The Obama administration has been slow-walking oil drilling permits in the Gulf of Mexico, has continued the longstanding opposition of most Democrats and some Republicans to the common sense policy of oil drilling in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge in Alaska and has blocked the Keystone XL pipeline from Canada, apparently at the behest of wealthy campaign contributors—and seems to realize the political idiocy of this policy, as witness the totally-without-credibility denial by Press Secretary Jay Carney that the president did what he did.
But at the same time the president has supported oil drilling off the shore of Brazil by the partly privatized firm Petrobras and now has decided to aid the efforts of the state-owned firm Pemex for deep offshore drilling in the Gulf of Mexico. This, despite the fact that Pemex has no experience with such projects and, unlike Petrobras, labors under national laws prohibiting or discouraging the use of experienced private sector partners in this enterprise.
Let’s get this straight. We’ve prohibited a pipeline, the safest way to transport oil, from Canada, but we’re aiding Mexico in offshore drilling, which is riskier, and by a firm that lacks the experience of the U.S. firms we have been trying to prevent drilling in the same body of water. Does this make any sense at all. “Obama has managed to find the sour spot on energy,” writes the usually judicious Walter Russell Mead, who concludes his blogpost with tart understatement: “his energy policy could use a bit more thinking through.” Ya think?