Gas Prices Doubled, Obama Locks Up National Reserve
As the administration fast-tracks solar projects on public lands, it has locked up more than half of the National Petroleum Reserve in Alaska, preferring to continue outsourcing energy jobs and dollars.
The price of gasoline, which was $1.84 a gallon the day President Obama took office, has more than doubled since, willfully aided and abetted by an administration that claims we can't drill our way to energy independence as we ignore vast reserves of North American energy that dwarf OPEC's and we sit on 100 years' supply of petroleum.
Few Americans have heard of the National Petroleum Reserve-Alaska (NPRA), and those who have might get it confused with the Strategic Petroleum Reserve or even the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge (ANWR) to the east. The NPRA, 23 million acres of North Slope wilderness, was established in 1923 by President Harding to ensure a reserve of oil for the U.S. Navy.
In 1976 Congress designated it as a strategic oil and natural gas stockpile to meet the "energy needs of the nation." Obama has cited it as an example of areas where the oil companies could drill but are reluctant to, knowing full well his administration has walled off preferred areas on the Outer Continental Shelf, on protected federal lands and in ANWR.
Now his administration has walled off the most productive areas of NPRA in a little-noticed Interior Department decision in August closing off drilling on nearly half of NPRA's 23.5 million acres of desolate, frozen wilderness. Interior Secretary Ken Salazar says his plan "will help the industry bring energy safely to market from this remote location, while also protecting wildlife and subsistence rights of Alaska natives."
Alaska's entire congressional delegation — Sens. Mark Begich and Lisa Murkowski and Rep. Don Young — say otherwise. They call it "the largest wholesale land withdrawal and blocking of access to an energy resource by the federal government in decades."
They also say the ruling "will significantly limit options for a pipeline" through the reserve long sought to transport oil and gas from the Chukchi Sea, the North Slope and future Arctic drilling. Like the Keystone XL pipeline from Canada, it will likely not be completed if the Obama administration stays in power.