Obama's Interior Department Still Going Rogue

July 13, 2012 - 4:15 AM
The Obama administration's loathsome cowboy, Interior Secretary Ken Salazar, won't take no for an answer. He's been smacked down repeatedly by federal courts for imposing a draconian, junk science-based moratorium on the oil and gas industry. Yet, the job-killing zealot and his boss just introduced another ruinous offshore drilling ban two weeks ago.

The White House rationale for the renewed crackdown? Because we said so.

Thomas Pyle of the D.C.-based Institute for Energy Research reports that the Salazar scheme "reinstitutes a 30-year moratorium on offshore energy exploration that will keep our most promising resources locked away until long after President Obama begins plans for his presidential library." Instead of working to enhance our energy independence and free up abundant natural resources, the Obama administration has worked tirelessly to close off access to nearly 86 billion barrels of oil on America's Outer Continental Shelf alone.

The latest plan involves the interior secretary's authority to auction oil and gas leases and to oversee oil and gas research and exploration on the OCS. Pyle explains that the "2012-17 plan leaves out the entire Atlantic and Pacific coasts and the vast majority of OCS areas off Alaska. It cuts in half the average number of lease sales per year, requires higher minimum bids and shorter lease periods, and dramatically reduces lease terms."

The official Obama for America slogan may be "Forward," but the Salazar-Obama anti-drilling regime leaves America behind. National Ocean Industries Association President Randall B. Luthi told the Oil and Gas Journal (an industry publication): "This deeply disappointing 'no new access' plan does not reflect the comprehensive, 'all of the above' energy policy touted by the administration, nor does it keep pace with the energy policies of foreign nations that are expanding their offshore access to develop badly needed oil and gas."

No surprise. Salazar is an unrepentant glutton for punishment — of America's energy producers. He's had the unwavering support of President Obama ever since the aftermath of the BP oil spill in 2010, when the administration implemented a radical six-month freeze on America's entire deepwater drilling industry.
Republicans must forcefully counter the campaign fables being spun by Team Obama with the truth about these rogue overlords.

When the president's Chicago flacks boast of their noble commitment to transparency, remember: The overbroad drilling ban was stuffed into a technical safety document in the middle of the night by Obama's unaccountable green extremists.

When White House operatives tout their miraculous economics, remind them: The cost of the original Obama-Salazar edict is an estimated 19,000 jobs and $1.1 billion in lost wages. The new ban takes both coasts off the table and throws Alaska oil and gas sales into uncertain delay.

When Democrats tout their adherence to sound science, don't forget: The administration's own expert panel disavowed Salazar and former eco-czar Carol Browner's claims that they had secured a scientific consensus for the drilling ban. In fact, Salazar and Browner completely perverted the experts' consensus against the sweeping offshore drilling ban.

When Vice President Joe Biden takes to the stump to tout the "character of his (boss's) convictions," make it known: Louisiana federal judge Martin Feldman rebuked the Obama Interior Department for its "determined disregard" for the law.

And the stench deepens. In May, the House Natural Resources Committee released e-mails quoting a senior whistleblower who directly contradicted Salazar's claim that doctored support for the ban was unintentional. Where is the Interior Department inspector general to look out for taxpayers' best interests? She's knee-deep in ethics problems herself.

A federal panel that oversees government watchdogs took up a conflict-of-interest complaint against Interior Department Acting Inspector General Mary Kendall this week. USA Today first reported in May "that Kendall had attended meetings where top Interior officials discussed drafts of a peer-reviewed report on deepwater drilling." Later, she was enlisted to investigate how White House officials cooked up the scientifically manufactured report that resulted from those very meetings.

Instead of haranguing GOP opponent Mitt Romney with questions about his offshore bank accounts, this search-and-destroy White House should start accounting for its offshore drilling obstructionism. Salazar's reign has been a shady, secretive and rotten deal for America.