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Obama, Oil, and Clean Energy

An offshore oil drilling platform off the coast of California is seen in May 2009. (AP)

“Drill, baby, drill!” was the Republican cry in the ’08 presidential campaign.

Now it’s President Barack Obama moving to open up offshore drilling for oil and natural gas, from the Atlantic coastline and the Gulf of Mexico to the north coast of Alaska. 

The president calls offshore drilling a “bridge” to a clean energy future.  Environmentalists want less. Oil companies and Republicans want more. 

The White House appears to want enough to get the votes to pass a climate change bill. And maybe a little political cover. 

This Hour, On Point:  Offshore drilling and Obama’s energy agenda.


Juliet Eilperin, national environmental reporter for The Washington Post. She reported on President Obama’s announcement yesterday that his administration will open up offshore drilling for oil and gas.

Amy Jaffe, director of the Energy Forum at Rice University’s Baker Institute for Public Policy.

Nick D’Arbeloff, president of the New England Clean Energy Council. He’s a veteran entrepreneur and a representative of The Climate Project, which promotes awareness about the science underlying global climate change.

Joshua Freed, director of the Clean Energy Initiative at Third Way, a progressive think tank. He spent five years working for the House Energy and Commerce Committee, and he advised Barack Obama during the presidential campaign. You can read his latest thinking in a new piece in Forbes: “The Global Green Energy Race.”

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  • JP

    MS-NBC online ran a story last night about how Europe is going nuts over electric cars…

    China is building the most extensive and ambitious high-speed rail project on the planet…

    The U.S. is still betting on an oil future and 20th century technology.

    Meanwhile, carbon is still getting moved from its fixed position in the Earth into the atmosphere at a suicidal rate.

    Way to go America!

    Oil wealth is far more worthy than the future of humanity. Innovation and progress is obviously still America’s motto!

  • Brett

    Let’s see, lease new areas for drilling when old areas aren’t being drilled in now, and the new leases don’t kick in until 2017; the new production won’t be in full force until 2030 and will only represent less than 1% of our energy needs…yeah, sounds like a good plan to reduce our reliance on foreign oil. It’s also a great way to devote energy to develop alternative sustainable energy sources…I don’t think the president has any irony insurance, though. But, finally, this will bring about bipartisanship…I’m sure when John Boehner sobers up this morning, he’ll realize how wonderful this is! “Hell, yes, this is right!”

  • JP

    MS-NBC online ran a story last night about how Europe is going nuts over electric cars…
    China is building the most extensive and ambitious high-speed rail project on the planet…
    The U.S. is still betting on an oil future and 20th century technology.
    Meanwhile, carbon is still getting moved from its fixed position in the Earth into the atmosphere at a suicidal rate.
    Way to go America!
    Oil wealth is far more worthy than the future of humanity. Innovation and progress is obviously still America’s motto!

  • Tom

    I agree JP. This is ridiculous. We’re an all-the-eggs-in-one-basket country. Other nations diversify their transportation; the only thing we want to do is build more cars and roads. New oil won’t help lower the cost of gas anyway. It’ll take years to get out of the ground, then it’ll be sold on the international market, and there will still be just as many refineries as there are today, meaning the price will not be any lower. VA will make a little extra money, but if this is about tax revenue CA’s idea to legalize marijuana and then tax it is a far, far better source of tax revenue.

  • http://n/a Adam S.

    I assume this gesture is an opening move by Obama to placate conservatives on the energy front in advance of some other policy goal. My question is what conservatives? The elected conservatives in Congress have seemed utterly intractable; is he playing to conservatives in the populace?

    In the end, I’m not losing any sleep over this (though ANWAR would be a different story). The amount of oil extracted will be a trifle in the grand scheme of global oil consumption.

  • jeffe

    This is a fools errand and Obama is becoming more like a moderate Republican everyday. From the health care bill to Afghanistan and now this. Obama is looking more and more like one term president.

    Speaking of destroying the environment in search of energy
    I urge all people to watch the current program of NOW

    It features the filmmaker Josh Fox and his documentary “Gasland”. In this gas companies are drilling everywhere in search of natural gas and in some areas it is ruining the water supply. So much so that people can turn on their faucets and light them with a lighter and they ignite.

    This is all in the name of chasing down energy at all costs. The problem is the cost here is to high. We can’t live without water.

    This plan smacks of the short sightedness of our nations inability to plan for the future.

    I’m not sure what the answer is here but destroying the East coast for a few years of oil seems pretty dumb to me. I know there are going to be the people who think we should “drill baby drill” and do so anywhere and everywhere to get all the oil and gas we can, but I say this again, in the case of gas drilling you have a very good chance of polluting large water supplies. One example is the water supply for the New York City region which is about 20 million people. If the plan to drill for gas goes through in the and near the water supply and there is an accident well that means 20 million people will have to contend with contaminated water.

    I’ll say this again, we can not live without water, we die. We can survive without natural gas an oil, and it seems to me now is the time to start to figure out how to do it, as hard as this is going to be.

  • XC

    I applaud President Obama’s decision. Off shore oil drilling will help our country to become more energy self-sufficient until more green energy technologies can be made available for mass consumption. Bravo Sir.

  • troll doll

    I cant begin to tell you how disappointed I was to hear about this. I held my nose during:

    1.a wall street bailout with 0 restrictions
    2.a healthcare bill with mandatory payments to private insurers
    3.expansion of private militaries in the middle east.

    unfortunately I cant support this president anymore. I wrote my senators and congressmen and told them I would not support them anymore if this went though. Whats the point if neither side is willing to protect the environment either.

    No Hope

  • Larry

    Another promise bites the dust.

    See video (3:30) at bottom of the article where candidate Obama says as president he will keep in place the moratorium in Florida and around the country that prevents oil companies from drilling off the coasts.


    What happened to the clean renewable energy future?
    Killed by big oil and coal.

  • Dee

    As Sarah Palin would say, that whole Hope and Change thing I voted for in 2008 isn’t working out too well. But it is not a mistake I will make in 2012. Obama is more like Bush III every day. I’m not giving him any more second chances.

  • Jason

    I applaud President Obama’s decision to open up off shore oil drilling, but his opening up of this opens up drilling where very little oil is. There is 14billion barrels of known off shore oil reserves and Obama’s opening up has just allowed about 1 billion of the known reserves to be drilled while locking down the majority of the known reserves that we could go after now.

  • Larry

    We use 25% of the use in the world. The U.S. has 3% of all know oil deposits in the world. Yesterday, Obama lowered that to 2%. (does he know something we don’t?)

    Yes we can drill our way out of foreign dependence on oil.

    The oil coming out of Alaska today goes to Japan.

    The oil companies will take the oil in Alaska and send to Japan or China.

    And the east coast say good by to your tourist industry. As oil fouls the beaches and water.

    You’ve been had America.

  • Bob

    More oil leaks from the un-drilled sea floor in California than the exon Valdez spill every year. If environmentalists were truly for the environment, they would promote drilling this oil so it could be used and not pollute the cost as it has done for years!

  • Bob


    it is strange that we have a billion dollar pipeline from Alaska to Canada & the US if there is no oil flowing south on it. You should really stick to baking cookies since you obviously have more knowledge of that.

  • Beth

    Gah! Tom, why did you invite Ms. Shrill-Interruptor back on the show??

  • BHA

    The Exxon Valdez was full of oil from Prudhoe Bay, Alaska. That IS ‘home’, not imported oil.

  • Jason

    Is this the first bipartisan thing Obama has done while in office? I think so… but it is distracting from the other extreme and distractive policies of the Obama administration.

    For all you Oil haters, What have you personally done to change your Oil consumption?

  • Larry

    Amy Jaffe, the oil representative, is missing the point.

    We wasted 1 trillion dollars in Iraq trying to protect our oil addiction.

    With that money we could have changed our whole economy over to clean renewable energy.

    Instead, we are spreading peanuts on renewable energy while deluding ourselves that we have the oil supplies we simply don’t have.

    The is how the empire falls.

    One giant irreversible, tragic mistake after another.

  • Adam S.

    Amy Jaffe way too exasperated (I’ll refrain from using the shr-ll word), about to shut her (and all of you) off.

  • maryann merigan

    We should treat oil like any other addiction – a 12-step program would probably not recommend taking up a cigar as you quit cigarettes…gum might be a solution. We need to look at the alternatives and cut the addiction as soon as possible…let’s look to Europe and other places where they have been successful in making the change.

  • Jason


    If you double our wind power generation every year for the next 30 years, you will effectively increase the portion of the US Power consumption to about 10% wind… that is not very effective use of energy.

  • Jonathan Gieseler

    I hope the panel addresses three points:

    1) The oil is better left in the ground because it must have more real value in the future than it has today;
    2) Who pays for damages and losses in the case of accident?
    3) offshore oil must be more expensive than imported oil or else we would be using it by now.

  • gas spills

    I would like to point out the fact that natural gas (methane, CH4) is a MUCH more potent greenhouse gas than CO2. The speaker shows their reliance on the “old way of thinking”, where “gas cannot spill”…sure…into the ocean.


  • Zach (Providence)

    I’d like Amy to speak to this point: We can drill all we want now but the fact of the matter is that natural gas and oil are finite sources. At some point we still have a crisis be it now or later. We need to invest now in research and development of renewable sources of energy and move away from something that can be depleted.

  • Doug

    Ms. Jaffe is not discussing the the problems with distribution, extraction, and dangers to clean water with Natural Gas. It is no panacea

  • Larry

    The lady oil shill says “Natural gas does not spill”

    But it does pollute the water supply forever through fracking.

    Imagine whole regions of the continent uninhabitable because the water supply is polluted forever.

    Yes, you can try to live on collected rainwater.

  • BHA

    Jason: “For all you Oil haters, What have you personally done to change your Oil consumption?”

    For one (two?) we bought a Prius in 2004 and a second in 2006. Best cars I have ever owned. I have saved over 2,000 gallons of gas (and over $6K) in the ’04 vs other similar sized cars I would have purchased.

    And you?? What have you done to reduce your energy consumption??

  • Peter Smyth

    We did a pro-con project/debate on this very topic in an Environmental Studies class.
    So given all the environmental issues, could this be Obama calling out the Republicans both on the Drill Baby Drill thing but also on the We won
    t Cooperate with You stance? It is almost a checkmate move and it also lays the groundwork for building support for a long-term energy policy.

  • http://www.lit.org/author/fritzwilliam F. William Bracy

    “The Professor” just revealed her true colors. She denies being an oil industry apologist, but her positioning on wind power (the wind blows at night, but our lights are off) is the most laughable argument ever heard from a self-described expert.

  • Doug

    Another thought for Ms. Jaffe is are her estimates for “50 yrs of supply utilizing existing technologies or does it require extracting “known” quantities with unknown technologies?

  • BHA

    “Natural gas does not spill”

    No, but it does explode. Talk to the people in Middletown, Connecticut.

  • Joe

    Tom –

    Not far enough? Too far? It remains unclear.

    What President Obama’s announcement does reinforce is that the ENERGY EFFICIENCY is the most affordable, most reliable way forward, offering the most jobs and best national security solution while addressing climate change.

    The private sector should continue to pursue narrowing the gap between fossil and alternative fuels; government should hedge bets with more domestic oil and gas in the interim; but, we should be investing heavily in studying energy efficiency, what works and how to get energy consumers on board.

  • Anita

    The idea that it has to be one or the other form of energy seems rather narrow. Our insatiable need for energy in the this country to support our lifestyles means we need multiple sources of energy and that includes oil and natural gas as well as wind and solar etc.

    It is about time we drill in our own waters, as one of the energy sources, instead of relying of foreign energy sources.

  • Jon Van Kuiken

    We need to charge the actual price for oil and gas: remove the subsidies for the oil companies to produce and sell it and tax it to cover the military and diplomatic costs of oil production in other parts of the world. If we actually paid the true costs of the oil at the pump, our transition to real conservation efforts, renewable and alternative energy sources would happen much faster.

  • jeffe

    This is BS. Amy Jaffe is wrong. Where does she get these statistics? Also she completly negates the fact that the oil will go on the market and will be sold there. It will have no effect on our situation.

    Also drilling for natural gas involves the use of toxic chemicals and these do spill.

    Amy should go and stay on the Danish island of Samsø
    which is energy efficient. If they can do this on an island in Denmark in the North Sea can we not do this here?


    Amy Jaffe is wrong about gas not being toxic.
    Natural gas has plenty of toxic offshoots natural gas has methane in it and this is toxic.
    The methods of drilling for natural gas on land is anything but clean. At each stage of production and delivery, tons of toxic volatile compounds, including benzene, toluene, ethylbenzene, xylene, etc., and fugitive natural gas (methane), escape and mix with nitrogen oxides from the exhaust of diesel-driven, mobile and stationary equipment to produce ground-level ozone. This is form the article listed below.


    Man is she annoying.

  • http://lisa.oliner.net Lisa Oliner

    I have property in Texas where oil was found last year, but the company couldn’t find a buyer and went under. Why aren’t we using every possible resource on land in our country first?

  • michael

    Bringing together Climate Legislation and Drilling legislation is like stepping on the gas pedal and the brake pedal at the same time!


  • cory

    America won’t exit the oil paradigm until it is more profitable to do something else. Under-regulated capitalism is concerned with profits within the business cycle.

    Money talks and all other concerns walk.

    My hope is that Obama is using this to leverage something useful from the republicans.

  • cory

    Good comment above from the enlightened Texan. I think we should begin by cutting down all of the trees to power steam turbines. After that we need to get after the coal… (fade to banjo strum).

  • BHA

    Very good point Mr. Van Kuiken.

    Add to the costs you mentioned:
    When people talk about the environmental cost of electricity, they always mention the cost during production (there is none during transportation). But they NEVER mention the environmental cost of pumping, transporting and refining oil then the subsequent transportation of the gasoline.

  • Frank Boimare

    This move is not about energy. It is about money.

    The revenue from oil lease sales is the United States’ second largest source of income. (The IRS is the first source.)

    This money will come to the U.S. after the next oil lease sale by the Minerals Management Service (i.e., within a year). This is the only immediate result from this decision. It is a meaningless gesture in terms of bridging the energy gap, as most of this oil wwill not be available for at least 8-10 years.

  • Steve T

    We stopped drilling, and duh…no more spills. That’s why there have not been any spills. We cut way back, so should the rest of the world.

    Stop sucking the blood out of the Earth!

    Don’t let em fool you It’s about big money,new taxes, and lot’s O’ bull.

  • http://formulahybrid.mcgill.ca/ Jeff Turner

    I keep hearing people say that we’re not going to transition to renewable sources of energy and swap over to electric vehicles over night, and that this transition is going to take a long time. People are using this as reasoning to expand fossil fuel extraction. This is rather circular! The biggest thing [I]slowing down[/I] our transition to a cleaner energy future is the artificially low price of fossil fuels. If we find more oil to burn at a lower price, it’s only going to send the market viability of these cleaner options further into the distant future.

  • Tom from Boston

    I would be in favor of allowing more offshore drilling, but only if the oil companies were required to invest an equal amount in renewable energies. Surely they could craft a bill with this requirement.

    The only other circumstance I would be in favor of this is if national security was at risk.

  • Larry

    it is strange that we have a billion dollar pipeline from Alaska to Canada & the US if there is no oil flowing south on it. You should really stick to baking cookies since you obviously have more knowledge of that.
    Posted by Bob

    The Alaska oil pipeline terminates in the port of Valdez Alaska.


    There it is put on tankers and shipped to Japan.

    There is no oil pipeline to the lower 48 from Alaska.

  • http://www.vpowerhouse.com Pat

    As the US founders we may need to look at Chinese research with NH4 (Ammonia). We could switch over
    to Hydrogen much quicker since much Nh4 infrastructure is all ready in place for fertilizer production in the midwest. Rather than over fertilize for corn based ethanol we directly burn the fertilizer in our Autos.

    Note there is some US universities on this as well.

  • Dennis Kerr

    Everybody knows that gas prices are going up now matter what we do. Republicans want to blame Democrats for that.

    Oil companies are anti-capitalist. They want to maintain a centralized economy around importing oil to capture tax expense deductions (that is how we subsidize them, per the sierra club quote).

    Because using oil is immensely more complicated than electricity from free wind and sunshine, they are able to limit competition from smaller companies who could hire more people in a free market way.

    But oil has political clout that could be misused to throw clean energy off the track and make us fall further behind India, China and Europe. This compromise might only have one upside, to have a rhetorical response to the rhetorical lies of the President’s foes.

    When the price of oil goes through the roof, Democrats, and our President, need to have these answers:

    1. We worked to get gas guzzling clunkers off the road.

    2. We worked to give tax incentives for saving gas.

    3. We worked to decentralize the world energy economy away from pollution and slave labor oil. (there are well paid slaves in Africa and the middle east who have no other upward mobility, representation, or a day off to attend Mosque.)

    4. We worked to remove subsidies for retailers to use our oil to take our jobs away. (when a retailer takes the import expenses off their taxes, low wage earners have to make up that difference)

    5. We worked to manufacture energy efficient equipment here at home, instead of having to burn oil to deliver those here. (and take those expenses off their taxes for us to pay the difference) Almost all Chinese workers do not have a day off to go to the Buddhist temple each week neither.

    6. We don’t want to get blamed for messing up the middle east wars, even though Democrats didn’t start them.

    Unfortunately, environmental sustainability is the Cinderella stepchild for energy and economic sustainability.

    As for oil spills, one terrorist attack on an oil rig can cause HUGE problems and much sorrow for everyone. How many windmills would terrorists have to attack before it bothers the energy grid, the economy or even bother our psyche? Quite a bit more effort would be needed by terrorists to bother us than our current situation.

  • Vinny

    Can we clarify the numbers? Your guest from Houston (who “does not represent the oil industry”) suggested that “what has already been released” to drilling will provide 10% ~ 15% of our consumption for “like 50 years”. This amounts to around 730 million barrels per year for 50 years (36.5 billion barrels total). A recent article in the Times puts this number closer to 4 billion barrels (http://www.nytimes.com/2010/04/01/business/energy-environment/01drill.html?src=mv).

  • Tom Dempsey

    The answer is blowing in the wind. And the sun shines down every day. Solar and Wind can accoplish it all. If Obama needs to give then drilling to get a bipartisan vote, so be it. But the answers are not off-shore.

  • Margaret McCasland

    Prof Jaffe: “The wind only blows at night . . . we drive in the day.” Exactly the advantage of electric cars: they are a great way to STORE as well as use wind power. We charge them at night when we are not driving.
    BTW, a professor who studies energy should know that, even using electricity from coal power, an electric car produces less heat-trapping gases than an internal combustion car.
    However there is NO need to use mountaintop removal to get at coal, even during a transition.

  • JM

    Glad there is somewhat of a balance in the arguments, what
    often seems to be missing in the discussion are relevant numbers. To my fellow liberals I would ask them to consider there will have to be a period of transition and it can’t occur overnight, what makes sense in light of all our interests. Remember the attempts for alternative energy technologies after the OPEC price increases during
    the Carter Administration, the minute the prices dropped the interest in alternative energy evaporated in the US. It did not in Brazil and through continued effort they are now energy independent, though they are not that green yet.

  • Joe

    China spending $34 bill, US only $18 bill…but what is the load growth comparison? Demand in China is growing like CRAZY and there is no base already, so they will install anything, anywhere. Not a valid comparison.

  • Tom M.

    We live in a society of need for speed. NASCAR propels 1000 horse power goliaths at the rate of 2 miles per gallon and pay the drivers millions of dollars for doing so. Then they pack thier semi’s with thier equipment and haul thier circus around the country for the next weekend. Our coutry races motorcycles,, airplanes, dragsters, boats, snowmobiles, buses, yes buses, they race semi trucks, go karts even riding lawn mowers. Is it possible to go to the Daytona 500 and see they parking lot full of “green” autos, but still have those gas guzzlers buzzing around the track. double standard Ii think. most food travels 500 miles to get to a persons plate, then 17% of that food goes into the trash can and back on the road to the land fill. To many children don’t ride the school bus,, hand delivered by thier parents, robbed of the chance to know what mass trans is. The U.S. must wake up and make individual change and choose to get itself off of fossil fuel use.

  • evan

    The US uses 25,000,000 barrels of oil per day. The 1,000,000 figure used by the “expert” is only 4% at most. You asked the correct question: how long will it last at that rate? It’s a drop in the proverbial bucket.

  • Steve

    The statement that “there hasn’t been a spill in over 15 years” is irrelevant. Can you guarantee that there won’t be one again? What has been done to guarantee there won’t be one again?

    Oil is too valuable a resource as a chemical feed-stock to burn even if we find enough to last for 2000 years.

    While it is not easy to accept for many, we MUST generate as much electricity from nuclear power as safely as possible as soon as possible.

    We also MUST begin building mass transportation infrastructure immediately. The part of this that is not understood is that the systems must be complete at the beginning; building a pilot project to “see how it is accepted” will almost certainly fail. Mass transport must be convenient before it is accepted. Rail and buses must run often and must run on a 24/7 schedule to be accepted and used.

    Steve in Nashville

  • jeff farber

    The US uses 100 times the energy of the average global citizen which is no way sustainable now or in the future, and with all the interest in the rest of the world to emulate the American lifestyle, will an Energy policy discuss reining our ravenous lifestyles? Everyone talks about growing our economy ( which is at the bottom of our current energy problems) while trying to become envrionmentally sustainable when the truth is the two are really likely incompatible. What about a steady state economy or is that politically impossibility?

  • Ew

    I don’t understand the idea that this drilling is ‘security for America’ – if China, let’s say, is willing to pay more for each barrel that comes out of US soil – isn’t the company that drills going to sell to that highest bid – and what if that bid isn’t a US customer?

  • http://www.filipinoboston.blogspot.com akilez

    Funny reading all these wanna BE SAVE THE WORLD comments.

    First of all the drilling hasn’t started yet and probably it will take another years to make those off shore platform working by then We have already made thousands of hybrid or electric cars.

    You should rather be concern on everyday used of Plastics, Silicon and Micro chips.

    Let me ask you how many cell phones do you have in your house unused or old computers,TV’s, electrical wires. etc etc that are impossible to get rid off?

    I bet you have a lot and me too I have at least 4 old cell phones that I stop using just to be “on the trend” with you guys on blackberrys or Ipod.

    There are more Plastic floating in our rivers,lakes or ocean than Oil.

    And there is one Big Island in the Pacific that is made of Plastics.

  • Tom M.

    Sorry for the spelling errors, two broken fingers.

  • Larry

    I don’t understand the idea that this drilling is ’security for America’ – if China, let’s say, is willing to pay more for each barrel that comes out of US soil – isn’t the company that drills going to sell to that highest bid – and what if that bid isn’t a US customer?
    Posted by Ew

    Exactly. The oil industry shills will not tell you this or even lie but sometimes they will say “oil is fungible”.

    Which means, we are going to sell it to the highest bidder.

    China will get the oil and we will get the spills and pollution. Welcome to what it means to be a third world country.

  • NJ

    Let’s see…

    Let’s go after more fossil fuels in increasingly inaccessible and environmental risky areas as part of a transition away from fossil fuels.

    What am i missing?

    Drill more oil, supplies increase, cost drops, use goes up, more CO2 goes into the atmosphere.

    What am i missing?

    Risk six or so years’ worth of supply for environmental risks that could last decades and possible destroy coastal economies and resources.

    What am i missing?

    In the 70s: We still need fossil fuels, renewables are still 20–30 years away from being practical.

    In the 80s: We still need fossil fuels, renewables are still 20–30 years away from being practical.

    In the 90s: We still need fossil fuels, renewables are still 20–30 years away from being practical.

    Today: We still need fossil fuels, renewables are still 20–30 years away from being practical.

    What am i missing?

    Oh, yeah, our national government is essentially the enforcement wing for BIg Corporate Interests, and not one thing will change unless a lot of people get very active and do what needs to be done: massive campaign reform; eliminating corporate personhood, and developing political parties that put the interests of citizens and preservation of the environment ahead of private profit.

    Obummer is serving his corporate puppet masters every bit as effectively, if more slyly, as Dubya.

  • http://www.filipinoboston.blogspot.com akilez

    By the way The Great Pacific Garbage Patch is the name of “plastic” island.

  • Brett

    Ms. Jaffee, the professor, said these new drill sites will produce 40% of our needs, then she said 10%, 15%…and, as she stated when asked for how long: “for years and years!” Sounds as though she was using the dart board method of data collection. She was marginally less annoying than the last time she was on the show, although her involvement was more orchestrated this time so as not to come into direct contact with much opposition to her views. Cutting her some slack for being unfamiliar with talk radio last time isn’t a pass for this time!

  • http://www.filipinoboston.blogspot.com akilez

    If you fight the Oil industry like General Motors did with their EV-1 car in the 90s you will never win.

    Drilling is not the Problem.

    The Problem is You and Me!!!

  • http://www.WarblerPress.com Pete in SC

    I think decisions such as this “drill, baby drill” one will very quickly become moot in the not-too-distant future. After all we do live in a turbo-capitalist country. When China, Europe and all the rest start pulling ahead of us capital-wise with all the new electric technologies they’re going full speed ahead on it will behoove us to catch up. Dinosaurs don’t tend to compete well in the capitalist arena & our fixation on petroleum is quickly turning us into the brontosaurus of countries energy-wise. And until that happens we’ve moved right downtown to keep our fuel costs for driving to a minimum & our grocery stores are so close that biking to those is just as easy as turning the old ignition key.


  • http://www.WarblerPress.com Pete in SC

    Great post, NJ! I heartily agree & we do need to make the environment THE issue. The French Revolution for all its violence and terror did definitely change that country’s direction & end the status quo. I’m not saying we need something as violent as that, but a revolution of some kind may just be what it takes to end once and for all this action and failure to jettison our obsession with fossil fuels proven to be the ultimate end of the planet.


  • justanother

    United States, this country reminds me of a compulsive gambler or a drug addict, they need to keep using the last resource to keep themselves high, even it is so self-destructive.

  • Mark H.

    Amy Jaffe is confused about what constitutes “drilling at home” vs. transporting oil by tanker. She seems not to understand that the Exxon Valdez was departing a home port with a tanker load of oil. Drilling in Alaska is “drilling at home” AND it necessarily requires oil tanker transport. Whether or not her numbers (her claim that Obama’s drilling scheme may provide up to 40% of US oil consumption for 50 years!) are accurate is anybody’s guess.

  • Mark H.

    Another caller is now making a black-and-white distinction between “drilling at home” and transporting oil by tanker!! Why can these contributors not understand that drilling in Alaska is a commitment that involves oil tankers?

  • justanother

    I hope this is only a April Fools’ Day joke about offshore drilling.

    Tomorrow when I wake up, I wish to hear President Obama says: “Fooled you, didn’t I?”, then I’ll be even more confused by that, did he mean fooled us to elect him? :-(

  • Stacked

    My God you people have short memories, and are obsessed with partisan politics, idol worship, and race! You’re really, really awful people; seriously. That said, this has not a darn thing to do with Democrats, or Republicans. This is about China! China wanted us to do this under Bush, but it got stopped. Now China holds so many T-Bills of ours that they get to TELL us what to do. Obama had to do this or the Chinese would dump their T-Bills, or at least enough of them to send the message. This is not placation of any partisan philosophy. This is blackmail, by the Chinese, and YES, the oil will be going to them.

  • Charles Brooks

    Ms. Meyers stated that increases in domestic oil production will be offset by reductions in oil imported from the gulf states. She correctly stated that this offset will result in a sizable percentage reduction of imports. She makes an assumption that is unsound (despite being a professor). The assumption is that all imports will be offset by decreases in imports from the gulf. Most of our imports are not from the gulf states, but gulf oil is quite cheap to produce compared to production costs from Canadian oil shales or from off-shore production. Refiners will seek out the cheapest feed oil for their production of refined products. Thus our off shore oil and Canadian imports will be less competitive than the crude sources form the gulf.

    Thus, Ms. Meyers is pitching a solution that she knows is hype.

  • Beth Milham

    The day we heard about Obama’s offshore drilling decision, the RI Public Utilities Commission vetoed, and basically killed, a proposal to build a small demonstration wind farm off Block Island, because the price for the power negotiated with National Grid was too high. That price is high, because the financial interests backing the developers required it to be so, to risk such a long-term and probably contested project. (Example: Cape Wind fighting for more than eight years to build a wind power project, which has passed all environmental impact tests, off Cape Cod.) As far as I know, federal guarantees for wind projects are only two years–not enough time to make it worth the financial risk to invest in such a long-term project.

    So here we are again, stuck in business-as-usual mode. The clock is running out, and we’re still fiddling! (Pardon the badly mixed metaphors.)

  • Charlotte

    I love it when Ms. Jaffe asserts that we do not use energy during the night. Another daytime office worker who never pulled files on the swing shift in the old FBI Identification Building the night L. Patrick Grey III was fired; or done a stat tissue crossmatch for a cadaveric liver transplant at 2:00am after a St. Patrick’s Day motorcycle accident; or swept and mopped a restaurant kitchen after closing time; or pulled the night shift in the Plant Department’s steam room on campus; or performed night shift maintenance on a live air defense computer system; or worked at a call center for any business that runs 24/7/365.

    We use energy — perhaps at fluctuating levels throughout the day — but nevertheless 24/7/365. And we need workable solutions that will function 24/7/365.

    Politics being the dirty business that it is, what is my greedy little Green side of the equation getting in return for pumping this oil and gas? Please don’t offer me any more sleazy securities bankers operating under an administration that orders its own SEC minion to do nothing for his entire tenure in office. I want an alternate energy policy with muscle and banking reform with teeth to finance it.

  • Ned D.

    So, why didn’t President Bush lift the bans when he was President? or am I missing something obvious, here?

  • jeffe

    Gee Stacked interesting point. I see you can’t leave out the nasty remarks. The one thing you forgot, China can’t dump US treasury bonds without doing damage to their own economy. Nice try but it’s not so simple.

  • Judy

    I agree with Brett…” lease new areas for drilling when old areas aren’t being drilled “. I listened to an interview with Kentucky’s John Yarmuth who said he would have preferred that the new leases had a “use it or lose it” provision, specifically because the oil companies have not used the current leases they already have. In addition, in places where they have explored and found oil and drilled, they have opted to then cap them, preferring to keep the oil in the land so that they can charge more for the oil already being produced because of the “shortage”. It’s better to sell us oil which only costs $5.00/barrel (oil already at the refiners) rather than have to sell more expensive (to them) oil…optimizing their already obscene profits.

  • De Beta

    What about the Bakken Basin in North Dakota and Montana. USGS even says there is up to 2 trillion, yes trillions of barrels.

    The U. S. Geological Service issued a report in April 2008 that only scientists and oil men knew was coming, but man was it big. It was a revised report (hadn’t been updated since 1995) on how much oil was in
    this area of the western 2/3 of North Dakota , western South Dakota , and extreme eastern Montana.
    That’s enough crude to fully fuel the American economy for 2041 years straight. And if THAT didn’t throw you on the floor, then this next one should – because it’s from 2006!

    U. S. Oil Discovery- Largest Reserve in the World
    Stansberry Report Online – 4/20/2006
    Hidden 1,000 feet beneath the surface of the Rocky Mountains lies the largest untapped oil reserve in the world. It is more than 2 TRILLION barrels. On August 8, 2005 President Bush mandated its extraction. In three and a half years of high oil prices none has been extracted. With this motherload of oil why are we still fighting over off-shore drilling?

    They reported this stunning news: We have more oil inside our borders,than all the other proven reserves on earth. Here are the official estimates:

    - 8-times as much oil as Saudi Arabia

    - 18-times as much oil as Iraq

    - 21-times as much oil as Kuwait

    - 22-times as much oil as Iran

    - 500-times as much oil as Yemen

    - and it’s all right here in the Western United States .

    HOW can this BE? HOW can we NOT BE extracting this? Because the
    environmentalists and others have blocked all efforts to help America
    become independent of foreign oil! Again, we are letting a small group of
    people dictate our lives and our economy…..WHY?

    James Bartis, lead researcher with the study says we’ve got more oil in this very compact area than the entire Middle East -more than 2 TRILLION barrels untapped. That’s more than all the proven oil reserves of crude oil in the world today, reports The Denver Post

  • Alex

    Sarah Palin should reciprocate and call for the universal health care, baby, universal health care.

  • John Kroener

    So let’s see, China is ‘whooping’ us in alternative energy development? Strange that the guest claims that China loves the fact that we’re dithering on a carbon tax (cap and trade), when China doesn’t seem to need a ‘price on carbon’ to invest in alternative energy.

    China will be thrilled if cap and tax goes into effect. It will make us less competitive, and further weaken the economy by making everything more expensive.

  • Stacked

    Sorry I hurt your feeling Jeffe, you sensitive guy you. But, again, you are wrong. China has been de-coupling from the Dollar, and is rolling out a new gold-backed Chinese currency. It’s not a year ago Jeffe. It’s not 3 years ago. What? You thought the Chinese were just sitting around doing nothing since the collapse? They see their opportunity and they are just about ready to make their move. They don’t need us anymore, like they used to.

  • twenty-niner

    “China can’t dump US treasury bonds without doing damage to their own economy. Nice try but it’s not so simple.”

    Agreed, it’s more complicated. The real question is not whether they are dumping existing holdings, but whether, in the face of record deficits, they are willing to accumulate more. The bond market seems to be providing a clue. The yield on the 10-year is up 90 basis points since December. With growth not nearly brisk enough to stoke fears of inflation, demand for US debt may be waning.

    “Sell-off in US Treasuries raises sovereign debt fears”


  • david

    De Beta,
    You beat me to the punch on the Bakken formatin info. The people in Washington know about this deposit, it sits under US Government owned land. It will never be drilled, for a reason. There is alot of politics involved here.
    Candidate Obama was totally against offshore drilling, made a promise to the people in Fla. he would never allow it to happen. Made fun of Mccain about his desire to drill. Made fun of Palin went she did also. The new declaration is a smoke screen. Political move. He canceled leases in Alaska that companies were ready to start drilling on. He is not concerned about our needs for cheap energy. What is the real reason behind this new revelation?????
    Cap and trade bill or cap and tax. Obama knows he needs Repubs. support in the Senate to pass. He is smoke screening the public into thinking he is trying to do a good thing for the people, when in truth, he is trying to bribe some dumb Repubs. into voting for this another noose taxing deal on us the people.
    Obamacare is now passing gas that really stinks, but as Pelosi said, we will have to wait to see whats in it.
    Cap and tax will raise your home electric bill big time, gas at the pump will climb and have we forgotten what happened the last time gas hit $4 a gallon????
    De Beta, get ready for the liberals to eat you alive about your post.
    Energy is not the issue here, it is POWER and CONTROL and how to maintain it, Plain and Simple!!!

  • Gordon

    Why does Amy Jaffe have to be so insufferably abrasive and condescending? Horrible.

  • Lindsey Batchelder

    The panelist Amy Jaffe lied about spills from platforms. Just do a search on “500,000 barrels spilled from Hurricane Ike” which happened in the Gulf of Mexico during September, 2008.

  • Kk

    Ms. Jaffe’s contention that there has not been a big spill in recentmemory is misguided at best. The effects of catastropic spills last decades.

  • http://www.cngasusa.com Horacio Terzaghi

    What is the real purpose of drilling the sea for oil ? Who benefits from it ? Is it a sensible contribution for US economy ? If yes, when ? if the drilling start today we need at least 7 years to rip the benefits. And what about the greenhouse effect ?
    The CNG technology is the real, proven and today solution for our economy (is cheaper and create million of new jobs), for our greenhouse effect (almost zero emission), the only alternative for diesel (no electric car may move a truck). Is American, we have our resources for next 100 years.
    One doesn’t need an economist or a Federal Reserve study to know what to do. Simple logic would dictate that America must reduce foreign oil imports and adopt a strategic long-term comprehensive energy policy. Again, the CNG technology is the answer today for our economical and environmental issues.

  • jeffe

    Stacked you are wrong. They can’t afford to dump Treasury bonds as it hurts them if they get devalued.
    You seem to think that the Chinese are not hurt by what happens to this country financially. You also forget that the Chinese government has been keeping the yuan artificially low to keep it’s exports up. If they were to be on the market like everyone else they would be in worse shape than they are. They also spent billions their stimulus, which worked.

    What is a real threat is the lowering our rating, which is AAA right now but can be lowered if we are not careful. The same is true for a host European nations.

    What you say does not hurt my feelings in the least, I find the petty asides to be the sign of an immature individual.

    Amy Jaffe spent most of her time making a lot of false statements without being challenged at all. Drilling for oil causes leeks. I use to live in Scotland during there big oil rush in the 80′s and new a few people who worked on rigs in the North Sea, talk about a hard job. Well rigs leak all the time. There is oil all over the place and some of it ends up in the ocean.

    She was stretching the facts to fit her agenda.
    As far as Gas drilling well to say that it’s green is absurd, natural gas is a fossil fuel.

  • jeffe

    I don’t see how drilling for oil has anything to do with China and our debt. Being that the we do not have nationalized oil companies. I don’t see how any of this would help the national debt. Unless we taxed the oil companies for the windfall.

    As for selling oil to China, it seems we already do that.
    It also seems that the Chinese get a lot of oil from Iran as well.

  • Rachel

    Did not catch the whole show, but heard the caller named Joan call in regarding one of my biggest pet peeves. Our gov’t subsidizes things that slowly kill us, therefore throwing the good possibilities under the bus, such as the ethanol that could be made available from easily sustained crops. I am even more greatly distressed that hard working Americans are being added to the list of people who could avoid economic suffering while simultaneously benefitting our nation and our environment. Is there a non-profit that is working toward gathering the $75,000 she mentioned in order to apply for government subsidies for these more beneficial energy options?

  • Solomon

    Amy Myers Jaffe was very abrasive and defensive. She lied about a whole lotta of issues. When she bragged that she is a professor at Rice University, I was thinking she was an Egineering professor and the woman had only a B.A. degree. I have no idea, how she even got a position at rice with just a B.A. in Arabic. She is a light-weight much like that cross-legged lady on TV commercial about Energy companies opening job opportunities above ground.

  • Roberto

    Odd to announce only the coastal exploration — where is O’s full energy plan? I cannot fathom why we are not making “inefficiency” a national agenda item.

    Use economics to force changes in behavior:
    –Invest heavily in public transport;
    –Raise gas taxes to prompt ridership;
    –Ticket speeders on highways (no one goes 65 except in traffic; the new average is 75-80 in NE!)
    –Implement “peak toll” systems like Singapore and London in urban areas to spread traffic flow to more hours of the day;
    –Give tax credits to businesses which establish successful virtual days for employees;
    –Pass/enforce “green” and “building stretch codes”; –”Luxury tax” broad categories of gas hogs, oversized vehicles, ski-doos, power boats, light airplanes, four-wheelers — unless you have legit agriculture or commercial biz/license, etc.

    My electric usage is down a full 30% yr/over/yr — just by using CFLs, clothes line (sunny days only), turning off unnec. lights, keeping heat down and A/C as best we can, using shades to block/allow sun appropriately, and unplugging unused chargers, etc.

    That wld/be huge if multiplied by, say 25mm homes — aggressive goal, but still only one quarter of US residences. Why isn’t O championing these ideas??

  • justanother

    We the people don’t have much power in terms of “voting”. Even we vote, the people we voted into office just won’t do things like they’ve promised on their campaign trail. Even if they tried to, still come out with a half baked or even worse plan, like health care bill.

    The only power we have is to “boycott” or cut down those consumptions we are up against. This world is full of many good folks, but too many BAD politicians & profiteers. Unfortunately our goodwill sometimes only put a small dent on a much bigger problems that only we will see the impact of improvement when government leads by implementing tighter regulations.

    Unless we unite, but how?

  • http://hectorvila.com Hector Vila

    President Obama is not drilling for oil because it’s politically expedient. He is not drilling for oil because it reduces our reliance on foreign oil — nothing can do that, and certainly not with the oil deep beneath US waters. President Obama is not drilling for oil to prove to environmentalists that an environmentalist president can extract oil without harm, while simultaneously developing green technologies and reversing economic stagnation. President Obama’s decision to drill for oil is a military decision.


  • Brett

    Hector, I read your piece. It is written as if you have uncovered or revealed something not apparent. I think we are all aware that military use is part of our oil consumption needs. As much as you support your ideas with a few facts and so on, the piece just isn’t that compelling. Even armchair journalism needs to think of itself as presenting something the reader can’t find elsewhere or at least as presenting something in an expository manner that prompts the reader to re-think his/her position.

    Nice try at advertising your blog, though!

  • http://hectorvila.com/ Hector Vila

    Dear Brett, thank you for your comment; however, armchair or not, the debate or conversation we have here — the On Point story — is exactly how we are “meant” to discuss this, paying no mind to the real story that, according to you, everyone seems to know. What is interesting to me is how many people, as you say, “know the story” but what we do is discuss environmentalism and in-between, throw (verbal) stones at others making discoveries or simply speaking, which is a fundamental right, I thought. I love, most dearly, attempts to demean, to address (or is it dress down?) especially, because these, too, are part of the “allowed” discourse that keeps us from actively involving ourselves in the actions required of us to ensure we are addressing the real issues — closing down of the eco system, militarism and violence, civil liberties, and on and on. How useless and myopic to criticize for speaking — this is a huge part of our inability to change our perspectives, which is the hardest task of all and what will make or break us. Thanks for your thoughts, Brett!

  • Brett

    Sorry if I offended you, Hector, but you were not simply stating an opinion but referring people to your blog, which you obviously consider to be some type of amateur journalism. You even wrote your comment on this blog as a kind of tag to get people to go over to see what you were really talking bout. (You kind of whetted curiosity by making it seem as though you had something truly to reveal, yet you didn’t.) You aren’t simply commenting but trying to drum up readership for your blog. If you had discussed the military aspect of oil dependence on this blog and that you also had your own blog to share, it might not have come across as a pretense of journalism (by your printing the first paragraph of the thing here and providing a link to read the rest). There are other people on this blog who have a discussion here and offer a link to their own blogs and it comes off as sharing.

    I was respectfully being critical of the way you chose to express yourself, which I also have a right to. Besides, I was not snide and sarcastic as you have shown to be in your tone to me (I just simply didn’t find your “article” compelling). You’ve written an “article” you invite people to read and become sarcastic with them when they say they didn’t like it?!? Who knows, I might have ventured to read another of your “articles” if you had shown some maturity. If you want to be a “journalist” amateur or not, you’re gonna have to develop more of a thick skin.

    Also, do you really think people don’t consider oil for military purposes as part of our consumption needs? The fact is, as long as we have a military, we will have an oil consumption need of some kind. Unless you’ve “uncovered” plans for a solar powered tank? So, you must realize that I wasn’t disagreeing with you but showing some disdain for a kind of shameless self-promotion. Even your response to me here seems to have a tone of some exaggerated sense of importance, as if there is a wrong being righted or a finger is being put on the crux of a problem. Sorry you don’t have readership at your blog, Hector, truly, but this is not the problem of On Point blog readers to endure.

  • Brett

    “paying no mind to the real story that, according to you, everyone seems to know.”
    -Hector Vila

    I suppose if our military dependence on oil is the only true, “real” story then all of the other stories are “fake” stories, which seems to indicate a desire on your part to see a conspiracy, that environmental issues, or reducing foreign oil needs, or political maneuvers are just cooked up to distract us from the “real” issue. You see, Hector, you’ve not made a case for this using any fact-based evidence that there has been a smokescreen. If you had some evidence of that nature, you’d have something more compelling. I guess I’m disagreeing with your opinion, and that makes for the problem? I don’t have a bloated sense of the things I write, or anyone else writes, here, particularly the half-baked conspiracy theories as being of any real importance.

  • JR in KS

    I almost choked when I heard “Rice University” and “not beholden to the oil industry” in the same sentence. You can’t let statements like that go by. Such statements are terrible form of disinformation. To not challenge this statement is an example of the mistakes that are ruining journalism in America. For Jaffe to make this statement was to hurt her own credibility, and for OnPoint to not challenge this statement made the whole article less credible. I know it’s hard to catch them all, but this was a whopper.

  • anyone

    Interesting facts:

    Solar hot water capacity added 2007:
    China: 80.2%
    USA: 0.5%

    Wind power capacity added 2009:
    China: 13 GW
    USA: 9.9 GW

    With the $180 billion spent on AIG and its bonuses, one could have financed 600 Oerlikon thinfilm photovoltaic factories, which produce 96 GW per year. That is 96 GW every single year!
    (As a comparison all nuclear power plants in the US have a total capacity of about 100 GW).

    France is powering its hot water mostly with electricity at night, because heat energy can be stored cheaply. Hot water, heating and air conditioning requires the most power and is all heat energy which can be provided with electricity produced from wind power.

    By 2020 Germany will produce 150 billion kWh of wind energy per year. One million electric cars require only about 2-3 billion kWh (less than 2% of the wind energy produced).

  • justanother

    Hector, thanks for sharing your web blog and your thoughts!

  • http://www.carkeysdirect.com.au/ Transponder Keys Sunshine Coas

    this is very useful post

Aug 29, 2014
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Ukrainian forces guard a checkpoint in the town of Mariupol, eastern Ukraine, Thursday, Aug. 28, 2014. Ukraine's president Petro Poroshenko called an emergency meeting of the nation's security council and canceled a foreign trip Thursday, declaring that "Russian forces have entered Ukraine," as concerns grew about the opening of a new front in the conflict.  (AP)

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