In his State of the Union address last month, President Obama got a lot of people excited when he mentioned that it was time to “make tough choices on offshore drilling” in a sentence that initially seemed to suggest he was open to considering some new projects. That sense of hope may be short-lived, however, when you examine all of the recent decisions by the Administration that indicate a reluctance to fully encourage access to our domestic resources. All you had to do was look at the current Interior Department’s track record to conclude that, much like previous Administrations, it has been more focused on setting up barriers than to helping responsible drilling proceed.

This blog argues that, far from suggesting he might be open to more drilling on the country’s Outer Continental Shelf, Obama may have meant the exact opposite:

“Maybe by ‘tough choices’ (the President) meant deciding not to open up the OCS for more exploration. That’s exactly what Interior Secretary Ken Salazar has been doing for the last year.”

CEA has repeatedly highlighted past and present Interior Departments’ uses of stall tactics and red tape that has resulted in a historically low number of lease sales for oil and gas development, which, in turn, leads to reduced revenues for the federal government, fewer jobs and a worsening economy.

But we are also doing more than just keeping track of what has been going on in Washington for the past decade. By rallying support for responsible drilling onshore and off, as well as advancing expanded use of alternative energy, we’ve made considerable progress against opponents who are often more vocal and visible than we are. And by encouraging our company members and individual supporters to make their voices heard in various letter writing campaigns to Interior Secretary Salazar and others, we’ve demonstrated that a majority of Americans are on our side.


The Wall Street Journal recently reached the same conclusion, reporting that public comments supported expanded offshore drilling by a margin of two-to-one.

We have to believe this groundswell of support means that hope is not lost and that we must continue to work with the Administration on ways to improve our national energy policy.  Obama might not have meant that he’d support more drilling when he alluded to the “tough decisions” that awaited him. But with a growing demand for more domestically-produced power, for more jobs and for a swifter economic recovery, it is time that we ask our leaders in Washington to review our national energy policy and listen more closely to what we have to say. We all need to work together to redouble our efforts and get the word out about the urgent need for responsible domestic energy production.