Saturday, June 21, 2008

Barack Obama on Oil: The Facts vs. McCain's Politics

by Christopher Hass

At a press conference yesterday along the St. Johns River in Jacksonville, Florida, Senator Obama talked about the truth behind the politics of offshore drilling, and explained how John McCain's plan to lift the ban on offshore oil production would do little, if anything, to ease gas prices:

The politics may have changed, but the facts haven't... Offshore drilling would not lower gas prices today, it would not lower gas prices next year and it would not lower gas prices five years from now.



UPDATED: Barack's statements were echoed today in Michael Tackett's column for the Tribune's political blog The Swamp, in which Tackett explained that:

The offshore drilling would take years to accomplish, would cost who knows how many millions of dollars and would almost surely do environmental harm. And, by the way, it would do absolutely nothing to reduce the price of gasoline in any new president's first term.

You can follow Barack's Economic Tour and watch additional videos on our "Change That Works For You" page.

31 comments:

Anonymous said...

It really does sound like he is running for Carter's second term! I can't wait to unwind while waiting in the gas lines again. Ah...relaxing!

Anonymous said...

While the rest of us will be conserving or looking for alternative renewable fuel technology.

You are a relic.

Anonymous said...

While the rest of us will be conserving or looking for alternative renewable fuel technology.

You are a relic.

Anonymous said...

What are the alternative renewable fuels that your car runs on? Or are you looking for your renewable fuel on your bicycle? You're certainly not driving a gas "relic" are you?

Anonymous said...

OK, so drilling offshore is a bad idea because it will take years to get the oil to the market.

But developing alternative fuels is a good idea because it will take years to get this technology to the market.

I just wish both sides would be honest. It will take years to resolve this problem no matter what we do. Increased production and increased conservation are the answers, and we won't get the solution over night. It's not one or the other. It's both.

We've been debating this issue on and off since the mid-1970s. There is no single silver bullet to this issue.

Jobu said...

Oh, I forgot about the Deloreans that run on Mr. Fusion. That's been around for at least twenty years now. We could probably retrofit all of our cars with Mr. Fusion in a couple of weeks which would eliminate the need to drill offshore.

Anonymous said...

That is exactly right! It's both. Prices have reawakened the need to develop new energy. But we're not even close yet. Once we come upon a viable solution, we have to phase-out or retrofit our vehicles. We should open drilling now. The news alone will bring down speculative price gouging and begin prices decreasing. We still have many years of oil available which will give us the time we need to develop alternative renewable fuels.

I think hydrogen is the way to go, but it currently is too expensive to crack the molecules from the water, and it is violently volatile. Car wrecks could get a lot worse. And filling the car up would be the extreme daredevil's dream. Oil gives us time to sort these issues out. Nevertheless, between then and now we must continue to function, and this means more oil must flow.

The tired "not a drop for over five years" holds no weight. Had Clinton signed off on ANWR, we would have an additional million barrels per day today. The point is, let's drill off the coasts now (as Castro and China currently are), let's put some of that $130/barrel oil in our pockets to fund the research needed to bring these new fuels to market. Instead we send our cash resources away and are left with few resources of our own to bring to bear on these problems here at home.

It's the inability to compromise on a viable plan that will leave us all in the lurch. Like one of the Anon's said, both sides have to get honest and smart in order to get good results.

Chances are, though, that neither will bend and gas will soon cost $8.00/gallon, gas lines will be long in eager anticipation to pay the $8.00/gallon, and we will still be nowhere closer to a new viable energy policy. This outcome could very well be a crippling end to the middle class. And I don't blame oil companies, I blame obstinate politicians. We need a president that can lead out on all the components of smart energy policy. I'd love to see one that was neither Democrat or Republican, but American.

Anonymous said...

You guys don't get it.

Opening drilling offshore won't produce oil for TEN YEARS.

Conservation is something people can do TODAY. Drive less, carpool, public transportation, DOWNSIZE YOUR VEHICLE. People do not need to drive huge SUVs to get from point A to point B.

In the ten years it would take to wreck the environment and get oil from off-shore drilling or shale, we good be investing in forward thinking fuel technology that will be marketable to the rest of the world. It's not going to be easy to export our gas guzzlers. Heck, we don't want them.

Anonymous said...

WHO KILLED THE ELECTRIC CAR?
WAYNE HOLLAND JR

Anonymous said...

You're right, drilling won't bring new oil on line for some time. But the news would drive speculative prices down drastically. And, in ten years, we'll have more oil. This only seems logical. This is one part of the puzzle.

Do you really believe that conservation is the complete answer? The population of the United States grows at nearly a 1% annual rate. Should we outlaw new drivers? You can't address the problem solely through conservation. While it can help, it is simply another part of the puzzle.

Clean, renewable fuel. Do we have it? Not economically. Can we get it? Yes, over some longer time horizon. Can it come on-line within 10 years? If we couldn't even get new oil flowing in 10 years, do you really believe we'll have this magic bullet in any comparable time? Remember, we would have to convert and phase out all existing and future automobiles, semi's, trains, etc. We would have to implement a massive infrastructure overhaul to deliver the fuel to the consuming public. And, of course, develop it first. Remember: We can't get an old energy source to the market within 10 years, and we are already all set-up for this fuel source.

We are 25 to 50 years away from making this a viable reality. Can it happen? Yes, but today we use oil. We should view this resource as a bridge to the other piece of the puzzle, alternative, renewable fuels.

I'm frightened that this issue will follow partisan lines, annihilating the lower and middle class in America. Believe me, if this issue is not solved, the rich will get much richer, as they will have all access to energy while not having to compete with the masses. If we fail to come together on this, it is to our peril. New business and entrepreneurship will die because the dreamers in the middle and lower class will not be able to afford the fuels to create their businesses. Goods shipped (like almost all goods) will only avail themselves to the rich.

Please don't boil this issue down to partisan politics. Please don't boil this down to bumper sticker logos. Now is the time to press our leaders to do what is right and put all of these pieces into a complete energy solution for this country.

Anonymous said...

We are already drilling in the Gulf of Mexican.

Bush Sr. was the one to sign off on limiting drilling near the coast. How many billions in tourist spending would we lose by damaging the coasts off of Florida? Jeb Bush is against it.

Conserving can have a bigger impact than you think. We could cut usage in half in this country simply by driving more fuel efficient vehicles or using public transportation.

Anonymous said...

At the end of the day, the US has 3% of the world's proven oil reservoirs (not including shale). Should we risk wrecking our beaches and a billion dollar tourism industry for that?

It's a political issue to think about drilling off shore. That's why McCain flip flopped.

Anonymous said...

The Gulf of Mexican? It's obvious there is no reasoning. So be it. When gas reaches $8-$10 per gallon, the people who currently think it would be "nice" to take care of the environment won't care anymore and the environmental movement will come to a crashing halt. But people like you will have been able to use drilling as a wedge issue to get your candidate elected and that is all you care about (as evidenced by your McCain flip flop comment.)

It's not about flip flops, or you would be angry with Obama for not taking public funding.

The problem is, by then it will be too late, and the stars in your eyes will be replaced by reality.

By the way, how has tourism or the environment been hurt by our drilling in "The Gulf of Mexican?"

Anonymous said...

Drilling is currently further off of the coast line so a spill could be contained before it hits the shore. Move it to within five miles, then you have a big problem.

Campaign fundraising is much less of an issue than enery policy.

If republicans lead people to believe that off shore drilling will solve our problems, once again they are hugely short-sighted and, at worst, lying.

Anonymous said...

Oops typo, of course I mean the "Gulf of Mexico".

Anonymous said...

If you can't see that it is just one of a myriad solution, you're lying to yourself.

For you it's just party lines. Obama can lie, cause it's just campaign fundraising.

Over 3000 oil rigs were compromised during Hurricane Katrina with no impact to the environment. Neither has there been any issue in the Gulf of Mexico, like you have admitted. The bottom line is that there has been no environmental impact 5 miles or 20 miles out.

It's this type of inability to compromise that leads to such dysfunctional government. It will probably take gas lines to teach the new generation about energy and its impact on our life. BTW, if you really think we can cut consumption by half, you'd better get an I.V. for your Kool-Aid.

Anonymous said...

Since it amounts to 3% of the world's proven reserves it's not worth the risk as part of a "myriad" solution.

George Bush Sr. understood that, just like he once understood the consequences of invading Iraq.

Perhaps you cannot understand that this was an issue that was once agreed on ACROSS PARTY LINES, until McCain flip flopped to make 3% a political issue.

Gas tax holiday, anyone?

Anonymous said...

Why did you put myriad in quotes? Do you not understand this word? You might look it up like you did "The gulf of Mexican."

Anyway, I'd love a gas tax holiday, thanks! Will we get one?

No...Obama will pull a Carter and create gas lines and higher prices by attacking the oil companies. He'll probably only get one term for doing it, too

Best of luck for your future. You'll need it! This has been a great excercise in futility. Sort of like talking sense to the sensless.

Anonymous said...

Ah, personal insults now. This is going no where...

I'm ready for change. We've had enough stupid solutions over the past eight years.

I still haven't heard from you how our 3% reserves are worth the risk. You have conveniently ignored that while harping on my typos. Where are your priorities?

Jobu said...

The 3% argument is great rhetoric but is a lousy policy basis. It's similar to the "ANWR has only six months worth of oil" argument.

Based on your 3% argument, we should shut down existing American production right now because it is not worth it. Every field in the world that produces less than ANWR would should be shut down also. Pretty soon were left with just one field, Ghawar in Saudi Arabia., and world oil production is decreased by 90% or more. Hardly a viable solution.

This problem will be solved incrementally. We will increase our production incrementally and we will increase conservation incrementally. There is not one politically, economically, or financially viable conservation method that could be implemented RIGHT NOW that would suddenly reduce consumption tomorrow, but that doesn't mean we should give up on all of them. In fact, we are going to need to implement scores of conservation approaches to significantly reduce consumption, but your 3% argument would dismiss all of those as not being worth it.

Anonymous said...

Actually you've conveniently ignored the fact that I only suggest augmenting current supply with one or two million more barrels of domestic supply. Not rely completely upon our domestic capabilities. We can sustain this contribution to supply for more than 100 years. So it doesn't matter that we only hold a small percentage of the world's oil.

It's not the typos, it's your depth of knowledge that I am pointing out.

BTW, it's nowhere, not "no where." You support my arguments for me....Thanks!

Anonymous said...

Jobu: Thanks for restoring my faith concerning thinkers out there. I agree completely. Your words were spot-on! Maybe there is hope for real solutions on this topic!

Anonymous said...

Oh great, grammar police who don't understand economics.

It's interesting that as a republican you don't comprehend how worthless a gas tax holiday is and how it could actually cost thousands of jobs.

Also, it's odd that you would criticize Barack Obama for NOT using public funds. I would think a republican would admire his ability to pay his own way.

Did you know that 15 of McCain's closest advisors and fundraisers have lobbied for oil companies?

Drilling coastal areas, frankly, is another worthless solution pushed by republicans in a political season.

Just closing a loophole that allows SUVs to guzzle more gas would save the same amount of oil as drilling in these protected areas in just two years -- without risking our fragile coastlines and the wildlife that lives there.

The fact is that Bush does not want to end his presidency in the midst of an energy crisis. He wants to somehow blame this on democrats. He's trying prove that they are hindering the solution, which he falsely claims is drilling along the coastline.

Typical.

Anonymous said...

Point #1-What part of more supply pressuring prices doesn't your keen economic mind understand?

Point #2-What jobs would it cost?

Point #3-Obama criticized himself for not using public funds....before he decided not to.

Point #4-Good for McCain! The oil companies are among the most active private sector researchers in alternative fuels. See how proactive he is!

The rest is just typical empty rhetoric from people who don't want solutions. Just because you point fingers at people and call viable policy worthless doesn't mean it is so. Sorry!

BTW...Where did you get information that proves SUV mileage can save as much oil as we can pump from the protected areas? I hope it was a reputable source so as to improve your credibility.

Anonymous said...

Try using Google and research facts.

Anonymous said...

Oh yea...random internet sites. Your brilliance is showing!

Anonymous said...

Okay, then be old-fashioned go to the library instead of using the internet. Now we've gone full circle and you're still a relic. :)

Anonymous said...

You know what? I finally agree! I am a relic! Thank you for the spirited debate...I have to admire your fire!

Anonymous said...

Yeah, it was fun. Hey, I stuck around this long...

Anonymous said...

WHO KILLED THE ELECTRIC CAR?

WAYNE HOLLAND JR.

Anonymous said...

Monty...

Monty...

Is that you Monty?