Whose Baby is "Drill, Baby, Drill"?

Monday, May 16, 2011

Who comes to mind when we hear the term “Drill, baby, drill”? Lisa Murkowski? Mark Begich? No. How about President Obama? Certainly not, although to pay attention to the news the last few days, one would think he was all about that all along. Governor Palin is the one who has adopted and cried out that steady refrain, advocating for years the domestic drilling that is not only possible in Alaska, but necessary for America. She is as tied to “Drill, baby, drill” as Ronald Reagan is to "Tear down this wall!"

How is it, then, that her name is eerily absent from most of the news stories about President Obama’s sudden willingness to explore drilling? Well, there is this one story which, for all its PDS snarkiness, managed to point out:

The president’s announcement, which included plans for expanded drilling in Alaska demonstrate[s] his commitment to reducing oil imports by increasing domestic production.


In crediting Murkowski and Begich for the policy change, The New York Times omitted the name of Sarah Palin, who’s been screaming about this for at least as long and even more loudly than have Alaska’s two U.S. senators.

I agree that Governor Palin has been shouting from the rooftops that drilling here and drilling now would not only be a doable, sound, economically advantageous practice, but a matter of national security. How many times has she begged that we stop relying on foreign regimes that do not like us and certainly do not have our best interests at heart? How many times has she said that Alaska offers a solution to that reliance and a remedy for soaring energy prices?

More and more people are coming to agree with the Governor's insistence on tapping into domestic resources.

George Berkin of NJ Voices gives his take on it:
But might I suggest a simple step to help ease our dependence on foreign oil in New Jersey and across the nation. It is time – past time – to open ANWR in Alaska to active oil extraction.

The U.S. currently imports more than half its oil. More than 80 percent of New Jersey’s gas usage comes from foreign oil, according to one study.

Oil from the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge on the 49th state’s northern shore would boost the supply of domestic oil. That in turn would reduce the price of a barrel of oil and thereby lower the price of gasoline at the pump.

ANWR holds 10.4 billion barrels of recoverable oil, nearly half the total U.S. proven reserves of 21 billion barrels, according to the U.S. Energy Information Administration. Put another way, the reserves add up to a million barrels a day for 30 years, a congresswoman says.


While not a panacea for all that ails the American economy, drilling for oil in Alaska would be a positive step toward easing gas prices that have been steadily rising over the past year. In the past few months, the price of regular gas has risen past $4 a gallon in much of the nation.

The author's concession that drilling won't bring immediate, on-the-spot results, is in line with Governor Palin's assertion that this is more of a reason why we need to get moving now since we haven't done so already. He continues:
But gas prices are going up today, and consumers want relief today. It is not surprising, then, that one commonly expressed objection to drilling in Alaska to solve today’s gas prices problem is the matter of time. Developing the Alaska fields and bringing that refined oil to the pump would likely take several years.

But opponents of drilling in Alaska have been raising that objection for years. We should have begun long ago. But as gas prices rise, it is time to get started. Drill, baby, drill -- as soon as possible.

Multitudes espouse this mantra, and a recent Gallup poll shows a majority supports exploration in ANWR.

So are we to believe that President Obama has joined the masses and has seen the light himself? Well, not everyone is convinced. In "Obama’s Latest Fake Plan for More Drilling," Conn Carroll writes:
First he promised to open up the Atlantic to exploration. Then he reneged. Then he said he’d lift his oil moratorium in the Gulf. Production has only decreased since.

Yesterday Obama again played Lucy to the American energy consumer’s Charlie Brown.


Will Obama ever allow actually drilling on ANWR? No. The exact same is true of the National Petroleum reserve. No new oil will ever be produced from the National Petroleum Reserve while Obama is still president.

Same with drilling in the Atlantic. Here all Obama has promised is to speed up the evaluation. If he follows through on this promise, all that means is we’ll get an ultimate ‘no’ quicker.

Read the full article here.

Again, not everyone is convinced. President Obama's record doesn't scream energy independence. Don't get me wrong: Americans who are paying more than $4.00 at the pump long to believe him. Those who understand the link between energy and security desire for him to follow through this time. We want our President to take the lead on this, but it's time for him to put up. Unfortunately, he has not given us anything to hang our hats on. So forgive us if we aren't yet buying into the idea that he will follow Governor Palin's advice and tap into our own resources, particularly in the Last Frontier. Excuse us if we don't feel quite assured of a Drill, baby, drill commitment on his part, but right now what's still ringing in our ears is his Drill, Brazil, drill support:
We want to help you with the technology and support to develop these oil reserves safely. And when you're ready to start selling, we want to be one of your best customers.

This, ladies and gentleman, came from the President of the United States of America--to Brazil.

The Governor recently wrote:
Is it really any surprise that oil and gas prices are surging toward the record highs we saw in 2008 just prior to the economic collapse? Despite the President’s strange assertions in his press conference last week, his Administration is not a passive observer to the trends that have inflated oil prices to dangerous levels. His war on domestic oil and gas exploration and production has caused us pain at the pump, endangered our already sluggish economic recovery, and threatened our national security.

I hope he's finally gotten her message. Look, I'm rooting for President Obama to do the right thing here, and so is America. No doubt, Governor Palin would rejoice to see Alaska take her place as a supplier of domestic resources once this administration gets out of the way. If President Obama does, in fact, tap into our resources and abandons his commitment to depending on foreign countries to supply what we have an abundance of ourselves, I'll be the first to say that my doubt in his follow-through abilities was wrong--right after I say, "It's about time!"

In the meantime, while we wait, let us not forget that Governor Palin has led the debate, forced the issue, and cried out for energy independence all along. "Drill, baby, drill" is her baby, and we join her in wanting to see the application of that common sense principle--and the sooner, the better.

Although this is not a complete list, you can read more of Governor Palin's domestic drilling article here, here, here, and here.


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