Energy Independence: Palin Produces, Obama Puts Up Roadblocks

The Left has been quick to challenge the credentials of Gov. Sarah Palin and question her ability to hold the office of Vice President. They claim she lacks the experience dealing with national security, foreign relations, and energy policy that a qualified candidate must possess to be electable. How then, can they reconcile the fact that Palin has delivered on all of these fronts when dealing with energy independence, while Barack Obama has continued to put up roadblocks?

IBD Editorials

Barack Obama says tire inflation would replace all the new oil to be found offshore. How does he know, when he sponsors a bill forbidding us from even finding out how much is there?

Obama, who has flip-flopped into alleged acceptance of offshore drilling as part of some grand energy compromise, has in fact been leading a one-man crusade to keep the American people ignorant about what is at stake in the debate over offshore drilling.

In 2005, he voted to kill legislation that would have measured our offshore reserves.

That effort failed and a preliminary inventory report was produced in February 2006.

But those estimates of what lay beneath the 1.76 billion-acre continental shelf were based on old data obtained from surveys using old exploratory technology.

The Interior Department report stated: “Resource estimates are highly dependent on the current knowledge base, which has not been updated in 20 to 40 years for areas under congressional moratorium . . .”

The reason is that while requiring regular inventory assessments Congress provides no funding to conduct new surveys.

Now Obama is sponsoring S.115, which he calls the “Oil SENSE Act,” which would repeal the 2005 Energy Policy Act's authorization of these inventories.

His bill would prohibit the expanded use of 3-D seismic techniques to search for and measure undersea oil deposits. In October 1999, the Department of Energy reported that with 3-D seismic technology overall impacts of exploration and production are reduced because fewer wells are required to develop the same amount of reserves.

In 1970, a mere 17% of offshore wells struck oil. By 1997 that figure was up to 48%.

With even newer 4-D surveying techniques using satellites, about 70% of 4-D wells find oil. These new techniques allow us to find more oil more quickly with minimal environmental impact.

Yet Barack Obama wants to ban their use forever.

Palin warned the U.S. that Alaska's North Slope reserves peaked in 1988 and has called on Congress to remove restrictions on new drilling in the Arctic National Wildlife Reserve, where 16 billion barrels of oil sit untapped.

Palin knows that Alaska's 700-mile Trans-Alaska oil pipeline now flows at just one-third capacity due to Congress' refusal to lift the moratorium on new drilling.

Palin's also given Congress something it can do now — remove restrictions on drilling for 30 billion barrels in the Chukchi Sea and all the natural gas of Beaufort Sea in Alaska's offshore. As governor, she's already gotten the environmental impact work out of the way so shipments to the Lower 48 can start in as little as a year or two. “Congress can do that for us right now,” she told IBD. Palin knows energy. She's already figured out how to deliver energy to the U.S. without Congress — by championing state legislation to create a 1,712-mile natural gas pipeline across Canada to the U.S.

It was a major feat, negotiating with the Canadian government, educating lawmakers and getting the public behind her. In a decade, the $30 billion project will ship 4.5 million cubic feet of gas a day from the North Slope to Houston's air conditioners, Iowa's farm machines and Boston's winter furnaces.

The ability to negotiate with a foreign government, gather bipartisan support, and produce a plan that addresses short and long term energy needs showcases Palin’s vision and experience. The bonus in this is that she did so with no support from Washington.

Obama’s energy policies continue to obstruct progress on energy independence. Whether dealing with off shore drilling, nuclear energy, or oil shale development, Obama prefers roadblocks to progress.

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