Drill, Brazil, Drill, Says the U.S.

By March 28, 2011Energy, Regulations

The Washington Post editorialists are not persuaded by President Obama’s odd pleas to the Brazilians to drill more offshore while the Administration slow walks domestic drilling permits in the Gulf of Mexico. From today’s lead editorial, “Oil NIMBY-ISM“:

WHEN WAS the last time an American president stood before an audience in a foreign country and announced that he looked forward to importing more of its oil? Answer: Just over a week ago, when President Obama joined political and business leaders in Brasilia in hailing the fact that their newly discovered offshore petroleum reserves might be twice as large as those in the United States. Americans “want to help with technology and support to develop these oil reserves safely, and when you’re ready to start selling, we want to be one of your best customers,” Mr. Obama said….

Mr. Obama’s enthusiasm for punching holes in the ocean floor off Brazil is hard to reconcile with his decision, announced Dec. 1, to keep the waters off the East and West coasts and the eastern Gulf of Mexico off-limits to exploration indefinitely. His policy was a reversal of an earlier decision he had made to open some of those areas. We can understand that reversal, after the massive oil spill in the western Gulf last year. And, demonstrating a measure of flexibility even after the disaster, the administration has announced five deep-water drilling permits in the western Gulf since the spill.

The Post’s reference to NIMBY-ism makes the point that by pushing energy development overseas, the Obama Administration sends it to countries less able or inclined to protect the environment, e.g., Nigeria or Angola.

Today’s Post editorial is just the latest in a wave of pointed criticisms against President Obama for his short-sighted remarks in Brazil on energy development. Others:

The Administration pushed back in a White House blog post, “The Facts on Domestic Oil and Gas Production,” by Heather Zichel, Deputy Assistant to the President for Energy and Climate Change. Excerpt:

Some recent comments in the press have attempted to paint a picture that an agreement on energy issues signed during the President’s trip to Brazil shows a lack of commitment to domestic oil and gas production. Let’s be clear – this administration is committed to developing a broad range of energy sources, and we know that high prices at the pump are forcing Americans to make tough choices. That is why we continue to take steps that, over the long run, will save Americans money at the pump and lessen our reliance on foreign oil. We stand by our desire to be a strategic partner of Brazil on energy issues, but when it comes to domestic production our record speaks for itself, and regardless what some would like to claim, that record makes clear that we are fully committed to developing domestic resources safely, responsibly, and efficiently.

Let’s be clear! Boy, that’s the Administration talking points right down to the rhetorical ticks.

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