Bradley Op-Ed: Obama Goes Scorched Earth on Oil and Gas

In a piece for Real Clear Energy, Dr. Robert Bradley, the founder and CEO of the Institute for Energy Research, examined the Obama administration’s misguided energy and climate policy. As the clock runs out on President Obama’s term, administration officials are rushing to impose additional rules on the oil and natural gas industry.

As global demand for fossil fuels grows, the U.S. has become the world leader in oil and natural gas production. In spite of federal policies, oil and natural gas have been boons to the U.S. economy, and advanced technologies have spurred expanding production on private and state lands. Increased oil production has coincided with high levels of economic growth and job creation in states with favorable environments for drilling, such as North Dakota, Pennsylvania, and Colorado.

Nevertheless, the administration is ramming through a climate agenda that is imposing “counterproductive, top-down rules” on these affordable and reliable energy sources, according to Dr. Bradley. Below is an excerpt from the article where Dr. Bradley details the accumulation of these harmful regulations:

By proposing new methane emission regulations, for example, the administration will hike drilling costs for natural gas. Even the EPA’s own data shows that methane emissions already have fallen dramatically due to the industry’s voluntary actions and rules already on the books. 

The administration also has finalized new hydraulic fracturing regulations for wells drilled on public lands despite a new EPA report that found “no widespread, systemic impacts to drinking water sources.” 

Of course, the administration’s fracking rules will not apply to this White House’s new prohibitions on nearly 300 million acres of federal land. The Arctic National Wildlife Refuge, portions of the Arctic Ocean, and large tracts of several Western states are among the parcels the White House is preserving “for future generations.” 

Moreover, the offshore leasing plan for 2017–2022, which the Interior Department hopes to complete soon, does not include leases in the energy-rich eastern Gulf of Mexico or along the Pacific Coast. Instead it proposes to allow the industry to pick over bones in the previously explored and developed western Gulf and possibly in a small portion of the Atlantic Outer Continental Shelf.

There also are new offshore drilling rules, including a regulation requiring Arctic drillers to have two rigs on hand—one to drill the well and a backup rig in case a relief well is needed. This, despite a National Petroleum Council report calling on the administration to encourage Alaskan offshore drilling now or become more dependent on foreign oil in the future.

All of these regulations, including tougher ground-level ozone standards, are moving forward in lock-step with the regulations on carbon dioxide from power plants. This drastic, controversial proposal combined with other regulations will shutter scores of coal-fired power plants and reduce electrical power by as much as 130 gigawatts, enough to serve the residential needs of more than 100 million Americans.

All of these separate actions contribute to a climate agenda that will make energy more expensive and life harder for millions of American families.

Click here to read the rest of Dr. Bradley’s article.


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