Interior Secretary Ken Salazar, having noted that a federal court has struck down the deep water oil drilling ban because the government lacked sufficient reason for it, has vowed to find a sufficient reason to reinstate the ban.
Considering that Judge Feldman demonstrated in his ruling that, contrary to the federal government, there is every reason to continue to allow continued deep water oil drilling, one wonders what new reasons Secretary Salazar will come up with. Salazar’s announcement is also interesting, as the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals will be hearing an appeal about Judge Feldman’s overturning the original ban.
But, there may be a more devious strategy at work. Oil drilling companies are very unlikely to restart drilling operations in the Gulf of Mexico until the legal wrangling is resolved, despite Judge Feldman’s overturning of the ban. In effect, the ban continues, even though, legally, it has been lifted.
Secretary Salazar could reinstate the ban with a different set of reasons, touching off another round of court challenges. Time will be consumed while the new ban is argued in court, while the oil platforms continue not to operate. Even if Salazar is overruled again, it may not matter.
Even more ominous for the economic health of the Gulf coast is the prospect of oil drilling companies growing tired of their deep water oil platforms being kept idle. They may decide to begin moving them to other parts of the world, where the political and legal climate is more amenable for oil drilling.
This development may be just fine for Interior Secretary Salazar and the Obama administration. Considering the current regime’s well-documented hostility toward carbon-based energy production, oil and coal, the destruction of the Gulf coast oil industry might be more in the way of a feature, rather than a bug, in the plan.
The Obama administration believes that it can, by government fiat, totally change the way the United States generates energy. It wants to get America off oil and coal, and onto more politically acceptable methods of energy production, primarily solar and wind energy.
The problem is that one cannot legislate one’s way from one kind of energy economy to another. Technology has its own pace of development. The market is a better determinant of how energy is generated than the whims of politicians and bureaucrats. Attempts to “summon the future” of a clean energy utopia are very likely instead to cause economic chaos, energy shortages, and human misery on a vast scale.
The Obama administration might have calculated that this is also more of a feature than a bug. People who are under economic stress, it is calculated, can be made more dependent on government largess, as they were during the Great Depression. But, people thus used can also be made angry with the government that placed them in that position. That is the awful risk the Obama regime is taking in its quest for more power.
Federal Judge Overturns Obama Deep Water Oil Drilling Ban, Mark R. Whittington, Associated Content, June 22nd, 2010
Salazar Seeks to Re-impose Drilling Moratorium, CBS News, June 22nd, 2010