REALITY CHECK - As Oil Prices Hit 29 Month High, Obama Admin Seeks Further Delay of Gulf Drilling Permits

March 11, 2011

Last Friday, Benchmark West Texas Intermediate crude for April delivery jumped to $104.64 per barrel during the trading session, at the time the highest level since Sept. 29, 2008.  Gasoline prices have spiked an average of 40 cents per gallon since an uprising in Libya began in mid-February.  The U.S. Energy Information Agency this week forecasted that prices at the pump will continue to rise to as high as an average of $3.70 per gallon in the coming months, although prices will surely go much higher as some regions of the country are already at or above $3.70.
How does the Obama administration respond to these rising prices?

Just hours after oil prices eclipsed the 29-month high, last Friday night the Obama administration appealed the February 17, 2011, ruling by Judge Martin Feldman of the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Louisiana that ordered the Department of Interior to act on five outstanding deep-water drilling permits within 30 days, asking for more delays before being forced to issue permits. 

In his February 17 ruling, Judge Feldman stated, "The leaking culprit well has been contained; the revised regulations are no longer new; and the threat of rigs leaving the Gulf becomes more forceful each day. The permitting backlog becomes increasingly inexcusable. Delays of four months and more in the permitting process are unreasonable, unacceptable, and unjustified.'"

The action by the Obama administration to further lock away domestic resources was indeed unreasonable, unacceptable, and unjustified. 

The ongoing chaos in Libya sharply underscores our own nation's energy vulnerabilities and the need for visionary leadership. We can no longer afford policies that render our domestic oil-and-gas reserves off-limits and thwart job growth.  Instead, we must pursue an "all-of-the-above" approach to fortify our energy security, keep prices down at the pump, and provide for high-paying American jobs. 

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