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Obama Caves on Domestic Oil Drilling

Posted on May 14, 2011
Flickr / mikebaird

President Obama will instruct the Interior Department to expedite the sale of oil drilling leases in Alaska’s National Petroleum Reserve and the Gulf of Mexico, arguing that in the long term additional domestic oil production will lower gasoline prices, now above $4 a gallon in many parts of the country. Obama had been hesitant to yield to calls for more drilling and will continue to protect the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge. The current debate has largely focused on supply instead of insatiable demand while failing to acknowledge that there is little if any relationship between current gas prices and additional domestic drilling. —KDG


Alaska’s National Petroleum Reserve is a 23 million-acre area originally set aside in 1923 as a fuel source for the U.S. military. It is located in the northwest corner of Alaska near the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge (ANWR), which the Bush administration tried to open for exploration against objections from environmental groups.

Energy companies have long dreamed of tapping oil reserves beneath that site, a home to herds of migrating animals.

A senior Obama administration official said the White House remained firmly opposed to drilling in that arctic refuge.

Alaska’s NPR is a different story, however. Rising crude prices have boosted the amount of oil that can be recovered economically from that area, even though it holds less oil than previously thought, the government said last week.

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By surfnow, May 16, 2011 at 4:58 am Link to this comment

Ultimately the obscene exploitation of the environment by Big Oil is in the hands of the Amerikan public. No one held a gun to your head when you bought that giant SUV. Only when demand decreases will Congress get the message.

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By Inherit The Wind, May 15, 2011 at 1:31 pm Link to this comment

What was it George Carlin said?  If he doesn’t vote he isn’t responsible for our shitty leaders, but those of us who vote are.

Of course, George is right that we who vote ARE responsible for our shitty leaders, even when we vote against them.  Usually, we hope the other guy is slightly less shitty.  In Obama’s case, he IS less shitty than Bush, a lot less shitty. 

But that’s still not saying much.  So he’s a lot better than the worst President ever. BFD.  That’s like being the best dancer….among all the bears at the zoo.

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By MarthaA, May 15, 2011 at 8:40 am Link to this comment

Can’t change it now, if it has already been agreed, but I hope
President Obama’s agreement to drill in Alaska and in the ocean will
turn out better that what has happened in the gulf.

It does look like this type of agreement should include a
Congressional vote of the whole Congress, not just President Obama.

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By Robert Burke, May 15, 2011 at 8:00 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

The current price rise in oil is not due to a shortage, since most refineries are operating below capacity. A lot of the price rise is caused by speculation by hedge finds and commercial banks. An amazing 70% of futures contracts are currently held by these financial institutions, who intend to sell the contacts as the prices continue to rise. Actual users of petroleum products hold the remaining 30%. Futures contracts are like a lay-away plan, where the consumer buys at today’s price with small payment, and takes delivery of the product months later, at which time they pay the full amount. The speculators have no intention of taking delivery on all that oil, but only want to re-sell the contracts as their value rises. No normal buyer of oil futures could influence the market price much, but when 70% of the futures contracts are owned by speculators, the cost for actual consumers - airlines, freight companies, power plants must go up. It’s as if ticket scalpers were able to buy 70% of the tickets to a popular event, and then re-sell at a big mark-up to those who actually want to see the show.

Increasing the supply of oil by reckless drilling will not solve the problem.  A law to prevent re-sale of futures contracts would ensure they are used only as intended: to lock in a price for a future delivery of the product, and the owner of the contract must take delivery of the commodity or lose his investment.

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By AmishEcstasy, May 15, 2011 at 7:31 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Let’s see now Obama has caved on offshore drilling. The Bush era tax cuts are still in place. The wars in Iraq and Afghanistan are still going on and now we’ve added Libya to the hit parade. Our nation’s budget deficit is over a trillion dollars again. The corporate tax rate is almost zero. Inflation is rampant because the dollar is at all low. Barrack Obama has been different the George W Bush in what way?

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By surfnow, May 15, 2011 at 7:02 am Link to this comment

Disgusting and despicable lack of leadership. We will never learn and will get exactly what we deserve.

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By c.d.embrey, May 15, 2011 at 6:59 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Obama NEVER caves - he always gets exactly what he wants. Stop
listening to what he says, and pay careful attention to what he does. And
what he wants, as proven time after time, is to help the rich at the
expense of the middle class.

Check-out Matt Taibbi’s The People vs. Goldman Sachs
sachs-20110511 A Progressive administration would prosacute these
people, but these people are Obama’s buddys.

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By Fat Freddy, May 15, 2011 at 5:56 am Link to this comment

This is bunch of crap. Not that I necessarily oppose more drilling, but I doubt it’s going to lower the price of oil. There’s only one chart you really need to se if you want to know why oil, and almost all other commodities are rising:

If Obummer really wanted to lower the price of oil he would tell Zimbabwe Ben to shut down the printing press!

But it’s not just the USD. All countries are devaluing their currencies. It’s a race to the bottom, and if just one major currency is repudiated, they will all fall like dominoes. The IMF/BIS is playing a dangerous game. The one thing for sure is, we will see major price inflation in the next 2 years, or so.

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By Inherit The Wind, May 15, 2011 at 4:47 am Link to this comment

Of course he caved. He always does.

Meanwhile, in the North West, wind farms are being shut down.  Why? The raging rivers have been put to generate hydroelectric power to the very maximum.  So…what’s that got to do with wind power?

Simple: The grid can’t handle the excess power so something has to give, and it’s wind generators.

Imagine that, we can’t use wind electricity because the infrastructure isn’t there, but we need to drill for more oil to get more energy!

The people in charge in this country are fucking insane.

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By John M, May 14, 2011 at 7:14 pm Link to this comment

Government can’t do anything about gas prices? Then
why did this happen in 2008?

Inhofe’s Energy 101 seminar: Dems have no plan to
bring down gas prices because they want higher prices

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By Traditional American Democrat, May 14, 2011 at 5:45 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Obama is not a Democrat. Obama placates everyone but the Democrats and the
American people. This bowing & kowtowing is to the petroleum industry, not
the voters.

Here’s Obamahere’s Obama’s record:

1 .  TARP & Financial Bailout: Over 70% of us opposed the bailout. Three years
later, un- and under-employment exceed 18%; record profits for financial
2 .  Health Care: 72% of us supported “a government-administered insurance
plan—something like Medicare for those under 65—that would compete for
customers with private insurers.” Obama-led ‘non-reform’ gives private
insurers a 20% overhead for all government-mandated - i.e. ALL - customers.
3.  The Wealthy Pay Their Fair Shair: Washington Post-ABC poll Washington
Post-ABC poll, Spring 2011: 72 percent support raising taxes on the rich -
including 68 percent of Independents and 54 percent of Republicans

In the financial crisis - big banks got all their money from class middle voters:
$$$ Trillion. The financial industry has record profits now, and today we have
9% unemployment.

In Afghanistan - 3 out of 4 voters wanted us out (actually, didnt want us in). The
Afghanistan War has lasted longer than World War II and we continue to move

In the ‘debt debate’ - here’s the story:

??Last month, Geithner told the Europeans the US has made “a fundamental

? “When you have both the president of the United States and the Republican
leadership in Congress both embracing the same basic target for deficit
reduction…you have made a fundamental shift….”

Obama is appears to be ‘compromising’ .... But, he’s not compromising.

Obama and his big business and Republican cronies are compromising the
values of the Democratic party and the disregarding the needs of America’s
middle class.

Obama should not be the Democratic nominee in 2012.

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By Kyle, May 14, 2011 at 2:33 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

You left-wingers are silly, so clueless about economics, you don’t even merit a fuller response.  Continue your mindless hatred of anything but totalitarianism.

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By Mike, May 14, 2011 at 1:54 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Expect a bunch of head fakes to the left from this president between now and the election day to paper over decisions like these. After Obama gets re elected I wouldn’t be surprised to see an even more right wing administration emerge.

The Obama administration just claimed that they can classify declassified information. He is doing these things as a fake progressive, imagine what Obama is going to do when he doesn’t need to pretend anymore.

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By exchange student, May 14, 2011 at 11:59 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

I came to the US as an exchange students a few years back,

and kept pointing at what appeared to me as huge deficiencies in the democratic process, sycophancy of the press, rush to war, nazi Germany like propaganda announcements on TV preceeded by some kind of trumpet special report jingle just like in 1984, Huxley’s Brave new world or even caricatures of WWII’s Germany… etc…

when I pointed these things out, I was insulted, demeaned and told I was nothing but a dumb foreigner anyway…

Go ahead, deep drill and frack some more, reduce your whole country to a dump…  a little more, a little less…

that’s the perfect environment for brainwashed degenerates that the vast majority of you are.

I am relishing watching your POS morally superior country implode !

Like that one kid on the Simpsons always says…

Ah-Ah !

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By berniem, May 14, 2011 at 11:47 am Link to this comment

Our dear POTUS is prone to cave-ins about as frequently as a Massey Energy coal mine with the same tragic results!

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By Lew Ciefer, May 14, 2011 at 11:28 am Link to this comment

Obama caves! Bwaaaaaaaa! I do love deluded ideologues. Obama caves! Hot diggity damn that’s one funny line!

Obama didn’t cave… Obama obeyed!

It will be a relief when the Ruling Oligarch finally throws out all those fetid political puppets and runs the corporations. President Big Oil, President Big Pharma, or President Transnational. Think of all the savings from not having to buy all that string to move the puppets heads, mouths, hands, and feet.

Obama caves .... bwaaaaaaaaaaaa!

It’s a good thing that he did obey because the first time all you Lefties have to suffer lack you’ll all immeidately become right-wingers, don Nazi-like uniforms and go around slaughtering all those your perfered “minorities” for sucking up your air.

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By prisnersdilema, May 14, 2011 at 10:52 am Link to this comment

w’s third term continues as planned, the plutocracy, is hoping for a fourth term…

Soon that grinning goon, of a president will be appearing everywhere, trying to lie his way out of what he has done…

He’ll be smiling and offering up new lies…

The truth however will measured, in the wind velocity of upcoming storms, the number of acers burned in droughts, the cities and coasts flooded, crop failures, and the desperation of starving masses…unless those days are shortened none shall survive…

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