Thursday, October 18, 2012

Good News/Bad News

(Editorial cartoon by Joel Pett / Lexington Herald-Leader (October 17, 2012) and featured at McClatchy DC.  Click on image to enlarge and then please return.)

I understand I missed a really feisty debate on Tuesday.  I almost regret retiring to my bedroom with my cat and my Kindle.  I've done plenty of reading about the debate, however, and it was nice to see that Barack Obama is capable of sharp responses at appropriate times.  That's part of the good news.

The other part is that the MSM is actually doing a half decent job in "fact checking" both candidates.  I don't recall seeing this much in past election cycles.  For an example, take this column from the Los Angeles Times:

Mitt Romney said "the president cut in half the number of licenses and permits for drilling on federal lands and in federal waters."

According to the Bureau of Land Management, in fiscal year 2011, 2,188 leases were issued for energy development on federal lands.  Four years earlier, in fiscal year 2007, 3499 leases were issued. So, not quite a 50% drop, but a drop nonetheless.

However, the biggest drop-off came in fiscal year 2008, to 2,416 leases. The fiscal year for the federal government starts Oct. 1, 2007, so that decline began under the Bush administration. Leases under President Obama took a precipitous drop in 2010, because of the moratorium the administration implemented in the wake of the Gulf of Mexico oil spill, which occurred on federal land and was the worst offshore oil spill in federal history. The number of permits has started climbing since then. noted the following about drilling on federal lands: "From 2004-08, well into Bush’s tenure, oil production on federal lands and waters fell in four of five years, for a net decrease of 16.8%. From 2009-11, the Obama years, oil production rose two of three years, for a net increase of 10.6%."

Sadly, those facts also pretty much set forth the bad news:  President Obama has re-opened federal land to oil drilling, some of it in pretty environmentally sensitive areas, even after the blow-out in the Gulf of Mexico.  Off-shore leases and leases in federally owned wilderness areas means we can expect more such accidents as the oil companies have to drill deeper and to use such techniques as fracking.  Besides that, the new leases mean that the federal government continues to support the use of carbon-based energy sources, one of the major sources of climate change.

In other words, this administration seems willing to ignore both the short-term and the long-term consequences of more drilling.  And that's really bad news for all of us.

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Blogger ifthethunderdontgetya™³²®© said...

Pretty much.

That part of the debate was a fight over who loved fossil fuels the most.

I expect the next one will be about who is the most enthusiastic Muslim killer.

5:42 AM  

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