Obama: Drill, Brazil, Drill!
Energy Policy: While leaving U.S. oil and jobs in the ground, our itinerant president tells a South American neighbor that we'll help it develop its offshore resources so we can one day import its oil. WHAT?!?
With Japan staggered by a natural disaster and a nuclear crisis, cruise missiles launched against Libya in our third Middle East conflict and a majority of U.S. senators complaining about a lack of leadership on the budget, President Obama decided it would be a good time to schmooze with Brazilians.
His "What, me worry?" presidency has given both Americans and our allies plenty to worry about. But in the process of making nice with Brazil, Obama made a mind-boggling announcement that should make even his most loyal supporter cringe:
We will help Brazil develop its offshore oil so we can one day import it.
We have noted this double standard before, particularly when - at a time when the president was railing against tax incentives for U.S. oil companies - we supported the U.S. Export-Import Bank's plan to lend $2 billion to Brazil's state-run Petrobras with the promise of more to follow.
Now, with a seven-year offshore drilling ban in effect off of both coasts, on Alaska's continental shelf and in much of the Gulf of Mexico - and a de facto moratorium covering the rest - Obama tells the Brazilians:
"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."
Obama wants to develop Brazilian offshore oil to help the Brazilian economy create jobs for Brazilian workers while Americans are left unemployed in the face of skyrocketing energy prices by an administration that despises fossil fuels as a threat to the environment and wants to increase our dependency on foreign oil.
Obama said he chose Brazil to kick off his first-ever visit to South America in recognition of that country's ascendancy. He has also highlighted one of the reasons for America's decline - an energy policy that through the creation of an artificial shortage of fossil fuels makes prices "necessarily skyrocket" to foster his green energy agenda.
In an op-ed in USA Today explaining his trip, Obama opined: "Brazil holds recently discovered oil reserves that could be far larger than ours. And as we seek to increase secure-energy supplies, we look forward to developing a strategic energy partnership."
Yet in his alleged quest for "secure-energy supplies," he refuses to develop oil and natural gas resources in U.S. waters. His administration has locked up areas in the West where oil shale reserves are estimated to be triple Saudi Arabia's reserves of crude. His administration is even stalling on plans to build a pipeline to deliver oil from Canada's tar sands to the U.S. market.
That project would build a 1,661-mile pipeline from the tar sands of Alberta to U.S. refineries near Houston. It would create 13,000 "shovel-ready" jobs and provide 500,000 more barrels of oil per day from an ally.
Yet it's now being held up by the State Department because it crosses an international border, on the grounds that it needs further environmental review. Shipping oil by tanker from Brazil is safer and more secure?
If Brazil had copied our current energy policy, it wouldn't have discovered in December 2007 the Tupi field, estimated to contain 5 billion to 8 billon barrels of crude, or its Carioca offshore oilfield that may hold up to 33 billion barrels.
Haroldo Lima, head of Brazil's National Oil Agency, estimates that Carioca might hold as much as five times the reserves of Tupi. Somehow the Brazilians aren't too worried about oil spoiling the pristine beaches of nearby Sao Paulo or Rio de Janeiro in the tourist season.
We suggest that President Obama return home and start worrying about an unapologetic American renaissance in which we focus more on American energy and American jobs and less on mythical environmental hazards and foreign accolades.