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Dumbest Thing I Have Read Today

Apparently from the lips of Barrack Obama, via the WSJ and Tom Nelson:

"I want you to think about this," Barack Obama said in Las Vegas last week. "The oil companies have already been given 68 million acres of federal land, both onshore and offshore, to drill. They're allowed to drill it, and yet they haven't touched it – 68 million acres that have the potential to nearly double America's total oil production."

Wow.  I would not have thought it possible to blame government restrictions on drilling, which the oil companies have decried for years, on the oil companies themselves.  But apparently its possible. 

1.  Just because the Federal Government auctions an oil lease, it does not mean that there is oil there.  And if there is oil there, it does not mean the oil is recoverable economically or with current technology.  Does this even need to be said?

2.  The implication is that oil companies are intentionally not drilling available reserves (to raise prices or because they are just generally evil or whatever).  But if this is the case, then what is the problem with issuing new leases?  If oil companies aren't going to drill them, then the government gets a bunch of extra leasing money without any potential environmental issues.  Of course, nobody on the planet would argue Obama's real concern is that the new leases won't get drilled -- his concern is that they will get drilled and his environmental backers will get mad at him.

Posted on June 30, 2008 at 09:47 AM | Permalink

Comments

This is party line. I heard Rahm Emanuel spew the same drizzle last week. I'd never heard the issue raised until McCain and Republicans launched "Drill Here, Drill Now," in the aftermath of Democrat obstruction of energy development in the face of soaring oil costs. Typical Democrat deflection ploy.

Posted by: linearthinker | Jun 30, 2008 10:53:15 AM

The Dems are seriously deluded on the energy issue. Except for Obama's smart move to oppose the pander of a gas tax holiday, he's completely out in left field, and has adopted the idiotic party line of blaming the oil companies. I'm seriously considering a vote for McCain simply because the Dems are so ignorant (or pretend to be) on energy issues in general. And I have never voted for a Republican for president.

Just to take one of the wrong points Obama makes here: There is no scientist worth his or her salt who believes the U.S. could nearly "double" its oil production. Production is down to about half of its level in 1970, and that's despite bringing Prudhoe Bay and most of the Gulf into the mix during the last four decades. If those finds couldn't double U.S. production (and indeed they didn't, as production never came back to 1970 levels even when they were at their peak), than the leases the oil industry now holds certainly won't. Even the Bush/McCain plan to allow drilling in restricted areas like ANWR won't double production, but it's a realistic approach that may bring a million or more barrels extra per day on line in the next decade and should be done for many reasons, which I won't go into now.

Posted by: Dan | Jun 30, 2008 11:19:45 AM

""If we extrapolate from today's production rates on federal lands and waters," the authors write, the oil companies could "nearly double total U.S. oil production" (their emphasis).

In other words, these whiz kids assume that every acre of every lease holds the same amount of oil and gas. Yet the existence of a lease does not guarantee that the geology holds recoverable resources.

Obama's Dry Hole

These people [Barack Obama, Democratic staff of the House Resources Committee] are ignorant fatass liars.

Posted by: Mesa Econoguy | Jun 30, 2008 3:11:45 PM

If gas prices keep on going up the closer we get to November, things could get tricky for the magic man ...

Posted by: loki on the run | Jun 30, 2008 3:45:54 PM

"Except for Obama's smart move to oppose the pander of a gas tax holiday, he's completely out in left field, and has adopted the idiotic party line of blaming the oil companies."

Actually the fact that he was against the gas tax, but for "windfall profits" tax shows that he is an utter donkey devoid of any basic grasp of high school economics. Tax incidence, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tax_incidence, is a concept that if you don't understand you have no business setting government tax policy.

Posted by: Jay | Jun 30, 2008 8:18:22 PM

The Democrats, faced with high gasoline prices, are squirming in their attempts to justify obstructing drilling. They are not, however, so stupid as to believe what they say; rather, they are liars.

They have come up with this narrative in complete dishonesty in order to try to fool the public and shift the blame from obstructionists to the big bad oil companies. Its absurdity is a sign of their desperation on this issue.


Posted by: John Moore | Jun 30, 2008 8:20:02 PM

Hey!! I'm a 'scientist worth his salt' and I think you could double US oil production by drilling in my back yard, if I only assume that I'm sitting more or less directly over a pool of about 400 billion barrels of oil. Of course, it would take a *really, seriously* big pipe to get it out of the ground, but then I'm not a 'scientist' who knows all that much about geology, or mechanical engineering, or oil production in general.

In my defense, however, I'd like to point out that that still makes me as knowledgeable about oil production as many of the 'scieneists' who support Anthropic Global Warming are about climate science and/or Global Warming, so there.

Posted by: JorgXMcKie | Jul 1, 2008 10:21:29 AM

Actually the fact that he was against the gas tax, but for "windfall profits" tax shows that he is an utter donkey devoid of any basic grasp of high school economics.

You fail at reading comprehension. Obama is *for* the gas tax. Which is similar to being for the windfall profits tax, as you suggest. This still doesn't seem like a great idea to me (crushes incentives to invest in energy development) but it doesn't show any ignorance of tax incidence.

Posted by: bbartlog | Jul 1, 2008 12:33:13 PM

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