As reports of the horrific devastation Japan suffered from the 9.1 earthquake experienced on March 11, 2011 continued coming out in the news, Barack Obama, like all before him, held a news conference vowing help and support for the displaced people of Japan. Scheduled before the earthquake occurred to discuss rising gas prices and economy, Obama did step up and offer assistance to the beleaguered nation, overshadowing his original intent for the conference and reminding me of our long held attitude, “We’re Americans. This is what we do.”
In vowing assistance to Japan “to help with Japanese nuclear power plants and any breaches in the safety system,” he also touched on “The U.S. will also provide heavy lift equipment to clear transportation systems of the massive debris” adding “U.S. aircraft carriers and ships are also steaming toward Japan, loaded with supplies.”
Our generosity is always helping nations when tragedy occurs brings us back to the original intent of the news conference, energy. Or, should I say the current lack of it as we see fuel prices rapidly climbing again due to the rising cost of oil we depend on from the troubled Middle East.
Touching on this and the devastation of Japan’s refineries in the earthquake, Obama said, “We are confident about our ability to fill any potential gaps in (oil) supply,” as he mentioned tapping into our Strategic Petroleum Reserve if need be as those before him have done during times of crisis.
As I indicated months ago in my post Fueling “the Worlds EMT,” many of this ships steaming towards Japan and nearly all of the emergency equipment, especially the ‘heavy lift equipment’ Obama spoke of relies on fossil based fuels. The very same fuels the Obama administration is currently preventing from being drilled and refined from within our borders and offshore. West coast politicians are even seeking a complete and permanent ban on all offshore access to our own energy resources, even during times as tragic as these.
Ignoring actions taken by his administration to prevent more drilling of our own resources and even ignoring comments by former president Bill Clinton that continued delays in offshore oil and gas drilling permits are “ridiculous,” Obama said,
“There is more we can do, however. For example, right now, the (oil) industry holds leases on tens of millions of acres — both offshore and on land — where they aren’t producing a thing. So I’ve directed the Interior Department to determine just how many of these leases are going undeveloped and report back to me within two weeks so that we can encourage companies to develop the leases they hold and produce American energy. People deserve to know that the energy they depend on is being developed in a timely manner.”
Even during a time of tragedy for the Japanese and spiraling gasoline prices, dwindling oil supplies due to unrest overseas, Obama points fingers away from himself, blaming others for the problems he continues to manifest.
Responding to these allegations, Jack Gerard, President and CEO of the American Petroleum Institute said,
“Long-term problems call for short-term leadership. Suggesting that we rely on other nations to solve our energy challenges is irresponsible and will not increase our energy security. The Obama administration continues to delay or defer action on developing our domestic resources of oil and natural gas at every turn.”
“The trend is alarming. The administration has postponed lease sales in offshore areas. It has cancelled lease sales in onshore federal lands. It has extended permitting timelines for current leases and added unnecessary regulatory burdens. It has chosen inaction on essential energy projects that would create jobs, drive economic growth, and boost federal revenues.”
“To get more oil and gas, we need more access. Placing more government lands and waters off-limits and forcing companies to focus on areas that may show little promise even if already under lease will not solve our energy challenges.”
Mr. Gerard did not say it, but I will, we first need a leader, something sorely lacking in America today. A leader who places the well being of Americans as top priority over his and his families vacations and endless golf games, while the rest of the country struggles with the ongoing economic quagmire we are in.
I would also remind the Obama administration and all who agree with him on ending our reliance on petroleum, those vessels you vowed to send to Japan in their time of need also depend upon the fuel you are delaying the recovery of, not to mention the jobs and revenues also sorely needed.
While the Strategic Petroleum Reserve Obama claims he is prepared to tap “if need be” consists of some 727 Million barrels of oil, known oil reserves existing within American territory, sitting their untapped and blocked from access were estimated to be about 2.3 trillion barrels in 2008. Drilling our own resources not only could end our reliance on imported oil, we could become the one doing most of the exporting to others.
Instead, we continue to hear calls of more “Green Energy” that continues being shown as more costly, unreliable and in some cases, more of an environmental hazard than petroleum.
Remarkably, Obama also claimed that U.S. energy production has increased on his watch, ignoring that “oil production on federal land and waters is 16% less than what was projected four years ago” and making “no mention of production shutdowns in the eastern Gulf of Mexico and off the Atlantic and Pacific coasts.”
All we continue to see is his tap dancing around issues of importance while not only the American people continue to suffer under high unemployment, an elongated economic downturn, increasing fuel prices, food prices and charges for most other goods while he sides with greedy public unions demanding more and more from the struggling middle class.
And now, add to that millions of displaced Japanese workers and citizens deeply in need of help while they struggle with the largest natural catastrophe in the history of their nation.
What we need and do not have is a leader to confidently guide the country through these troubling times.