After watching the most recent CNN Presidential Debate, it has become clear our "leaders" are clueless about energy policy. This is an attempt to enable us to discuss our energy future more adequately.
Anecdotally, if you desire to read about fracking or disposal injection wells, you can read our nationally published thoughts on Induced Seismicity.
Why are we listening to our "leaders"?
On October 12, 2012, Mitt Romney came prepared - mostly due to Continental Resources' Harold Hamm - to debate energy policy with President Barack Obama who, after four years in office, was terribly misinformed in the Town Hall Presidential Debate. As I wrote in October 2012:
"I'd like you all to realize that this President - after serving for 4 years - still knows nothing more about energy than he did when he took office. I also want to preface this note with the fact that it's completely non-partisan.
Per the Town Hall Presidential Debate, here are some comments he made:
Videos: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2HJpOf0_d-s and http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IVBfcQsO3jE
"Here is what I have done since I have been President: we have increased oil production to the highest levels in 16 years. Natural Gas production is the highest it’s been in decades. We have seen increases in coal production…”
While oil and gas production is spiking under Obama's tenure, it has nothing to do with his administration or policies:
Average Federal onshore acres leased per year is down 86% since Reagan and a down 49% since Clinton. In fact, federal leasing is at a 30 year low!
Out of the entire Federal mineral estate, only 6% is currently leased onshore
Out of the entire Federal mineral estate, only 20% is currently leased offshore
"We continue to open up new areas for drilling." "We have opened up public lands. We are drilling more on public lands than in the previous administration."
Obama, again, is 100% incorrect. Both Bill Clinton and George W. Bush had nearly identical federal leasing rates. Under Obama, that number has plummeted to it's lowest level in 30 years!
"We make it a priority for us to go after natural gas."
100% false. When you look at legislation and rhetoric, Obama didn't even mention natural gas until the past 6 months. He has completely left it out while spending billions of federal dollars on failed solar companies [like Solyndra] that are presumably his friends pockets.
“You have a whole bunch of oil companies who have leases on public lands that they weren’t using. So, what we said was, “You can’t sit on this for 10, 20, 30 years, decide when you want to drill, when you want to produce. These are public lands, you use it or you lose it. And so what we did is we took away those leases.”
All I can say is, wow. His complete ignorance of the oil and natural gas industries is completely on show with this comment.
Every Federal Onshore lease is for a term of 10 years - never 20, never 30.
When you lease something, it's yours for the given period of time that you've leased it for. For example, if you lease a home or a car for 12 months, the Lessor is not able to take the home or vehicle back after 6 months. This logic makes no sense whatsoever. So, yes, they can sit on it and decide when they want to drill as long as it's within the primary term of the lease!
I will add to this post later when I have more time."
Unfortunately, I never added to that post - until now. Reflecting on what I wrote four years ago, it's clear nothing has changed. Obama spent his entire presidency crowing about an "all-of-the-above" energy strategy without really ever being serious about it. As he stated in 2012, he seemed to champion American-made energy.
We can’t have an energy strategy for the last century that traps us in the past. We need an energy strategy for the future – an all-of-the-above strategy for the 21st century that develops every source of American-made energy.” – President Barack Obama, March 15, 2012
He even touted natural gas in his 2014 State of the Union:
"The all-of-the-above energy strategy I announced a few years ago is working, and today, America is closer to energy independence than we’ve been in decades... one of the reasons why is natural gas, if extracted safely, it’s the bridge fuel that can power our economy with less of the carbon pollution that causes climate change,"
It wasn't until his final State of the Union that he admitted to his true energy agenda however - killing fossil fuels.
Now we’ve got to accelerate the transition away from old, dirtier energy sources. Rather than subsidize the past, we should invest in the future -- especially in communities that rely on fossil fuels. We do them no favor when we don't show them where the trends are going. 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.
Ironically, right before he made this statement, he actually championed fossil fuels for cutting imports and carbon pollution more than any other country,
...meanwhile, we’ve cut our imports of foreign oil by nearly 60 percent, and cut carbon pollution more than any other country on Earth.
So, President Obama did everything in his power to block oil and natural gas development on Federal lands, then turns around and claims credit for reducing our reliance upon OPEC, and reducing carbon pollution more than any other country on Earth?! It's unconscionable.