Drilling Deeper into Obama’s Blockage of the National Petroleum Reserve

by Whitney Pitcher

Governor Palin re-tweeted two tweets from Jedediah Bila noting the Obama administration’s decision to cut off drilling in more half of the over twenty-three million acres in the National Petroleum Reserve (NPR) in Alaska. The entire Alaska delegation and Governor Parnell support development of this area as do the Native groups, contrary to what the Obama administration claims. As Human Events reports:

However, the Arctic Slope Regional Corporation (ASRC) that represents the interests of the Iñupiat in Barrow, Alaska, is opposed to the plan and disputes Salazar’s contention it has local support.

Richard Glenn, ASRC executive vice president of lands and natural resources, says “despite the department’s statements of working and collaborating with Alaska Native groups we feel that our efforts are rejected.”

“Salazar’s choice would lock up large swaths of land with little or no additional benefit to wildlife resources found there and elsewhere throughout the petroleum reserve. Waterfowl, fish and caribou do not recognize boxes on a map,” Glenn said.

Rex A. Rock, Sr., ARSC president, said the plan essentially locks up the most prospective areas for increased domestic energy supply, while proposing lease sales on tracts of land with low oil potential.

To be sure, the Obama administration is to blame, as is Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar, both for lying about local support and for blocking development. However, we have to look at who in the Interior department may be responsible for Alaska related Interior issues. In March of 2009, President Obama appointed Kim Elton to be Interior Director for Alaska Affairs. The name Kim Elton may sound familiar to you. Elton rose to fame (or perhaps better said, infamy) when as an Alaskan state senator in 2008, he launched a legislative investigation of Governor Palin. This was known as “Tasergate” (or “Troopergate” as the media called it) and alleged Governor Palin abused her power to pressure Walt Monegan, a state commissioner, to fire Palin’s former brother-in-law. Elton even claimed it could be an “October surprise” for Governor Palin. This legislative inquiry ruled that Governor Palin abused her power, but the personnel committee ruled that she did not. As Governor Palin noted in Going Rogue, Kim Elton also allowed Obama adviser and one time interim chief of staff, Pete Rouse to use his address to vote in Alaska despite not living there for 27 years. Suffice it to say, Elton has been a yet another crony both for the Obama campaign and the Obama administration.

Upon taking this Interior position, Elton said:

“The Department of the Interior’s mission is fundamental to Alaska’s future and I look forward to helping the Secretary and the Administration make progress both on stewardship of Alaska’s resources and on the economy of the state and the nation at this critical juncture in our history.”

However, this does not seem to be what he has down while acting as the Interior Director of Alaska Affairs.

The Obama administration has been extremely deceptive when it comes to their energy development plans in Alaska. In May of 2011, the Obama administration said they would hold annual leases for drilling in the National Petroleum Reserve. The next month, President Obama rejected the Alaska Oil and Gas Development bill that would assist in the permitting process. Extending leases while stymieing the permitting process is like allowing home builders to purchase land, but not allowing them to build a house or sell it to a buyer. The Obama administration admits that there has only been exploratory drilling done in the NPR and that there have only been leases extended for only about 6% of the land. To be sure, leases have only been extended since 1999, but with three presidents who have been in office since then, why haven’t any of them pushed for further lease sales or a more streamlined permitting process? Why has Kim Elton continued to be nothing more than an Obama stooge–both politically and policy wise–rather than  aiming  to make process both on stewardship of Alaska’s resources” and the state’s and nation’s economy? Again, the Obama administration and his cronies have proven that President Obama’s supposed “all of the above” energy approach most definitely does not include above the Arctic circle.

Related–Governor Palin advocates passionately for development in the NPR following a speech in 2010:

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