This week, President Obama is again set to make a pitch for his latest plan to stimulate the economy, but meanwhile he is turning his back on projects that would put tens or even hundreds of thousands of Americans to work. And he’s doing it all to appease his left-wing, environmentalist base at the expense of domestic energy production.
Heritage’s Rob Bluey reported last week on a new finding by a New Orleans-based group that the Obama administration is approving just 35 percent of the oil drilling plans for the Gulf of Mexico so far this year. It is also taking an average of 115 days — nearly four months — to secure approval from the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management, Regulation and Enforcement. Those numbers are a sharp drop from previous years, well below the historical average 73.4 percent approval rate and 61 days it takes to approve plans. And for plans that require drilling activity, the numbers are even worse with an average approval time of 222 days.
That’s bad news for job creation. One deepwater rig alone can create 700 jobs locally. But slowing down oil drilling in the Gulf isn’t the only way the President is blocking jobs. Earlier this month, the Obama Administration announced it would delay the construction of the $7 billion Keystone XL pipeline that would bring in more than 700,000 barrels of oil per day from Alberta, Canada, to the Texas Gulf coast–and could have produced upwards of 20,000 jobs. Heritage’s Nicolas Loris explains the impact:
What this delay really means is that President Obama is putting off an important election year decision in which two of his largest supporters–labor unions and environmentalists–are split on the issue. This tactic allows the decision to be delayed until after the 2012 elections.
More importantly, this means a delay in access to easy imports from our northern neighbor, the creation of thousands of jobs, and the generation of revenue for the states where the pipeline passes. Montana, South Dakota, Kansas, Oklahoma, Nebraska, and Texas are collectively projected to collect $5.2 billion in property tax revenue as a result of building the pipeline.
As if that weren’t enough, the White House made another decision blocking energy-related jobs in the United States. In mid-November, the Obama Administration delayed a mineral lease sale in Ohio’s Wayne National Forest for oil and gas drilling. Apart for providing Americans access to affordable energy, the project could have had a tremendous impact in the state, including the creation of an estimated 200,000 jobs, an overall wage and personal-income boost of $12 billion by 2015, and a billion-dollar boon to Ohio landowners, schools, businesses, and communities.
The President’s direction on energy policy is aimed at appeasing a very specific base, but it’s coming at a tremendously high cost. While Americans struggle to make ends meet, pay their bills, and find work, President Obama is turning his back on new jobs and safe, affordable energy sources.