Suppressing Knowledge About American Oil Resources

An editorial in Investor’s Business Daily (8/11) contains the following passage:

In 2005, (Barack Obama) voted to kill legislation that would have measured our offshore (oil and gas) reserves.

That effort failed and a preliminary inventory report was produced in February 2006.

But those estimates of what lay beneath the 1.76 billion-acre continental shelf were based on old data obtained from surveys using old exploratory technology.

The Interior Department report stated: “Resource estimates are highly dependent on the current knowledge base, which has not been updated in 20 to 40 years for areas under congressional moratorium . . .”

The reason is that while requiring regular inventory assessments Congress provides no funding to conduct new surveys.

Now Obama is sponsoring S.115, which he calls the “Oil SENSE Act,” which would repeal the 2005 Energy Policy Act’s authorization of these inventories.

His bill would prohibit the expanded use of 3-D seismic techniques to search for and measure undersea oil deposits.

This seemed so unbelievable, even give what I knew about Obama’s ideas on energy, that I had to check for myself to see if it was true.

Here is the actual text of S.115, of which Obama is the sponsor. Note section 101 (a)(b), which repeals 42 USC 15912. The legislation proposed for repeal is comprehensive inventory of OCS oil and natural gas resources, which provides for the government to use advanced seismic technologies to product a report on recoverable offshore resources, and to update this report at least every 5 years. It also requires the Secretary to “identify and explain how legislative, regulatory, and administrative programs or processes restrict or impede the development of identified resources and the extent that they affect domestic supply, such as moratoria, lease terms and conditions, operational stipulations and requirements, approval delays by the Federal Government and coastal States, and local zoning restrictions for onshore processing facilities and pipeline landings.”

(To be precise, S.115 does not “ban” the use of 3-D seismic technologies; it does, however, withdraw the mandate and authorization for the government to use these (and other) technologies in order to conduct a comprehensive inventory of resources.)

One can only conclude that Mr Obama:

a)Does not want Americans to know what oil resources lie off our coasts, and
b)Also does not want Americans to know what administrative and political obstacles are inhibiting the use of these resources

I do not think it is likely that members of the Democratic Party leadership are being paid off by oil sheiks and other OPEC members. But is difficult to see how their energy policies would be any different if they were being paid off by such parties.

6 thoughts on “Suppressing Knowledge About American Oil Resources”

  1. “I do not think it is likely that members of the Democratic Party leadership are being paid off by oil sheiks and other OPEC members. But is difficult to see how their energy policies would be any different if they were being paid off by such parties.”

    Why are they stuck on this stuff? Is it just the money from the enviros? Do the unions go along with it?

  2. Good for Obama.

    When the science is settled and the truth is known, additional data is unnecessary at best. At worst, it will mislead the public.
    Seriously, if we have some noticeably cool summers and cold winters, I wonder if quiet attempts will be made to cut funding for climatological measurements.

  3. Obama goal in energy policy, as in all his policies, is to shift power from the productive classes to the articulate classes. In most cases, this means switching control of some public good from the free-market to the state or a state controlled enterprise.

    Oil in the U.S. is at present largely free-enterprise. If we have enough oil, no one needs to turn to Obama and friends for help with energy. Suppressing oil production inside the U.S makes people more dependent on the State for energy. Without oil, people need Obama to use the power of the state to create alternative energies. When people lose their jobs, they will turn to Obama for economic support.

    Everything that Obama does can be explained by examining how it increases the power of himself and his social class of non-productive articulates.

  4. Shannon,
    This is a class that dismisses the knowledge gained through experience and believes that purity is derived from knowing, touching, nothing. They see experience with energy sources a tainting factor when looking at candidates; some of us see that some knowledge of how oil is found not a bad background for those who would regulate it and certainly some understanding that digging dry holes is not a useful expenditure of time and money seems lost on those in Congress who complain that the oil companies are greedy, then assume that such greed would not lead them to dig on the plots they already can.

    When I was in grad school, one of my officemates argued that her vote was more important in a local Austin election – as a grad student only there temporarily, she would not be affected by taxes, etc. so her vote was disinterested, unbiased, etc. Of course, the opposite was in many ways true – they did not have nor would have children, they did not pay major property taxes, they would not have to find a way to work around tangled zoning restrictions ten years down the road, whether the Austin job market or real estate market went boom or bust would have no effect on them.

    What they could do, of course, was vote pure ideology. I have my doubts that that was what any sensible founder would see as the ideal citizen, but many do. The number of my colleagues and students who identify with Prufrock is a bit disturbing.

  5. I do not think it is likely that members of the Democratic Party leadership are being paid off by oil sheiks and other OPEC members.

    Why not? They seem to have bought a substantial portion of the State Department. The Chinese certainly sent a lot of money the Clintons way. Maybe there was consideration, maybe China didn’t join the WTO and get advanced guidance systems for Loral. But it would be naive in the extreme to think it unlikely that the party of William Jefferson and William Jefferson Clinton can’t be bought.

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