AUSTIN – The Obama Administration’s response to the BP oil spill is pushing the U.S. toward an oil shortage and the Gulf Coast toward long-term economic calamity, writes Mario Loyola in the cover story for the latest issue of National Review magazine.
Mr. Loyola, policy analyst for the Armstrong Center for Energy & the Environment at the Texas Public Policy Foundation, recently toured the Gulf Coast region, visiting with government officials, legal experts, and local businesses to get an on-the-ground perspective on the oil spill.
Loyola highlights several examples of how efforts to clean up the spill have been “warped” by the Obama Administration’s efforts to satisfy its political constituencies:
– President Obama’s continuing failure to waive the Jones Act, which bars ships with non-American crews from coastal shipping, despite the significant assistance that foreign ships could provide. – During two weeks in May, the Environmental Protection Agency reversed itself twice on BP’s request to use a powerful chemical dispersant on the spill. – Many skimmers are blocked from participating in the clean up because their discharged water fails to meet stringent pollution standards.
Loyola writes that while President Obama has been ineffectual as chief executive of the emergency response, he has been “dangerously busy on the policy front.” The Administration appears to be using the catastrophe as an opportunity to end “our addiction to fossil fuels” by creating an oil shortage. He cites several actions which he says “bespeak a desire to create a hostile regulatory environment for oil extraction”:
– The moratorium on offshore drilling. – The “browbeating of BP into disgorging assets” regardless of actual liability. – The EPA’s “unjustifiable quashing” of emissions permits for most of the refineries in Texas. – The Interior Department’s failure to process license renewals for a slew of shallow-water wells.
“This turn in U.S. energy policy could not have come at a worse time,” Loyola writes. “Decades of underinvestment in production, tanker, and refining capacity, followed by years of surging demand from emerging markets such as China and India, have created a dangerously volatile situation in the world oil market.”
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Mario Loyola is a policy analyst in the Armstrong Center for Energy & the Environment at the Texas Public Policy Foundation, a non-profit free-market research institute based in Austin, Texas. Mario has written extensively for national and international publications, including features for National Review and The Weekly Standard, and op-eds in The Wall Street Journal.
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