A new report is out that makes the case that the tag team of President Obama and Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar are doing a great job of screwing up America's opportunity to increase energy security and reduce energy prices.
Yesterday, the Western Energy Alliance, an organization which represents oil and gas producers in western states, released "The Blueprint for Western Energy Prosperity" arguing that the oil and gas resources in Colorado and other western states would be able to eclipse the foreign energy imports from such friendly nations as Saudi Arabia and Venezuela.
From the Washington Examiner:
"America's energy-rich western states stretching from North Dakota and Montana on the Canadian border to New Mexico on the Southern border can produce enough oil and natural gas to replace what America presently imports from Saudi Arabia, Nigeria, Columbia, Algeria, Iraq, Russia, Venezuela, and Kuwait, according to a new study conducted for the Western Energy Alliance.
According to the study's executive summary, the western states can produce as much as 1.3 million barrels of oil per day by 2020, and 6.2 trillion cubic feet of natural gas annually by the same year."
The report goes on to say, despite the great potential for western energy producers to achieve these results, the federal government is doing its damn best to throw up barriers and red tape at every possible turn.
One of those barriers was recently lifted by a federal judge after the same group, Western Energy Alliance, sued Salazar's Interior Department for not following the law. The Wall Street Journal reports that oil and gas companies purchased leases from the Interior Department, but didn't receive the leases in the 60 days federal law requires. The judge has now required the Interior Department to make a final decision on granting the paid-for leases within 60 days.
Here at the Peak we've extensively covered the failings and shortcomings of Salazar and the fallacies surrounding energy policy. Numerous federal judges apparently agree with our sentiments about Salazar, including one who held his department in contempt for delaying decisions virtually indefinitely on offshore drilling.
It's become clear to us and many observers that Salazar simply won't do his job or allow for greater domestic energy production without having his hand forced.
About two weeks ago Congressman Mike Coffman introduced a (poorly acronymed) bill that aims to speed up a process that makes the DMV look like a model of efficiency. From Real Vail:
"Besides borrowing its acronym from a famously controversial piece of transportation legislation in Colorado, FASTER (H.R. 2375) “would require the U.S. Department of the Interior to accelerate and streamline the approval process for onshore oil and gas production permits on federal lands to produce for [sic] domestic oil and gas,” according to a release.“Instead of depleting our emergency reserves, the Obama Administration should stop standing in the way of allowing Americans to develop our own energy resources,” Coffman said, referring to President Barack Obama’s recent decision to tap into the Strategic Petroleum Reserve to help ease gas prices this summer."
Way to go Coffman! As the "Blueprint" report outlines, we have enormous resources sitting right beneath our feet. It's simply unfathomable that the Green Machine would rather our oil and gas come from human rights abusing nations like Saudi Arabia and Venezuela, instead of right here in Colorado where it can employ people and pay for schools.
With Obama's approval rating on gas prices at a lowly 34% you would think opportunities for lowering prices would be a prime focus. But with the cowboy hatted Charlatan Salazar heading Interior, we're not so sure these opportunities will be utilized.