Guest Post: Obama's Energy Policy - A Labyrinth Of Contradictions

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Obama's Energy Policy: A Labyrinth of Contradictions

When it comes to energy, there is an incoherence to President Barack Obama’s policies.

This incoherence is embedded in his administration in the person of Carol Browner. She is largely regarded as the agent of a kind of reactionary environmentalism that once haunted the Democratic Party.

Browner, administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency under President Bill Clinton, is a special assistant to Obama for energy and environment. To a wide variety of industries, though, she is the agent of regressive, just-say-no environmentalism.

Browner’s background–from environmental jobs in Florida to working with Al Gore–dooms her to suspicion of zealotry, which is probably unjustified. Her defenders (just about all in the environmental movement), see her as a great public servant and standard-bearer.

But she is largely out of sight these days; her writ and her influence unknown.

To the energy industries, from the ever-embattled nuclear sector to the euphoric-for-now natural gas producers and the mostly happy wind farmers, Browner and her role remains a mystery. Why is she there? How much does she influence Obama? Or, for that matter, does he care more about the politics of energy and the environment than he does about the issues?

The answer, like so much that can be said of Obama, is some of this and some of that.
The administration is opening up the Atlantic coast and part of the Alaskan coast to oil drilling. But it is keeping the California shoreline free of new exploration. (There are a lot of environmental voters in California).

As for nuclear power, the actions of the administration are the most confusing. Obama looks like a host who having welcomed a guest to dine, snatches the guest’s chair away when the meal is brought in.

He has advocated nuclear power and has endorsed loan guarantees for new nuclear reactors. But in a piece of blatant political opportunism Obama has canceled all work, and even licensing, on the Yucca Mountain waste repository site in Nevada. Yet, Yucca Mountain was the cornerstone of the civilian nuclear revival.

To understand why Yucca Mountain has been abandoned, together with $10 billion of taxpayer money, look no further than the senior senator from Nevada, Harry Reid. And to understand Reid’s stubborn rejection of a national patriotic role for Nevada, look no further than the gaming tables and slot machines of Las Vegas. At least part of Obama’s energy policy is influenced by fruit machines.

Obama first declared against Yucca Mountain during the campaign. Many thought that his opposition would, in the way of campaign promises, melt in the sunshine of reality.

But the politics of the Senate triumphed. Obama’s need for Reid, the majority leader in the Senate, became utter dependence in the health-care debate. So the will of previous Congresses for a sophisticated and vital nuclear industry, was trumped by Reid. The Joker came out of the pack face up.

Good thing for energy policy that Nevada has no other big energy issues. Part of its previous attraction for nuclear was its small population and remote location. But the wheel of fortune spins in politics as well as roulette, and unpredictably Reid rose to be the most important Democrat in the Senate.

The offhand way the administration has junked Yucca Mountain should worry all in energy supply. White House press secretary Robert Gibbs dismissed the abandonment of Yucca Mountain as being done on “scientific grounds.” If you believe that, the tooth fairy is your sister.

So the administration has pushed nuclear in the full knowledge that California and other states by law cannot approve new plants without a viable repository for their spent fuel. In a stroke, the administration has converted certainty to limbo.

The squeezing of coal is similar. EPA is moving ahead with classifying carbon dioxide as a pollutant, presumably in order to pressure Congress to pass the highly criticized cap-and-trade legislation.

This giving and taking away should give pause to those who think oil and natural gas drilling will proceed apace in the Atlantic and off Alaska. Browner and the president himself must know that a slew of lawsuits will be filed and will tie up action for years, if not decades.

One foot forward, 12 inches backward. That is the Obama energy quick-step.


By Llewellyn King for who focus on Fossil Fuels, Metals, Oil Prices and Geopolitics To find out more visit their website at:

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trav7777's picture

Actually, 'Bama closed more than he opened.  Net down.

I used to live in a neighborhood with these people.  They DEMAND electricity but demand NO POWER PLANTS.

Socialist liberalism is inherently self-destructive and paradoxical.

docj's picture

Actually, they pretty much just demand NO POWER PLANTS - from the air-conditioned comfort of a lounge chair in Starbucks, while sipping a latte, downloading the latest indie music to their MacBooks, and yammering loudly into their iPhone to a fellow-traveler about our society's obscene energy consumption.

</ I live near, and work with, a lot of moonbats >

Moe Gamble's picture

Damn right he shut down Yucca mountain. I live near Vegas.

docj's picture

When it comes to (energy) just about everything, there is an incoherence to President Barack Obama’s policies.


Mr Lennon Hendrix's picture

"Can we put a foot in their ass, please?"

"Attention please!  Attention please!  This shit here feels like a whole entire world collapse...MOTHA FUCKA!!!!"

Hey here is an idea!  Lets go after some hard to get oil with our last remaining steel.  Obama, you may be the worst Prezz ever.  At least we knew W. was manic.  Billy was a soft bitch, we knew that.  We knew H.W. was evil, that CIA son of a bitch!!!  And Reagan, oh jesus, lets not get started.  Carter was a fool!  A FOOL!  He got taken at the card table for everything, in his first two hands.  Ford?  Pshw!  Warren commission, and remember, Chevy Chase WAS brilliant (cocaine is a helluva drug!).  Nixon may have been the worst, but ya'll should have seen that one coming.  Joe Kennedy, why the hell did you make the concession to have EL.Blow.Job sit next to your boys?  Another evil, evil man.

BO is either the most evil son of a (I don't know BAM's Mom, although she is on the Cheney side-they ARE all related, and it's some weird shit- but Prescott's wife was a Herbert/Walker...Wiki those families for a good time!)....on the planet, or is dumb as dirt.  I am going with a combination of both, as his handlers knew how to "maximize his utility".

This is the case for all Presidents since, I mean Jack.  Jack was Prez.

These two pieces of evidence go for all said Prezzes.

Evidence for their idiocy:  Must read off of teleprompters/notes, given speeches/talking points from handlers.

Evidence for their evil nature:  Does thy bidding.

Obama, you suck mayne.  Hey, if MOP reads this post, can we please run some game on them banksters and such.  I believe we could get the dirrty back.

If I ever met BO, this is what I would say to his face, no blinking needed:

"Hoe you don't be rymin', you still memorizin'/ really want them god damn diamonds!"


Ante Up - Busta Rhymes ft M.O.P:

Objective Soul's picture

 Interests colliding.

The Federal govt is using it's control over lands, waters, environmental agencies, and regulations as a carrot, baseball bat and siege to move it's agendas forward.

The States and people for differing political and environmental concerns add to the collision.

Sadly, it seems to me more and more likely it will take some realized pain or a major energy crisis to exhaust the force of colliding interests before any real progress gets underway.


Invisible Hand's picture

Yesterday, I posted similar thoughts (though not as well phrased) and was accused of being an avatar for Sarah Palin.

Obama will pretend to endorse reasonable policies (more nuc power plants, drilling offshore, etc.) knowing that his minions will keep all applications, exploration leases, etc. locked up in bureaucratic hell forever.

Most Americans will realize what his true intentions (and their effects) are only when the lights go out.

By the way, wind power can never be a significant player.  Denmark's experience is that windmills provide about 10% of their rated capacity on average.  Denmark buys their power from Germany while they invest billions in windmills that don't work.  If Germany loses enough capacity that they can't afford to export power to Denmark, the lights will go out.

Britain will start having rolling blackouts in 2015 as they shift from coal and nucs to windmills for their base load.  In one case, the local gov't body that had been pushing windmill installation has converted a windmill outside their offices to a fan (meaning grid power is used to turn the blades constantly) because citizens questioned why the windmill was standing idle so often.

In Europe, subsidies are so large that it is economical to place electric lights (powered from the grid) over solar panels to keep them producing electricity in cloudy weather.

In Germany, a solar power farm was caught running a diesel generator (and passing off that power as solar produced) to capture the enormous subsidy.  They wouldn't have gotten caught except they ran the generator at night.

The insanity must end (and it will).  Unfortunately, the result will be widespread blackouts and the deaths of many people when A/C doesn't work, no refrigeration leads to spoiled food and drugs. 


Hulk's picture

I have had face to face conversations with Chu on energy and he is clueless. He's looking for a carbon neutral fuel and his biggest concern is gaseous emissions, having bought into the anthropomorphic global warming shit, hook, line and sinker. I emplored him to focus on NG powered vehicles. His response: too polluting.

Nuclear power was simply out of the question.

As many posters have described above, we will only address this problem after it has hit crisis proportions..By then it will be too late. 20 years of severe pain, at best...

EllisWyattOTC's picture

Whats the point in pretending you want to drill for oil if you want to implement a Cap and Trade plan that will result in refinery shut-ins and increased refined product imports?

heavymetaleconomist's picture

Roughly at least 10 years to build a nuke, including all the licensing and permits. That assumes you aren't tied up in court in phase I for years. Assuming they can get their shit together, the time frame is so far out that by the time they will have any effect on the grid Israel will have launched us into a war with the whole Mid east making methane hydrates and moon mining economic. don't get me wrong, I think aside from NG cars nukes were, are, and slim chance might still be the solution. That or Iraq actually makes it with its 12mbpd plan.

Cap and Trade is just another wealth transfer to countries without anything but a financial/legal industry (eg. UK).

And wind power is so invariable that it shouldn't even be called a base load. It's insane how they lump it in with nuclear and coal.

AnAnonymous's picture

Dont worry. The free market will provide!

Fred123's picture

I think Obama wants to destroy our country and this is another step toward that end. He can only destroy because he cannot create. The man hates everything except himself.

Moneygrove's picture

Better than bushs fake oil wars and  no bid contracts !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Par Contre's picture

Two bads don't make a good.