Hobson 4/18 Margaret is a writer for E&E Publishing. “OFFSHORE DRILLING: Obama's development plans gain little political traction in years since Gulf spill,” 2012, http://www.eenews.net/public/energywire/2012/04/18/1
President Obama is embracing the offshore oil and gas development policies he proposed in early 2010 but were sidelined in the shadow of the Deepwater Horizon oil spill.¶ Two years after the BP PLC oil rig exploded, killing 11 people and causing the worst oil spill in U.S. history, Obama's "all of the above" energy policy includes offshore drilling provisions that are nearly identical to his aggressive March 2010 drilling plan.¶ Since the moratorium on offshore oil drilling ended in late 2010, the administration expanded oil and gas development in the western and central Gulf of Mexico and announced plans for lease sales in the eastern Gulf. The White House appears poised to allow Royal Dutch Shell PLC to begin exploring for oil this summer in Alaska's Beaufort and Chukchi seas and to open oil industry access to the Cook Inlet, south of Anchorage. The administration is also paving the way for oil and gas seismic studies along the mid- and south Atlantic coasts, the first such survey in 30 years.¶ While opening more offshore lands to oil and gas development, the Obama administration has also taken steps to make offshore oil drilling safer, according to a report card issued yesterday by Oil Spill Commission Action, an oversight panel formed by seven members of President Obama's oil spill commission.¶ That report criticized Congress for failing to adopt new oil spill safety laws but praised the Interior Department and industry for making progress in improving offshore oil development safety, environmental protection and oil spill preparation.¶ An environmental group was less complimentary. A report yesterday by Oceana charged that the measures adopted by government and industry are "woefully inadequate."¶ As the 2012 presidential campaign heats up and gasoline prices remain stuck near $4 per gallon, Obama's offshore oil development policies aren't winning him any political capital. The environmental community hates the drilling proposals. The Republicans and oil industry officials complain that the White House hasn't gone far enough. And independent voters areconfused by the president's rhetoric.
Expanded OCS leasing controversial
Humphries et al '12
Marc, Analyst in Energy Policy, Robert Pirog¶ Specialist in Energy Economics¶ Gene Whitney¶ Section Research Manager, Congressional Research Service, "U.S. Offshore Oil and Gas Resources:¶ Prospects and Processes," 2/10/12 ¶ http://assets.opencrs.com/rpts/R40645_20120210.pdfAD 8/18/12
Access to potential oil and gas resources under the U.S. Outer Continental Shelf (OCS) continues¶ to be controversial. Moratoria on leasing and development in certain areas were largely¶ eliminated in 2008 and 2009, although a few areas remain legislatively off limits to leasing. The¶ 112th Congress may be unlikely to reinstate broad leasing moratoria, but some Members have¶ expressed interest in protecting areas (e.g., the Georges Bank or Northern California) or¶ establishing protective coastal buffers. Pressure to expand oil and gas supplies and protect coastal¶ environments and communities will likely lead Congress and the Administration to consider¶ carefully which areas to keep open to leasing and which to protect from development.
Offshore drilling costs political capital
Broder et al ‘10
John M., Environmental Reporter for the New York Times, “Risk Is Clear In Drilling; Payoff Isn't.”, EBSCO Host
WASHINGTON -- In proposing a major expansion of offshore oil and gas development, President Obama set out to fashion a carefully balanced plan that would attract bipartisan support for climate and energy legislation while increasing production of domestic oil.¶ It is not clear that the plan announced Wednesday will do either.¶ While the oil industry, business groups and some Republicans offered muted support for the proposal, most environmental groups denounced it. And the senators whose support Mr. Obama is courting for highly contentious climate and energy legislation to be introduced in the coming weeks gave decidedly mixed reactions: For every senator who praised it as at least a partial answer to the nation's energy needs, another raised alarms about befouled beaches and continued dependence on fossil fuels.¶ Even Mr. Obama sounded somewhat torn in announcing a drilling plan that would open large tracts of the Atlantic coast, the eastern Gulf of Mexico and Arctic waters off Alaska to oil exploration and eventual drilling.¶ ''This is not a decision I've made lightly,'' he said as he stood at Andrews Air Force base in Maryland on Wednesday near an Air Force fighter converted to burn renewable biofuels.¶ ''There will be those who strongly disagree with this decision, including those who say we should not open any new areas to drilling,'' Mr. Obama said. ''But what I want to emphasize is that this announcement is part of a broader strategy that will move us from an economy that runs on fossil fuels and foreign oil to one that relies more on homegrown fuels and clean energy.''¶ Mr. Obama's plan, delicately pieced together by the Interior Department with White House input, carved out a large coastal buffer zone in the eastern gulf to mollify Senator Bill Nelson, Democrat of Florida, an opponent of drilling there. It also included continued access to the oil fields off the North Slope of Alaska to win the support of Alaska Senators Mark Begich, a Democrat, and Lisa Murkowski, a Republican.¶ Most New England officials, including Maine's two Republican Senators, Olympia Snowe and Susan Collins, are considered swing votes on energy legislation. They strongly oppose offshore drilling, and the North Atlantic was exempted. And because there is almost no support for drilling and there is little recoverable oil off the Pacific Coast, the whole area was declared off limits, said Ken Salazar, the interior secretary.¶ But by opening the mid-Atlantic region, from Delaware south to Central Florida, for oil exploration, Mr. Obama angered New Jersey's two Democratic senators, Frank Lautenberg and Robert Menendez, who have been generally supportive of Mr. Obama's push for climate legislation.¶ Mr. Menendez issued a strong statement Wednesday, saying, ''I have let the administration know that if they do not protect New Jersey from the effects of coastal drilling in the climate change bill, then my vote is in question.''¶ Mr. Begich of Alaska is among those undecided on climate legislation, waiting to see what would be done on offshore oil drilling, among other issues. He supports exploration in the Arctic under appropriate safeguards. He said the Obama planwas helpful, but not enough to win his support.¶ ''It's not a perfect deal, but it's better than nothing,'' Mr. Begich said, adding that there is no provision for the states to share in the revenues from lease sales and royalties. ''It helps move us down the path.''¶ If the political capital to be gained from the proposal seemed uncertain, so did the potential for vast oil supplies to reduce dependence on foreign imports.
Opposition and concern over off shore drilling
Vanessa Vick 12
March 5, 2012 Vick is a writer/reporter for the New York Times Offshore Drilling and Exploration New York Times http://topics.nytimes.com/top/reference/timestopics/subjects/o/offshore_drilling_and_exploration/index.html
The loss of life and the looming ecological catastrophe from the BP disaster have piled political complications onto the push for energy and climate change legislation. The bill’s sponsors rewrote the section on offshore oil drilling to reflect mounting concern over the gulf oil spill, raising new hurdles for any future drilling off the Atlantic and Pacific coasts while allowing it to proceed off Louisiana, Texas and Alaska. But the Senate plan still faces uncertain prospects. As political ripples spread, six West Coast senators proposed a permanent ban on drilling in the Pacific and another group tried to raise oil company liability in a spill to $10 billion from the current $75 million. Senator Lisa Murkowski of Alaska, a strong proponent of offshore drilling, blocked their bill, saying it would discourage all oil exploration. Ms. Murkowski is sponsoring a separate bill to raise oil taxes by a penny a barrel to increase the federal spill response fund. Since 2001, there have been 858 fires and explosions, 1,349 injuries and 69 deaths in the Gulf of Mexico. The current leak revived memories of the huge 1969 oil spill off the coast of Santa Barbara that galvanized opposition to offshore drilling.
Natural Gas Links
Bipartisan support for natural gas policy impossible—environmental lobby key to support
Bernard L., Associate Director, Maguire Energy Institute at Southern Methodist University and George W. Bush Institute Fellow, Bipartisanship Elusive Without Realism, August 13, 2012, http://energy.nationaljournal.com/2012/08/finding-the-sweet-spot-biparti.php
But though America is "energy rich," we behave as though we're "energy poor." The Obama administration pays lip service to an "all of the above" energy strategy, but in practice it remains hostage to the "anti-carbon, anti-nuclear" environmentalists who aren't swayed by the fact that natural gas emits 50 percent less greenhouse gas than coal and that nuclear energy has a zero carbon footprint. They remain convinced that if they can kill the Keystone XL pipeline they'll be able to stymie development of the Alberta oil sands. These true believers continue to argue that America can provide for all of its future energy needs through a combination of renewables, efficiency, and conservation. This is sheer nonsense.¶ We will never have bipartisan support for a sensible, comprehensive domestic energy policy until realism and fact can supersede ideology and fiction. Unfortunately, that's not likely to happen in the foreseeable future.
Natural gas development controversial
Frank, President and COO of the American Association of Blacks in Energy, The Huffington Post, “Natural Gas’ Role in the 2012 Election Cycle”, http://www.huffingtonpost.com/frank-stewart/natural-gas-role-in-2012-_b_1231499.html
Election year politics have a way of adulterating the more important issues facing the country, even those issues that would seem to transcend the ideological divide. Take, for example, natural gas development, an issue that genuinely deserves a serious discussion because of its enormous potential to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, to provide a viable alternative to imported oil, and to invigorate our struggling economy. Abundant and cleaner burning natural gas emits nearly 30% less carbon dioxide than oil, and almost 45% less carbon dioxide than coal. The development of our domestic natural gas has the ability to create new high-paying jobs at a time when job creation is America's top priority. What's clear is that natural gas could be transformative on many fronts. So in 2012 can we expect the polarizing attitudes and hyperbolic rhetoric to be set aside for pragmatic solutions when it comes to natural gas policy? Don't count on it. It appears reason has already been taken hostage this election year, replaced with sound bites and scare tactics from those who appear to prefer rhetoric over reason. A lot of this bombast and misinformation has been aimed at hydraulic fracturing, commonly referred to as "fracking," the technique used to extract natural gas. The process uses high pressure to inject water, sand, and a small amount of additives deep below the Earth's surface allowing the gas to be released from rock.
Domestic oil and gas are highly partisan and unpopular
Mark, Reporter, The Colorado Observer, “House Approves Gardner Energy Bill Despite Obama Opposition”, http://thecoloradoobserver.com/2012/06/house-approves-gardner-energy-bill-despite-obama-opposition/
WASHINGTON – The House of Representatives approved legislation Thursday that seeks to boost domestic oil productionby cutting federal red tape, spurring a partisan-fueled debate as to whether increasing the number of oil leases is more likely to create new jobs or harm the environment. Rep. Cory Gardner (R-Yuma) cast the Strategic Energy Production Act of 2012 (H.R. 4480) as a common-sense effort to produce more oil and gas at home rather than abroad. “These bipartisan pieces of legislation make sure that we move forward on oil and gas development in the western United States and on federal lands, and that we take steps to ensure our nation relies on American-made energy, provided by American jobs,” he said in a statement. When House Republicans introduced parts of the bill this spring, they emphasized that their measures would reduce gasoline prices, which had soared to more than $4.00 a gallon in many parts of the country. Now proponents also emphasize the bill’s job-creating possibilities after gas prices dipped and the nation’s jobless rate remained at more than 8 percent. “I think the stress is more on jobs,” Rep. Doug Lamborn (R-Colorado Springs) said in an interview after the vote. “Gas prices are more dependent on global market exchanges.” Each of Colorado’s four House Republicans sponsored a measure that was included in the legislation. Gardner’s provision would link a decrease in the nation’s emergency oil reserves to an increase in the number of oil leases permitted on federal lands. Rep. Scott Tipton’s (R-Cortez) bill would require the Secretary of Interior to set up goals for federal land energy production from all energy sources, while Rep. Lamborn’s would streamline and reform the federal process for energy permits on federal lands once a lease is in hand. Rep. Mike Coffman (R-Lone Tree)’s provision would direct the federal government to make available at least one-quarter of the federal lands open for leasing for which companies are interested in developing. The bill passed on a 248-to-163 vote. Its supporters and opponents were divided mainly by partisan affiliation, but also by region. Two-hundred-twenty nine House Republicans joined 19 House Democrats, most of who represent rural districts in red states, in voting for the bill. One-hundred-fifty eight House Democrats joined five House Republicans, most of who represent suburban and urban districts in blue states, in opposing it. Each of Colorado’s three House Democrats voted against the bill. Rep. Diana DeGette (D-Denver), a member of the House Energy Committee, said in a statement that Republicans’ economic claims about the legislation were overblown, citing figures from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics and environmental and scientific organizations. “I’m disappointed to see that, once again, my colleagues across the aisle are more concerned about protecting the oil industry than they are about creating jobs and keeping our families safe and healthy. Since 2008, fewer than 14,000 oil and gas extraction jobs have been created despite the fact that production continues to climb, while the same period has seen almost four times as many jobs created in the wind and solar industries.” Gardner urged the U.S. Senate to approve the legislation, but the Democrat-controlled upper chamber is unlikely to do so. The Obama administration issued a statement Tuesday in strong opposition to the bill, saying the measure would undermine domestic energy production and clean-air safety. The statement added that President Obama would veto the bill.