Fact Checking the President’s Energy Rhetoric

May 15, 2012

President Obama continued to push an “all of the above” energy strategy in his speech yesterday, voicing his support for oil, natural gas, coal, and nuclear. But rather than actually promoting policies which embrace our country’s vast energy resources, the president continues to do just the opposite by layering more and more red tape on American energy production.

When paired with his policies, the president’s rhetoric just doesn't hold water.

”My plan for energy doesn’t ignore the vast resources we already have in this country. We’re -- we’re producing more oil than we have in over a decade.”

President Obama is taking credit where credit isn’t due. While the country’s overall oil production has increased, it is due to production increases on private and state lands where the federal government is only minimally involved. Oil production on federal lands actually declined from 2010 to 2011 by 14 percent.

The truth is President Obama is ignoring a vast majority of America’s energy reserves. In fact, the president’s policies have kept 98 percent of federal offshore areas and 94 percent of federal onshore areas off limits to energy production.

”But if we truly want to gain control of our energy future, we’ve got to recognize that pumping more oil isn’t enough. We have to encourage the unprecedented boom in American natural gas.”

President Obama is riding the wave of America’s natural gas boom but he is pursuing policies that threaten to slow gas production and stifle job growth. In recent months, the Obama administration has issued a number of new regulations on oil and gas production. For example, EPA’s new rule regulating hydraulically fractured wells could have severe repercussions for small business natural gas producers. The Bureau of Land Management issued a new rule adding more red tape preventing production operations on public and Indian lands. The president also announced he would create a new interagency working group to facilitate federal regulations on natural gas production, creating yet another layer of bureaucracy.

”We have to provide safe nuclear energy and the technology to help coal burn cleaner than before.”

Four years ago, President Obama suggested he wanted to “bankrupt” the coal industry, and he is well on his way to making good on that promise. Over the past three years, the Obama administration has issued a slew of costly new rules that seek to end coal-fired power generation in America. EPA’s recently proposed New Source Performance Standards for power plants are so costly they would essentially prevent the construction of any new U.S. coal-fired power plants. In addition, EPA’s other power sector rules, such as the Utility MACT rule, are craftily designed to accelerate shut down of a significant portion of the country’s existing coal fleet. Already, a number of coal-fired plants across the country have announced closures as a result of EPA’s actions.

President Obama’s treatment of nuclear power has been anything but supportive. Over the past three years, the independent Nuclear Regulatory Commission has been fraught with turmoil under the leadership of President Obama’s very own handpicked nuclear chief, Gregory Jazcko. Jaczcko fought efforts to approve construction of the first new nuclear reactors in three decades. But the most blatant anti-nuclear act is the carefully orchestrated plan to stymie Yucca Mountain, the nation’s only nuclear repository site.