Nearly three weeks after the President’s State of the Union speech, every subject of bi-partisan "common ground" promoted by the President has remained at partisan standoff.
The jobs bill, health care "reform", nuclear power, more free trade agreements, drilling for oil and gas–Obama seeks bi-partisan solutions defined as getting at least some Republicans to agree with him.
For example, even while Obama touted oil and gas drilling in the speech, and this week told Fox’s Major Garrett that he agreed with Republicans on the need for more domestic production, the President’s just released 2011 budget shows decreased Federal royalty revenues from drilling. If increased drilling were Obama’s real policy, the forecast would be for increased royalties.
Worse than the revealing budget forecasts was the action taken back in April 2009 by Interior Secretary Ken Salazar to freeze all new drilling on federal lands.
The Investor’s Business Daily reports that Salazar stopped a Bush plan that would have opened up Atlantic and Pacific offshore areas for exploration and drilling. The Secretary ordered an additional 180 days of "public comment" on the draft Environmental Impact Statement for the Plan. The President himself ordered the freeze to maximize "the opportunity for the public to give us guidance on what they want us to do".
By September, Interior reported receipt of over 530,000 comments from the public. Then the Department and the Administration went silent.
On January 6, 2010, Salazar announced that "more detailed environmental reviews" and "more public input" was required. "More stalling, less drilling" says IBD.
American Solutions (Gingrich’s group) filed a FOIA which forced Interior to reveal that the previous "public comments" favored the drilling plan by more than 2-1. Public opinion polls consistently show about 70% approval for offshore drilling. The state of Louisiana is blessed with 75,000 good paying jobs, and millions in state royalties from offshore drilling in state waters in the Gulf of Mexico. Despite these facts, Obama’s actions are loud and clear.
Obama’s seeming willingness to agree with the Republicans on domestic drilling was just a head fake.
The real energy policy of this administration is a radical shift away from all current energy sources (oil, gas, nuclear, even hydro-electric) to "alternatives": solar, geothermal, and wind. Once again, actions speak louder than words.
In the "Stimulus" bill (Section 1603), Billions have been granted or committed to developing and constructing wind power. There are no grants given or committed to develop safer offshore oil drilling.
Worse, while Obama has pledged repeatedly to generate "green" jobs in the U.S., the "stimulus" money for wind power appears to be stimulating foreign countries and companies. 79% of the first $2.1 Billion went to foreign companies, some government owned.
While the Obama Administration continues to tell the public that "Every dollar from the Recovery Act is going to create jobs for American workers here in the United States", the reality is the opposite. In a study by the think tank Renewable Energy Policy Project, the installation of turbines in the U.S. at facilities receiving Recovery Act grants will have created as many as 6,838 jobs in foreign countries.
For example, the single largest "stimulus" grant for $178 million went to the Texas Gulf Wind Farm in Sarita, Texas. The wind farm is owned by Babcock and Brown, a bankrupt Australian infrastructure and energy investment firm. All 118 wind turbines were manufactured in Japan by Mitsubishi.
New York’s Senator Schumer wrote Energy Department Secretary Chu to object to a $450 Million grant to another wind farm in Texas which planned to buy 240 wind turbines from China.
Companies from Denmark, Brazil, and Spain have been granted hundreds of millions of dollars to compete with American companies in developing wind farms.
A 2009 Wind Energy Association report (cited in USA Today) claimed that the domestic wind turbine firms had lost 1500 manufacturing jobs.
The U.S. contains vast untapped reserves of oil, natural gas, and coal. This immediate source of wealth and jobs (not to mention real energy independence) is kept off limits by the ideological rigidity of the Obama Left. No compromise, no bi-partisanship.
Even if it were rational to put most of our energy development money toward wind power, why construct a program that promises jobs, then ships those jobs overseas ? The Obama "green jobs" program funds foreign manufacturing leaving U.S. workers with only some jobs in U.S. subsidiaries of foreign companies.
Why not condition stimulus grants on the installation of U.S. made turbines ? Why not make export of U.S. made wind turbines tax free ? Germany does that with Mercedes cars–which is why you see Mercedes in nearly every country in the world.
The President is jiving about offshore oil drilling. His stimulus plan with its promise of "green jobs" is either amateur night or an outright fraud.