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August 18 2015

Obama Administration Greenlights Arctic Oil Exploration….For Now

Carrie L. Lukas

The reaction from radical environmentalists suggests that the Obama Administration has broken its habit of blocking energy exploration (i.e. the Keystone Pipeline) and is now allowing energy producers to sensibly seek new energy sources. 

Here’s what Politico reported yesterday:

President Barack Obama crushed greens’ hearts Monday by giving Shell the final go-ahead to drill for oil in Alaska’s Arctic waters, just two weeks after he thrilled them by issuing his landmark regulations on climate change.

In the long run, Obama’s successors will determine whether the industry can tap Alaska’s prized offshore oil — and one 2016 contender, Hillary Clinton, has expressed “doubts” about opening the Arctic to drilling. But it was Obama’s Interior Department that gave Shell its nod Monday, in the face of an opposition campaign that has seen activists dangling from a bridge in Oregon and swarming the company’s Arctic-bound rig with kayaks to try to block the project.

Yet it’s not clear just how big a win this is for energy production.  This Administration’s "greenlight" may include new rules and regulations that effectively thwart the exploration effort, and the limited timeframe may also make exploration unworkable for Shell.

We will have to wait and see as the details emerge, but it’s a positive sign, at least, that the Administration appears to be ignoring the alarmism from radical environmentalists and acknowledging the significant economic benefits that come from common sense energy exploration. 

The President should be keenly aware of the importance of a sufficient energy supply to an economy. After all, his Administration has enjoyed an energy boom that has kept fuel prices low and made everything more affordable.  If energy supply hadn’t grown and our economy had also faced high fuel prices over the last six years, then the President’s less-than-stellar economic record would be a true disaster. More affordable energy is particularly important for those with lower incomes, who get hit the worst when gas prices rise and take a bigger bite out of their budgets.

Let’s hope this really is the beginning of a new trend and that Left and Right can agree that allowing companies to responsibly pursue new energy sources is a win-win for everyone. 

Independent Women's Forum is an educational 501(c)(3) dedicated to developing and advancing policies that aren’t just well intended, but actually enhance people’s freedom, choices, and opportunities. IWF is the sister organization of the Independent Women’s Voice.​
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