Obama's War on Hydrocarbon Costing Jobs, Economy

Bob Beauprez
Posted: Mar 29, 2012 12:01 AM

You’ve heard the stories about the millions of dollars squandered by the Obama Administration on green energy projects supposedly to create vast numbers of new jobs in a revolutionary “green energy economy.”   But, all too often all that remains is a bankrupt empty building, or at best a handful of jobs – and, a heap of new federal debt.

If Obama was really committed to creating jobs, there was another time tested way to get it done – by assuring plentiful supplies of affordable, reliable traditional sources of energy.  Instead, the “transformational” President went to war against the hydrocarbon industry.   Thankfully, he didn’t win.  

While the administration has done everything in their power to discourage fossil fuel production on federal land, there has been a revival happening on private land where oil and natural gas output has increased.   When supply increases, prices come down, and natural gas is particularly affordable. 

As a result, jobs connected to and dependent upon natural gas are exploding.  A USA Today feature report documents the hundreds of thousands of new jobs resulting from affordable supplies of gas.   Here’s an excerpt:

Royal Dutch Shell announced this month that it chose a site near Pittsburgh for a facility to convert ethane from locally produced natural gas into ethylene and polyethylene. They're used to make plastics that go into packaging, pipes and other products. The planned ethane cracker would employ a few hundred workers.

It's among nearly 30 chemical plants proposed in the U.S. in the next five years, according to the American Chemistry Council. The projects would expand U.S. petrochemical capacity by 27% and employ 200,000 workers at the factories and related suppliers, says Council President Cal Dooley, a major turnaround. As U.S. natural gas prices soared in the late 1990s, chemical makers moved overseas, laying off 140,000 employees, Dooley says. But the U.S. has seen a natural gas boom in recent years, with producers using new drilling techniques to extract fuel from shale formations in Texas, Pennsylvania and other regions. U.S. natural gas prices, at slightly more than $2 per million British thermal units, are about 75% below Western Europe rates.

PricewaterhouseCoopers' partner Robert Mc-Cutcheon estimates inexpensive natural gas could help U.S. manufacturers save $11.6 billion a year and create more than 500,000 jobs by 2025.

Instead of doing the obvious, Obama did exactly the reverse.  The Administration implemented policies that would, in the President’s words, cause energy prices to “necessarily skyrocket.”  Instead of insuring the U.S. remained competitive, his own Energy Secretary was committed to policies that would “boost the price of gasoline to the levels in Europe.”  Every American is experiencing the pain at the pump as gasoline is up more than $2 per gallon since the President took office.   And, three and a half years into the recession, millions of Americans are still searching for a job.