Salazar puts brakes on energy development

“As energy prices surge to uncomfortably high levels, a top administration official wants to make it harder for U.S. companies to get more oil and gas. Once again, we’re shooting ourselves in the foot on energy.

Interior Secretary Ken Salazar couldn’t have picked a worse time to announce that he’s placing new barriers on the development of oil and gas resources. Last year’s rise in oil was the largest in a decade, and crude prices today have topped $82 a barrel.

Yet Salazar on Wednesday announced plans, as the energy news service Greenwire put it, that “will require more detailed environmental reviews, more public input and less use of a provision to streamline leasing.”

In short, private energy development efforts are going backward.  …

The U.S. is sitting on an immense supply of oil and gas, probably larger than anywhere else in the world. We have at least 86 billion barrels of oil and 420 trillion cubic feet of natural gas offshore. As much as 35 billion barrels of oil lies waiting to be tapped in Alaska and the Chukchi Sea. A massive 2.2 trillion barrels of energy lies in our oil shale deposits in Utah, Wyoming and Colorado.

Let’s put this in perspective: Since 1859, when the first oil well was drilled in Titusville, Pa., the world has used 1.1 trillion barrels of oil. We have twice that amount locked up in oil shale deposits, mostly on federal lands. By comparison, the current No. 1 in proven oil reserves, Saudi Arabia, has just 266 billion barrels of oil.  …

[L]ike it or not, the U.S. will still depend on carbon-based fossil fuels for 80% of its energy by 2035, according to the Energy Department. Yet this administration seems intent on leaving it in the ground, opting instead to enact a cap-and-trade law that will cost the U.S. economy trillions of dollars while doing little if anything to cut C02 output.”  “Salazar Slips Energy Policy In Reverse

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