Drill, Obama, Drill: Administration Advocates for Expanded Domestic Drilling

President Obama gave a speech yesterday, on a plan to cut oil imports.   While at first, it may sound like this is a boon for sustainability, a deeper reading yields a tall tale for renewable energy.  The Obama plan cuts oil imports, but not cut oil.

The Obama Administration suggests a reduction in oil imports, “in 2008, America imported 11 million barrels of oil a day.  By 2025 – a little over a decade from now – we will have cut that by one-third.”  But the question is, how does the Obama Administration propose this goal be met?

The Administration wants to expand domestic oil and gas development and production.  Regardless if this is done in a safe and responsible manner, it is still an expansion of fossil fuels.

Two crucial points spout out of this rig.  The first  point is the proposal to identify underdeveloped resources.  Of all the onshore leased acres, 57 percent were inactive.  Of all the offshore leased acres, 70 were inactive.  This implies that these oil and gas leases need to be activated.  From a renewable energy point of view, is this desirable?

The other point is developing incentives to speed up the development and production process of more oil.  The White House points to the State of Texas as a model for graduated royalty rate structures.  Again, from a renewable energy point of view, isn’t apt to speed this process up?

Clean energy, was also a key phrase used by the administration: “To move capital off of the sidelines and into the clean energy economy – creating jobs in the process – we need to give businesses and entrepreneurs a clear signal that there will be a market for clean energy innovation.

Clean energy is a green washing term.  Don’t get me wrong, clean energy is a great thing.  And we need more of it.  But the term diverges the discussion to still using fossil fuels, just more cleanly.  Fossil fuels are a scarce resource.  The discussion needs to move towards the direction of renewable energy, where there is a virtually infinite supply of energy waiting to be harnessed.

A clean energy market still means a market for oil and fossil fuels.

This plan to tap more domestic oil makes me wonder, would sustainability folks be a bit more vigilant if McCain were proposing the same exact plan?  Or would they be just as accepting.  On the flip side, do the “drill, baby, drill” folks reject the plan for clean energy and domestic oil drilling because it is coming from Obama?  What do you think of Obama himself promoting “drill, baby, drill?”

Jonathan Mariano is an MBA candidate with the Presidio Graduate School in San Francisco, CA. His interests include the convergence between lean & green and pursuing free-market based sustainable solutions.

9 responses

  1. This just reminds me of what Nader said (and was basically crucified for) when Obama won the election a few years ago (go ahead and look it up, too lazy to check at the moment). It just reminds me that no matter who’s in power, nothing will really change. Nothing’s changed except who’s complaining (when Bush was in power it was Dems demonizing what he did, now Obama’s in power and Repubs are demonizing the exact same stuff). I don’t want to sound too conspiracy theorist in this, but it really seems like the same people are in power now as they were when Bush was around, the only difference is that now the general population is much more under control and pitted against each other instead of towards the people that are screwing us.

    1. Thanks for the comment El Guapo. I tend to concur. Assuming we even have different people in power, they are still doing the same not so good things.

  2. This administration is absolute crap when it comes to the environment. BP, Fracking and now more drilling. All these decisions are too short term. It’s time this country start planning for its future.

    1. Hi Mauvaisoeil, Thanks for the comment. It is remarkable that there isn’t an uproar against this administration for its actions in terms of sustainability and energy.

    2. It’s stupidity to think that you can’t increase oil production in this country, while developing “green energy” alternatives. Further stupidity to bash the other side, then adopt their favorite solution, to avoid $6.00/gallon gas on re-election day.  :)

  3. Biodiesel is simple to use, biodegradable, nontoxic, and essentially free of sulfur and aromatics.
    The only way to end reliance on foreign oil by 2025 is algal-derived marine diese &US Navy 2012)l, jet fuel (US Airforve2012)and ground transportation fuel
    Wheb bio diesel turbo engine arrive in the US

  4. Biodiesel is simple to use, biodegradable, nontoxic, and essentially free of sulfur and aromatics.
    The only way to end reliance on foreign oil by 2025 is algal-derived marine diesel (US Navy 2012), jet fuel (US Air force 2012) and ground transportation fuel
    whenever bio diesel turbo engine arrive in the US

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