NEB. Comment: Canada’s National Energy Board (NEB) will host a Roundtable Meeting in Inuvik at the Midnight Sun Recreation Centre from 10 to 16 September 2011 and reimburse certain outsiders up to $300,000 to fly in and sit at the roundtable. We suspect that most of the subsidized visitors to Inuvik will be non-industry advocates. We imagine the September event will merit some discussion at the Inuvik Petroleum Show next month. -dh
Opinion: American Truckers Speak Out On Energy.The trucking industry annually consumes 35 billion gallons of diesel to deliver life’s essentials. Food, clothing, medicine, fuel and virtually all consumer goods are delivered to retail stores by trucks. Each penny increase in the price of diesel fuel costs the trucking industry more than $356 million annually. … While conservation and alternative fuels are two legs of a three-legged stool, our government seems to have turned its back on the third leg of the stool and has failed to aggressively develop our domestic petroleum resources. In fact, domestic petroleum production in the Gulf of Mexico and Alaska is under siege. Even natural gas production is coming under attack by environmental groups.
Comment: In these pages we have documented that virtually every action taken by the Obama Administration toward Alaska has furthered the Federal attack on the Forty-ninth state’s resource-based economy. Now, caught between the Scylla and Charybdis (Photo) of high gasoline prices and a reelection campaign, one can reasonably suspect Obama of offering lip service to economic activity when all the world knows he has done everything possible to shut down Alaska resource development.
One thing that could keep him ‘honest’ is his support for Senator Mark Begich’s concept of a Federal OCS Coordinator, upon which we have commented. If Obama’s troops continue to block permits, stall and create diversions which have the effect of allowing no or limited Alaska OCS activity, any new OCS Coordinator will have a lot of explaining to do and that could affect the 2012 reelection of both Obama and Begich.
In the sense that hope springs eternal (and, that it is now spring), and that we have little choice, we shall reserve judgment on whether this new message from the Administration is a signal of responsible action to come or not. -dh
Weekly Address Saturday, May 14, 2011 Washington D.C.
Recently, there have been signs that the economy is picking up steam. Last month, we saw the strongest job growth in five years, and have added more than three-quarters of a million private sector jobs in just three months. But there are still too many Americans who are either looking for work, or struggling to pay the bills and make the mortgage. Paychecks aren’t getting any bigger, but the cost of everything from groceries to college tuition keeps on rising.
Without a doubt, one of the biggest burdens over the last few months has been the price of gasoline. In many places, gas is now more than $4 a gallon, meaning that you could be paying more than $60 to fill up your tank.
These spikes in gas prices are often temporary, and while there are no quick fixes to the problem, there are a few steps we should take that make good sense.
First, we should make sure that no one is taking advantage of consumers at the pump. That’s why we’ve launched a task force led by the Attorney General that has one job: rooting out cases of fraud or manipulation in the markets that might affect gas prices, including any illegal activity by traders and speculators.
Second, we should increase safe and responsible oil production here at home. Last year, America’s oil production reached its highest level since 2003. But I believe that we should expand oil production in America – even as we increase safety and environmental standards.
To do this, I am directing the Department of Interior to conduct annual lease sales in Alaska’s National Petroleum Reserve, while respecting sensitive areas, and to speed up the evaluation of oil and gas resources in the mid and south Atlantic. We plan to lease new areas in the Gulf of Mexico as well, and work to create new incentives for industry to develop their unused leases both on and offshore.
We’re also taking steps to give companies time to meet higher safety standards when it comes to exploration and drilling. That’s why my Administration is extending drilling leases in areas of the Gulf that were impacted by the temporary moratorium, as well as certain areas off the coast of Alaska. And to streamline that permitting process, I am establishing a new team to coordinate work on Alaska drilling permits.
Finally, the third step we should take is to eliminate the taxpayer subsidies we give to oil and gas companies. In the last few months, the biggest oil companies made about $4 billion in profits each week. And yet, they get $4 billion in taxpayer subsidies each year. Four billion dollars at a time when Americans can barely fill up their tanks. Four billion dollars at a time when we’re trying to reduce our deficit.
This isn’t fair, it makes no sense. Before I was President, the CEOs of these companies even admitted that the tax subsidies made no sense. Well, next week, there is a vote in Congress to end these oil company giveaways once and for all. And I hope Democrats and Republicans come together and get this done.
The American people shouldn’t be subsidizing oil companies at a time when they’re making near-record profits. As a nation, we should be investing in the clean, renewable sources of energy that are the ultimate solution to high-gas prices. That’s why we’re investing in clean energy technology, helping businesses that manufacture solar panels and wind turbines, and making sure that our cars and trucks can go further on a tank of gas – a step that could save families as much as $3,000 at the pump.
These are investments worth making – investments that will save us money, reduce our dependence on foreign oil, and protect the health and safety of our planet. That’s an energy policy for the future, and it’s what I’ll be fighting for in the weeks and months to come.