top mining operation, which when fully operational would have employed 215 miners directly and 300 indirect jobs in support services, it was ordered to shut down. These were, no pun intended, "shovel-ready" jobs.

The EPA is currently suspending 79 such surface mining permits in West Virginia, Kentucky, Ohio and Tennessee. It says these permits could violate the Clean Water Act and warrant "enhanced" review. EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson says she's not against coal mining, but wants to see it "done in a way that minimizes impact to water quality."

Here is what the EPA is doing to shut down oil drilling in Alaska: from
EPA Rules Force Shell to Abandon Oil Drilling Plans

Shell Oil Company has announced it must scrap efforts to drill for oil this summer in the Arctic Ocean off the northern coast of Alaska. The decision comes following a ruling by the EPA’s Environmental Appeals Board to withhold critical air permits. The move has angered some in Congress and triggered a flurry of legislation aimed at stripping the EPA of its oil drilling oversight.

Shell has spent five years and nearly $4 billion dollars on plans to explore for oil in the Beaufort and Chukchi Seas. The leases alone cost $2.2 billion.

Not only are they intent on shutting down oil production in the Gulf and Alaska, they are now targeting oil drilling in west Texas.
From Michael Williams
Texas Jobs vs. Lizards
I like the GEICO Gecko. You know, he’s the little green lizard that has become an award-winning force in TV advertising helping people find outstanding value on insurance. The commercial’s memorable tagline probably explains it best when the GEICO Gecko says, “My job is saving people money. I love my job.”

Maybe that explains the Obama administration’s plans to put the “Dunes Sagebrush Lizard” or sand dune lizard, on the endangered species list, effectively halting oil and gas production in west Texas, the heart of U.S. oil and gas production. Possibly the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service really intended to put a hedge around the GEICO Gecko so the Gecko could continue being the ambassador of great customer service, quick rate quotes and savings. Perhaps the Feds got the GEICO Gecko mixed up with the sand dune lizard.

Otherwise the Fed’s decision makes no sense. And the sad irony is adding the sand dune lizard to the endangered species list will hurt Texas businesses, cost Texans jobs and money, and further weaken American economic and energy security. At the absolute worst possible time as gasoline prices rise just before summertime.

The Permian Basin in West Texas is currently the largest oil play in the United States today, producing more than 268 million barrels of oil in 2010. At the current price of $112 per barrel, that’s more than $30 billion worth of oil, or 74% of Texas’ production. And that’s just for the crude, not accounting for the tens of thousands of jobs and billions of dollars to our economy related to oil and gas production, including oilfield service, pipelines, and other industries.

Texas remains the number one producer of oil and natural gas in the country. The sand dune lizard lives in the heart of the oil and natural gas rich Permian Basin. Applying federal endangered species protection to the sand dune lizard will kill jobs and paralyze Texas production activities precisely when Texans are looking at $4.00 gasoline, which could rise even higher. If I didn’t know better, I’d think President Obama is actually trying to see what $5 gasoline looks like.

It is inconceivable when America is importing 72% of its oil from foreign countries sending them nearly $40B per month — and after the Obama administration has imposed an illegal moratorium on offshore drilling, curtailed exploration in the ANWAR, the Rockies and off the east and west coasts — that the administration would adopt still another policy which will discourage and hamper American oil and natural gas exploration and production. In addition to finally releasing his birth certificate, he needs to release more American oil and natural gas into the market.

To borrow from another GEICO commercial, it’s so easy a Caveman can understand it.

The environmentalists are trying to do to west Texas what they've done to the California farmer. From the American Spectator
In 2007, U.S. district judge Oliver Wanger ruled that the pumping that annually sent about 6 million acre-feet of water to Kern County and beyond was threatening the delta smelt's existence by disrupting water flows for the fall spawning season. Citing the protections accorded by the Endangered Species Act, he ordered pumping for agricultural uses curtailed by one-third until the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service could evaluate the situation. After studying the issue for more than a year, the USFWS determined last December that pumping by the SWP and CVP "was likely to jeopardize the continued existence of the delta smelt and adversely modify its critical habitat." The agency issued plans to keep Judge Wanger's restrictions in place. According to Tulare County supervisor Allen Ishida, "California was forced to let 660,000 acrefeet of its freshwater supplies run out to the ocean. That was enough water to supply the entire Silicon Valley for two years."

The result of these irrigation pump shutdowns is that hundreds of thousands of acres of farmland are being forced out of production. Kern County authorities estimated that 145,000 of the 850,000 acres that are typically irrigated were idled or under-irrigated last year. The loss was pegged at $100 million in the county alone. A study by UC-Davis estimated San Joaquin Valley farm revenue losses to range from $482 million to $647 million. Total California agricultural economic losses could hit $3 billion this year.

But those are just abstract financial numbers. Behind those figures are real people, farmers and business owners and families who are losing livelihoods and are being forced to uproot and flee. The UC-Davis study conservatively suggested 24,000 to 32,000 Central Valley jobs were destroyed by environmental rulings designed to protect endangered wildlife. It further estimated job losses could approach 80,000 or more if restrictions intensified. Communities are withering for a government-imposed lack of water. It is little exaggeration to say that the farmers of the most valuable farming region in the nation are facing extinction.

What makes it really hypocritical is that BO/BS is financing oil drilling in Brazil. From The Wall Street Journal

Obama Underwrites Offshore Drilling

You read that headline correctly. Unfortunately, the Obama Administration is financing oil exploration off Brazil.

The U.S. is going to lend billions of dollars to Brazil's state-owned oil company, Petrobras, to finance exploration of the huge offshore discovery in Brazil's Tupi oil field in the Santos Basin near Rio de Janeiro. Brazil's planning minister confirmed that White House National Security Adviser James Jones met this month with Brazilian officials to talk about the loan.

The U.S. Export-Import Bank tells us it has issued a "preliminary commitment" letter to Petrobras in the amount of $2 billion and has discussed with Brazil the possibility of increasing that amount. Ex-Im Bank says it has not decided whether the money will come in the form of a direct loan or loan guarantees. Either way, this corporate foreign aid may strike some readers as odd, given that the U.S. Treasury seems desperate for cash and Petrobras is one of the largest corporations in the Americas.

Kind of makes one go hmmmmmmmmmm. Don't tell me that the BO/BS administration and the demonrats aren/t trying to destroy the U.S. economy.

Have you had enough Change yet?

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