President Obama announced today his plan to modify the moratorium on offshore drilling by allowing rigs within 50 miles of the coast of Virginia. While this sounds good on the surface, the article goes on to highlight other areas that are now closed to drilling, namely the West Coast and Alaska.
Net gain = not much.
Veteran political watchers will immediately recognize this move as the tossing of a bone to the right and a few independents since his approval numbers are descending rapidly among those groups. The headlines will make it sound as though Obama really cares about artifically high energy costs, but not everyone is as enthusiastic. John Boehner rightly finds this announcement lacking, as will most Americans once they find out the details.
So, how would we know that Obama, who admitted that his cap-and-trade bill would result in catastrophic increases in energy prices for Americans, is serious about reducing our dependency on foreign oil? He didn't call for any type of legislation to streamline the permitting process for oil exploration. There are no provisions to eliminate the frivolous lawsuits that radical environmental groups use to cripple our capacity to produce energy. He hasn't called for a moratorium on new environmental regulations. He hasn't done anything to increase our energy supply or reduce energy costs.
This announcement is basically a non-announcement.
We'll see if this statement has any teeth by the way the market responds with higher or lower gas pump prices. Many leading indicators say that we can expect another round of $4 per gallon gas this summer which will further harm an already wounded economy. As with the last one, grocery prices will rise first, followed by anything else that is transported by truck. The hyperinflation that we've been warned about could very well start in the energy sector, primarily due to ineffective and essentially meaningless policies such as this one. Once this begins, it will be very hard to stop, especially with the current crop of Congresscritters in Washington and their resistance to common sense and ignorance of economic laws.