Wednesday, 16 March 2011

Sarah Palin - $4 per gallon of BS

Sarah Palin is blaming President Obama (surprise, surprise!) for the high price of fuel. In her latest Facebook note she attempts to prove her claims by offering Exhibits A, B, and C, making very simplistic connections between domestic oil production and prices at the pump.

In Exhibit A, she condemns the president's moratorium on deepwater drilling as an emotional and political reaction to the Gulf spill. Emotion is something Sarah Palin doesn't comprehend at all. We all watched in horror as the spill progressed, with the oil industry experts scratching their heads, not knowing what to do next. Neither the president nor the experts took her Dutch and Norwegian dike suggestion seriously.

Not everybody believes that God put the oil under American soil and costal waters to be recovered at any cost. In Sarah Palin's book, the environment and wildlife are nothing, profits for Big Oil are everything.

Exhibit B is a laugh. In this one, the governor who took on Big Oil and raised their taxes points to the 2012 budget, where tax incentives for the industry were removed. Well, she believes in tax incentives, but only for some of her chums, as in the case of the $193 million tax credits given to 15 secret oil and gas companies.

Exhibit C blames Obama's anti-drilling regulatory policies for companies giving up on drilling. Shell decided to abandon exploratory drilling on the Chukchi and Beaufort seas after becoming despondent about these regulations over five years (Obama has been president for just over two years!). Sarah Palin doesn't specify what these horrible regulations are, but at the time of the Gulf spill she was all for regulation:

"Government can and must play an appropriate role here. If a company was lax in its prevention practices, it must be held accountable. It is inexcusable for any oil company to not invest in preventative measures. They must be held accountable or the public will forever distrust the industry.

This was the position I took as an oil and gas regulator and as Governor of Alaska when my administration ramped up oversight of the oil industry and created a petroleum-systems-integrity office to monitor our oil and gas infrastructure for potential environmental risks. I took a lot of heat for the stand I took “against the oil industry” (which is how political adversaries labeled my actions). But we took tough action because there was proof of some improper maintenance of oil infrastructure which I believed was unacceptable. We instituted new oversight and held British Petroleum (BP) financially accountable for poor maintenance practices. We also filed a Friend-of-the-Court brief against Exxon’s interests for its decades-old responsibility to compensate Alaskans affected by the Valdez spill, and I took other actions “against” the industry which ultimately helped hold it accountable."

I suspect Obama's regulations have something to do with the environment and vulnerable wildlife habitats, a big no-no for Sarah.

Throughout this note, Sarah Palin implies that oil production has fallen due to Obama's anti-drilling policies. The Financial Times begs to differ:

US oil production last year rose to its highest level in almost a decade, thanks to an increase in the use of “unconventional” extraction techniques.

As a result, analysts believe the US was the largest contributor to the increase in global oil supplies last year over 2009, and is on track to increase domestic production by 25 per cent by the second half of the decade.

According to the US government’s Energy Information Administration, domestic production of crude oil and related liquids rose 3 per cent last year to an average of 7.51m barrels a day – its highest level since 2002.

The rise enabled a 2 per cent drop in US oil imports to 9.45m b/d, in spite of rising demand as the economy recovered.

Graph from Climate Progress

She closes Exhibit C with something about Harry Reid's cowboys. I must confess she lost me at this point...

Sarah goes on to mention the price of fuel in the UK, showing that she doesn't understand how things work over there.

Fuel tax in the UK is constantly changing and has risen steadily over the last 15 years. Between 1993 and 1999 there was a rapid increase with duties on fuel increasing by 3% above inflation. This was due to a major change in petrol taxation in 1993 when the Conservatives introduced the Fuel Price 'escalator'. This was a way of the government making money and also to help protect the environment by discouraging people from using their cars.

A 0.76p increase on the 1st January 2011 brought the duty rate for the main road fuels up to 58.95p per litre. This coincided with the 2.5% increase in VAT rate, which is now at record high of 20%.

She concludes her note with the usual blah blah blah about energy independence, how America has to depend on the enemies of all things American for their energy needs, etc etc. She calls energy the buiding block of the economy and accuses the president of purposely weakening the building bock and the country.

Sarah Palin's note is confused and confusing, relying on dodgy "facts," just another opportunity to bash Obama and paint herself as an energy "expert." It's business as usual in Palinland, is it not?