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Obama Speech Hard on Oil and Gas Industry

Perhaps it is time for changes in the U.S. energy policy that we can all believe in.

President Obama’s recent State of the Union address signaled a more hardline approach to fossil fuels and a more supportive role of wind and solar. While taking credit for lower gasoline prices, Obama failed to mention the key role our industry has played in the U.S. economy’s recovery in recent years. Leaders in our industry also raised concerns about a call for increased regulations on fossil fuels, which could impact the oil and gas, mining, and manufacturing industries.

In his speech, Obama said: “Rather than subsidize the past, we should invest in the future — especially in communities that rely on fossil fuels. That’s why I’m going to push to change the way we manage our oil and coal resources, so that they better reflect the costs they impose on taxpayers and our planet.”

The American Petroleum Institute president and CEO Jack Gerard fired back about the negative impact this position could have on the U.S. economy: “The majority of new oil and natural gas production that has done so much to grow our economy and save consumers money has occurred primarily on private and state lands. On federal lands controlled by the administration, crude oil production has remained flat and natural gas production has declined.”
“Furthermore, the administration has advanced nearly 100 regulations impacting all aspects of the oil and natural gas industry over the past year, which hinders production. Instead of bombarding our economy with duplicative, job-crushing new regulations, President Obama should embrace policies that recognize America’s energy resurgence, including environmental improvements.”

And several statements made by the president were picked apart by post-speech fact-checkers, including claims that wind power is now cheaper than fossil fuels and the amount of savings he claimed is being passed on through wind power.

In his speech, Obama said: “Here are the results. In fields from Iowa to Texas, wind power is now cheaper than dirtier conventional power.”

However, Obama failed to include the significance of federal tax credits that have kept wind power so cheap. The Dallas Morning News reported that natural gas and coal remain cheaper than wind and solar power. Coal and natural gas power averages $65 per megawatt-hour, compared with the most expensive wind energy at $80 per megawatt-hour and solar power at $107 per megawatt-hour, according to the paper.

Obama also said: “On rooftops from Arizona to New York, solar is saving Americans tens of millions of dollars a year on their energy bills …”

But the statement seems to be based on claims by the administration’s own Energy Department website, which attributes their facts to the Solar Foundation — a nonprofit that promotes solar energy. Not a very objective source.

Even the liberal-leaning Washington Post’s fact-checking discredited much of Obama’s energy claims.

Given the hard stance on our industry and the fabrication of facts weaved into this administration’s energy policies, we’re ready for a change that supports our nation’s energy independence and that supports the good-paying American jobs provided by the oil and gas industry.