A Free-Market Energy Blog

Energy Strangulation: The Obama Game Plan Emerges

By Kenneth P. Green -- March 26, 2009

A clear strategy is emerging from the Obama administration’s recent moves on the energy front: not-so-slow energy strangulation.

The pattern is hard to miss:

To ensure that nuclear power does not grow (even while claiming he supports it), President Obama is de-funding the long-studied Yucca Mountain Repository, increasing uncertainty about waste disposal and scaring off potential investors.

To guarantee that coal becomes too expensive to burn (even as Obama pretends to support it), Obama’s EPA just suspended permits for mountaintop mining of coal, a move that could affect 200 coal mining operations in the Appalachians. (Now that’s job creation for ya!)

Finally to ensure that we don’t develop our own oil and natural gas resources (which Obama claims to support),Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar has voided some leases in Utah and initiated a “review” of other oil and natural gas leases sold under the Bush administration. Congress is planning to sock another 2 million square miles of land away as “wilderness areas,” and – surprise – many of them are known reserves of oil, natural gas, and oil shale.

Meanwhile, environmentalists at the state level continue to oppose the “renewable” projects that are supposed to replace fossil fuels. In California, there is a pitched battle over plans to build solar power facilities in the desert, not to mention the power lines that would carry the power to California’s cities.

And of course, one should not forget the ridiculous situation with the Cape Wind project, where eco-celebrity Robert Kennedy Jr. has opposed offshore wind that might taint the view from the Kennedy compound. Kennedy is all for wind power, so long as it’s not in any place a) windy, or b) disturbing to his delicate sensibilities.

There can be only one accurate description of what is going on here: this is a strategy of intentional energy strangulation. The Left environmental movement, now running the show in Washington, is determined to put America in an energy-straitjacket in order to limit our ability to harm (or benefit from) the resources of the Earth, which they view as holy ground. Protecting the Earth is, to them, far more important than protecting human health and welfare. And at times they’re not afraid to say it. As Paul Ehrlich, mentor to Obama science advisor John Holdren, once wrote:

“[G]iving society cheap abundant energy at this point would be equivalent to giving an idiot child a machine gun.”

That seems to be Obama’s philosophy as well.


  1. Barack ‘The Energy Strangler’ Obama « The Enterprise Blog  

    […] An interesting pair of articles can be found in today’s Examiner, one by my peripatetic colleague Steve Hayward, and another by editorial page editor Mark Tapscott. Amusingly enough, they dovetail nicely, and are akin to observations I’ve made before about the Obama administration and its environmental allies: they don’t really want green energy, nor clean energy; they want everyone to have far less energy, and they want that rationed by price as well as by fiat. They want energy strangulation. […]


  2. Hey, hey, USDA, how many jobs did you kill today? « The Enterprise Blog  

    […] As I wrote back in 2009, the Obama administration’s entire energy policy can be summarized as one of energy strangulation. And the strangle-hold continues: hot on the heels of the Administration’s decision to study the Keystone pipeline to death, comes a pre-Thanksgiving decision by the USDA to study the natural gas revolution in the hope that it’ll pass out before the next election. As the Washington Examiner reports, President Obama’s United States Department of Agriculture has delayed shale gas drilling in Ohio for up to six months by cancelling a mineral lease auction for Wayne National Forest (WNF). The move was taken in deference to environmentalists, on the pretext of studying the effects of hydraulic fracturing. “Conditions have changed since the 2006 Forest Plan was developed,” announced WNF Supervisor Anne Carey on Tuesday. “The technology used in the Utica & Marcellus Shale formations need to be studied to see if potential effects to the surface are significantly different than those identified in the Forest Plan.” The study will take up to six months to complete. The WNF study reportedly “will focus solely on how it could affect forest land,” despite the significance of hydraulic fracturing to united proponents of the delay, “and not how it could affect groundwater.” […]


  3. The energy strangle strategy hits Europe « The Enterprise Blog  

    […] observed before that the real strategy of many (most?) climate and environmental activists is not what they say it […]


  4. Pre-debate reads on energy | AEIdeas  

    […] Obama Administration’s energy policy track-record, which I’ve previously described as one of energy-strangulation. From slowing energy production on federal lands; to refusing to issue leases for exploration; to […]


  5. Obama’s victory speech: Reading the tea-leaves on energy policy | AEIdeas  

    […] significantly in Obama 2.0? Without the need to face re-election, will the effort to impose an energy strangle of the last four years be extended to the shale-gas boom? Will previous pledges to open new lands […]


  6. Obama’s victory speech: Reading the tea leaves on energy policy | Culture of Competition  

    […] significantly in Obama 2.0? Without the need to face re-election, will the effort to impose an energy strangle of the last four years be extended to the shale-gas boom? Will previous pledges to open new lands […]


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