Among the issues most commonly discussed are individuality, the rights of the individual, the limits of legitimate government, morality, history, economics, government policy, science, business, education, health care, energy, and man-made global warming evaluations. My posts are aimed at intelligent and rational individuals, whose comments are very welcome.

"No matter how vast your knowledge or how modest, it is your own mind that has to acquire it." Ayn Rand

"Observe that the 'haves' are those who have freedom, and that it is freedom that the 'have-nots' have not." Ayn Rand

"The virtue involved in helping those one loves is not 'selflessness' or 'sacrifice', but integrity." Ayn Rand

09 August 2009

Obama's Energy Shenanigans

Obama has often spoken of energy independence as a goal. That goal is neither practical, nor desirable. But it is good to have many alternative sources of energy, in which I mean mostly alternative sources of oil and gas, since we have plenty of coal and can readily have as much nuclear power as we want. What we want in energy is many well-priced options. If we have that, then no one can hold us over a barrel or do very much to damage our economy.

Obama has also sought to decrease our use of fossil fuels, which the Waxman-Markey carbon cap and trade bill is designed to do. Supposedly, this bill is being put forward to save the earth from some imagined catastrophic effect of man-made CO2 emissions. These emissions are supposed to overheat the earth, cause great rises in sea level, create huge storms, cause devastating human diseases, and all manner of horrible travails for man and all other animals. It is all nonsense, but Obama is already having a major impact on our energy use, including fossil fuels by virtue of his fueling the recession and making it deeper and making it last longer than it should have.

The American Petroleum Institute reports that the total petroleum products delivered to the domestic market in June 2009 is only 94.56% of that delivered in June of 2008. In the first half of 2009, total petroleum deliveries in the U.S. were down nearly 6%. The resulting petroleum deliveries were the lowest for a first half in more than a decade. Jet fuel deliveries fell by nearly 13% from a year ago and distillate fuel oil deliveries fell by 8.6% due to lowered freight transportation demand. Gasoline deliveries fell less than 1% to reach their lowest level since 2003. Creating or extending a recession is a great way to decrease the use of fossil fuels!

On the energy independence front, we have seen little contribution from alternative fuels, but this has been a constant for decades. We have seen a decrease in the importation of crude oil and product imports, however. They dropped by 7.6% in the first half due to reduced demand and an increase in U.S. production! In the first half, U.S. production was up 3.8% from a year ago, bringing it to the highest level in four years. The U.S. oil producers are doing their part to help bring us out of this recession. They have increased production in offshore Gulf of Mexico, North Dakota, and elsewhere onshore to more than compensate for a drop in oil from Alaska due to maintenance work on the Trans-Alaskan Pipeline. Our oil refineries are chugging along at an 84.5% utilization rate in June, compared to the 64.7% rate for all manufacturing industries. Total imports in June were 60.8% of all petroleum deliveries, down from 67.8% a year ago.

This is the critical U.S. industry that Obama wishes to cripple. Ken Salazar, the Interior secretary, has stalled the bidding process for oil and natural gas exploration both on Federal lands and on the outer continental shelf. The threat of Waxman-Markey energy taxes and restrictions are also causing a decrease in domestic exploration and oil field development. The average number of active rotary drilling rigs in the U.S. as of 10 July 2009 was only 916, despite that number averaging 1,879 in 2008. The record low had occurred near the end of the oil unfriendly Clinton regime at 488 rigs. The all-time high occurred early in the Reagan administration at 4,530. The increased oil production we have had recently in the U.S. is due to the increased drilling activity of the much-maligned Bush presidency. We all know how many environmental disasters occurred as a result of that increased drilling, right?

So, Obama is shooting the nation in the leg ( Or is it in the gut?) in the name of decreasing CO2 emissions? Well, no. It must be for some other reason. First it is becoming clear that natural forces, not puny man-made CO2 emissions, control our climate. The socialist left has been screaming that these results are too late and that a consensus exists that CO2 emissions must be stopped at all costs to prevent the death of the earth. This is now clearly hogwash. The science is contrary to their assertions. Second, even if their assertions were correct, the underdeveloped world is not buying them and they are massively increasing their use of fossil fuels. Lisa Jackson, Obama's administrator for the EPA and former head of the New Jersey Dept. of Environmental Protection, told Congress that the U.S. action under Waxman-Markey would not impact world CO2 concentrations. It is an exercise in futility.

Unless, as is commonly the case with these socialists, the real reason for Waxman-Markey is something very different. It is. It has several purposes for our committed socialists of the Democrat Party:
  • The collection of huge new tax revenues
  • Great latitude to pick winners and losers in the private sector
  • Increased campaign contributions from companies scared to death by the threat of harmful government agency regulations under the broad umbrella of Waxman-Markey
  • The need to "make it effective" by coordinating actions with the countries of the rest of the world, leading to one-world government and the subversion of the hated U.S. Constitution
Obama has made it clear that he is a citizen of the world and views all nations as equals. Al Gore has stated that Waxman-Markey will increase the pressure for "global governance and global agreements." Both Obama and Gore covet the so-called "positive rights" popular in the European Union and at the United Nations. They will give them the means to totally do an end run around those provisions of the U.S. Constitution which still have a pesky way of interfering with their lust for total power.

Meanwhile, Waxman-Markey has been scored by the probably intimidated Congressional Budget Office as raising $846 billion of taxes over the next 10 years. During the prior Congressional session, the CBO estimated that a less aggressive bill would raise $1.2 trillion in taxes. The Tax Foundation estimates that 1,000,000 jobs a year will be lost due to Waxman-Markey as some of the initial credits for large companies expire. All this, so socialists, the supposed champions of the working guy, can have the power they so lust for. But, then, anyone who has bothered to study history in the least, knows that socialism is all about posing as the little guy's champion, but making him poor, miserable, and subservient in reality.

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