The invaluable Alaskan oil pipeline isn’t doing well these days. A remedy to help fix this precious resource is available but overzealous environmentalists and over-regulatory politicians are standing in the way. The ever-decreasing amount of oil flowing through the pipeline is disrupting its effective operation — and threatening its very existence.
This problem could easily be solved by opening up more domestic drilling in Alaska. This would allow more oil to flow through the pipeline, maintain the correct temperature (which falls to dangerous levels with insufficient supply). But access to drilling permits has been severely reduced. With gas prices hovering around $4 a gallon, it is inconceivable that the Obama administration would continue to hinder production and add regulations that could eliminate yet another standard domestic source of oil. Yet that is what is occurring.
In yesterday’s Wall Street Journal, Russell Gold writes about the threat to kill the pipeline:
Shell earlier this year canceled plans to drill in the Beaufort Sea this summer because, after five years, it couldn’t get a federal air-emission permit for an offshore drilling rig. Its plans for drilling in the Chukchi Sea on Alaska’s northwest coast are also held up by a legal dispute. Exxon Mobil is also waiting for federal environmental approval, and in February, the federal government denied ConocoPhillips a permit the company had been working on for five years.
…Shutting the pipeline would force refineries to find new and more expensive supplies of crude oil. And President Barack Obama’s efforts to decrease oil imports would suffer a major setback.
While opening more drilling in Alaska would help significantly, there are even more places where permits and environmental regulations are causing problems. Heritage’s Nick Loris writes:
We can’t drill off the Pacific Coast, Atlantic Coast, or the eastern Gulf of Mexico. The U.S. Environmental Appeals Board withheld air quality permits preventing Shell from moving forward to develop 27 billion barrels of oil off the coasts of Alaska. The Environmental Protection Agency already issued two air permits, but Earthjustice filed a petition to review the permits, causing the Appeals Board to act.
Environmental activists within the Obama administration are literally halting the much needed domestic oil exploration America needs to improve our economic well being and reduce gas prices for hurting consumers. Saving the pipeline should be top priority right now.