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Heartland Institute Experts Respond to President Obama’s Ban on Offshore Drilling in Atlantic Ocean

March 16, 2016

The Obama administration yesterday changed course and withdrew its plan to allow drilling for oil and natural gas off the southeast Atlantic coast through 2022.


The Obama administration yesterday changed course and withdrew its plan to allow drilling for oil and natural gas off the southeast Atlantic coast through 2022. Just 14 months ago, the president put forward a proposal to allow offshore drilling there for the first time.

The following statements from energy and environment policy experts at The Heartland Institute – a free-market think tank – may be used for attribution. For more comments, refer to the contact information below. To book a Heartland guest on your program, please contact Director of Communications Jim Lakely at and 312/377-4000.

“I think no one should be surprised at the president’s latest anti-energy action. He has been at war with the fossil fuel industry since the day he took office. His supporters are the many green-energy producers who have spent taxpayer largesse, and then delivered little or nothing.

“One of his goals was to place the United States on a level playing field with less-fortunate nations around the world. Part of that is raising our costs for energy, which have been so dramatically lowered by the advent of hydraulic fracturing and horizontal drilling. Clearly there is not a single environmental or economic reason for this latest of his discouraging actions.”

Jay Lehr
Science Director
The Heartland Institute

“This is just another in a long list of decisions the Obama administration has made that, whether intentional or not, prevent domestic job growth, harm the economy, increase the prices Americans will pay for energy for years to come, and leave the country less secure and more open to the whims of the tyrants and scoundrels in OPEC and Russia.

“Hopefully, the next president will reverse this ruling and the course Obama has set for America’s energy future. Some states on the East Coast would like to see the jobs and government revenue that would flow if the existing oil and gas fields in the Atlantic are developed. They should be given that option.

“In one sense, this is a hollow act. With oil prices as low as they are, it is unlikely offshore oil and gas development would happen in the near future. But it is symbolically powerful, showing the continued hostility Obama has to oil and gas producers in his inane and vain attempt to control the weather 100 years from now.”

H. Sterling Burnett
Research Fellow, Environment & Energy Policy
The Heartland Institute
Managing Editor, Environment & Climate News

“The Obama administration will go down as the most anti-energy presidency of all time. At a time when the United States is close to becoming enegery independent for the first time in decades, this administration continues to make it harder for energy producers to do their jobs. This will set the offshore industry back years, and perhaps decades, increasing the blow the offshore industry is already feeling due to low oil prices and increasing production onshore in the lower 48.

“Whether it’s limiting fracking on federal lands, implementing new and unnecessary methane regulations, the Clean Power Plan, or putting the kibosh on offshore drilling, the Obama administration will be known as the ‘just say no to affordable energy,’ presidency.”

Isaac Orr
Research Fellow, Energy and Environment Policy
The Heartland Institute

“The only real risk is that of a major blowout on an offshore rig, and that risk is very low. It would also mean there was a major resource involved, and the benefit of that would more than offset any risk. To say ‘now is not the time’ is simply ignorant rhetoric. The country is struggling to recover from a persistent recession. There has never been a better time.”

Walter Starck
Policy Advisor, Environment
The Heartland Institute

“Mr. Obama should be known as the chaos president. Modern civilization depends upon reliable electricity. His administration has opposed and denied virtually all forms of generating reliable electricity in favor of unreliable, ‘renewable’ wind and solar. Recent studies of the first eight months of operation of a 100 percent renewable system on El Hierro, one of the Canary Islands, reveal that the system delivered 32 percent of the electricity required. Diesel generators were needed for the remainder.

“Renewables cannot run a modern hospital, a subway, or elevators. Thirty-two percent reliability will lead to chaos and disaster. Mr. Obama will be out of office by the time the full disaster of his energy policies is recognized.”

Kenneth Haapala
Science and Environmental Policy Project (SEPP)

The Heartland Institute is a 32-year-old national nonprofit organization headquartered in Arlington Heights, Illinois. Its mission is to discover, develop, and promote free-market solutions to social and economic problems. For more information, visit our Web site or call 312/377-4000.

Article Tags
Environment Energy
Jay Lehr is an internationally renowned speaker, scientist, Senior Policy Advisor with the International Climate Science Coalition and Senior Science Analyst at CFACT.
H. Sterling Burnett, Ph.D., is a Heartland senior fellow on environmental policy and the managing editor of Environment & Climate News.
Isaac Orr is a policy fellow at the Center of the American Experiment on mining and energy issues and a policy advisor for The Heartland Institute. @thefrackingguy
Walter Starck is one of the pioneers in the scientific investigation of coral reefs. He grew up in the Florida Keys and received a PhD in marine science from the University of Miami in 1964.
Kenneth Haapala is president of the Science and Environmental Policy Project (SEPP), compiler of The Week That Was newsletter, and a contributor to the NIPCC reports.

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