Friday, November 25, 2016

Editorial - Obama’s blitz against energy

A president is not a dictator, but there’s always the temptation before leaving office to act like one. Accountable only to his own political impulses, President Obama is revealing his infatuation with radical environmentalism in ways only glimpsed during his eight years in the White House. In short order, he has cranked up his “green” agenda and cracked down on fossil fuels. His new-age benefactors may be toasting his moves, but it’s the American people who will get burned. Fortunately, President-elect Donald Trump has a different agenda.

The Obama administration committed last week to pushing its climate change agenda, only harder. Having already pledged to reduce U.S. greenhouse gas emissions by a minimum of 26 percent by 2025, Mr. Obama wants to keep in place plans to cut emissions by 90 percent by 2050. The news was orchestrated to bolster spirits at the United Nations climate change conference in Marrakech, Morocco, which concluded last week. Secretary of State John Kerry assured them that the American commitment to climate-change schemes is irreversible.

The Obama administration said it would not permit drilling for gas and oil in the Arctic Ocean, after all. Its five-year plan to sell drilling leases in the Chukchi and Beaufort seas has been tabled, though drilling will be allowed to proceed in the Gulf of Mexico and Alaska’s Cook Inlet. The sudden reversal “removes regions that are simply not right to lease,” says Interior Secretary Sally Jewell, and she puts the blame on “industry’s declining interest in the area.” The change in plans will embolden Russia, which is furiously exploring the Arctic for energy resources. To the bold go the riches: between 44 billion and 157 billion barrels of oil and between 299 and 1,547 trillion cubic feet of natural gas, according to the U.S. Geological Survey.

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