In the past three years the number of oil rigs in America quadrupled to 1,272. White House Press Secretary Jay Carney didn’t hesitate to boast, “Oil and gas production in the United States has risen every year since the president’s been in office. Oil production is now higher than it’s been in eight years.”
President Barack Obama pushes the same message: ”Now, we absolutely need safe, responsible oil production here in America. That’s why under my administration, America is producing more oil today than at any time in the last eight years.”
This is true. But it has little to do with anything done by Obama and his rabid anti-oil administration. In fact, we can give more credit to the Founding Fathers and President George W. Bush than the current president.
On a federal level, Obama went out of his way to limit oil production in America. The president revealed his agenda from the start, as shown by appointment of Ken Salazar as secretary of the interior. (In the summer of 2008, when Senator Mitch McConnell pushed a bill allowing drilling in the Outer Continental Shelf based on the price of gasoline, then-Senator Salazar said he would not approve of any new plan even if the price of gasoline were $10 a gallon.)
Not only did he object on the Senate floor, but after taking office, Salazar took action:
Interior Secretary Ken Salazar “canceled land leases for energy development on 77 parcels of land in Utah. Then he canceled a pending oil-shale lease sale based on his expert judgment that it ‘didn’t meet the smell test.’” Kerpen adds, “Overall there has been a steep drop-off in leasing on federal lands. … 2010 saw a 79 percent drop in leasing in Colorado, Montana, New Mexico, North Dakota, Utah, and Wyoming from 2005. Total onshore royalties dropped 33 percent in just two years.”
Salazar also imposed a six-month drilling moratorium on the Gulf of Mexico following BP’s Deepwater Horizon oil spill. The administration kept the ban in place, despite a judge overturning it. The Obama administration was later held in contempt of court.
Even though the ban was “lifted,” so few permits have been handed out that the term “permatorium” emerged to describe the administration’s attitude towards oil exploration in the Gulf.