Interior Secretary Ken Salazar canceling 77 properly filed oil field development contracts approved by the Bush administration

Like many liberal politicians who claim to be for the people, but whose policies are decidedly anti-human, Obama is convinced that combating nonexistent anthropomorphic global warming is more important than the well being of the people he was elected to represent. How else to explain his contempt for the energy industry that provides us with the critical resources we need to heat our homes, fuel our cars and live in a modern society?

Obama made his views clear in 2008 when he pledged that “under my plan of a cap and trade system, electricity rates would necessarily skyrocket”. Rolling in the royalties from his two books and new found fame as a presidential candidate, Obama didn’t seem all that concerned about having to pay $1,500 a month electricity bills on his Chicago mansion. Making light of the disastrous consequences higher energy costs would have on most Americans, Obama once remarked “people will say, ‘Ah, Obama and Al Gore, these folks, they’re going to destroy the economy, this is going to cost us eight trillion dollars,’ or whatever their number is”.

For decades it appeared the U.S. had very little in the way of carbon energy deposits, forcing us to import a good deal of our oil from not so friendly countries. It turns out these expectations were wrong as newly developed technologies have since revealed that we are sitting on oceans of gas and oil deposits, more than the entire Middle East combined and enough to provide for our energy needs for the next couple hundred years at current rates of consumption.

Recognizing the economic and political benefits should we develop these resources, the Bureau of Land Management during the last days of the Bush administration put up 77 oil rich parcels in Utah for auction, all of which were lawfully purchased by developers with the expectation that drilling could soon begin. The first wells would be used to prove the viability of extracting oil from the deposits, which are at greater depth than any other previously developed, and lead the way to an energy independent U.S.

But Obama had other things in mind when he appointed Ken Salazar as Interior Secretary. On Feb 9, 2009 Salazar brazenly ignored due process and unilaterally canceled all 77 oil leases. He has since resisted any and all efforts to open up public land for domestic energy development.

Not happy with having their agreements thrown out by a partisan political operative, the oil companies sued the federal government for breach of contract. In July 2010 federal Judge Dee Benson remarked “There are no regulations covering this unprecedented decision … (the federal government) has the right to withdraw the leases prior to the sale, not whenever (they) decide to.”

In June 2011 Obama appointed federal Judge Nancy Freudenthal agreed with the plaintiffs when she ordered Salazar to stop wasting time and come to a final determination on whether or not to issue the oil development leases within 60 days. While not a perfect decision, according to Kathleen Sgamma of the Western Energy Alliance “it certainly reduced the unlimited discretion the government was arguing for, but she did not order the leases to be issued, only the government to make a decision.”

In Sept 2012 a federal appeals court upheld Salazar’s decision to revoke the leases, not because he had the power to do so, but rather “the oil and gas industry missed a 90-day window to appeal the decision and therefore the statute of limitations had run out.”

8 Responses to “Interior Secretary Ken Salazar canceling 77 properly filed oil field development contracts approved by the Bush administration”

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