President Obama Opposes Alaska Oil and Gas Development Bill
Just over a month ago, President Obama spoke of a plan to open up development in Alaska’s national petroleum reserve and in some areas offshore in the Lower 48. However, this opening of development was centered, in part, around speeding up environmental assessments, which could possibly mean that the EPA could just say "no" a little more quickly.
Now, the Obama administration is singing a different tune in objecting to a proposal from the Natural Resource Commitee–the Alaska Oil and Gas Development bill. President Obama’s proposal in June and calls to extend offshore leases now don’ t address the true problem like the proposed bill in Congress, which focuses more on permits than leases. Leases cannot be acted upon if permits are not also approved to provide the necessary infrastructure for drilling, especially in these areas of Alaska. Congressman Hastings of Washington notes:
But House Republicans said the administration wasn’t going far enough. "Producing oil and natural gas in the NPR-A is pointless if there’s no way to get it out of there," said Rep. Doc Hastings, Republican of Washington. "The real problem is the federal government’s blocking and delaying of permits for necessary roads, bridges and pipelines needed to transport the energy out of the [reserve]."
The Obama administration’s rejection of this bill points to a viewpoint where the branches of government are twisted. We’ve all heard the phrase "legislating from the bench" in reference to judicial activism. Similarly, President Obama has made legislating from the executive branch a key part of his governing style. The objection to this bill comes primarily from the Bureau of Land Management,which fears the bill would undermine their lease sales. This bureau, the EPA, the Interior Department, and other bureaucracies are all headed by unelected, appointed individuals. The are not accountable to any constituency. Continued moves like this only serve to perpetuate a power grab, not only in the depth of power, but also in the breadth.
This serves to again show the night and day difference between President Obama and Governor Palin. In Going Rogue, Governor Palin discusses government’s role as protecting us, not perfecting us. In President Obama’ s environmental concerns, he strives to perfect us. After all, there cannot be any spills or environmental hazards if no drilling is allowed, right? Perfection. Governor Palin, on the other hand,focuses on government oversight, rather than government overregulation. This protects Americans from environmental and physical harm and holds oil companies accountable without stymieing development.