Tonight President Barack Obama asserts that the U.S. is "as free from the grip of foreign oil as we've been in almost 30 years" and hails in his State of the Union speech the benefits of lower oil and natural gas prices:
We believed we could reduce our dependence on foreign oil and protect our planet. And today, America is number one in oil and gas. … And thanks to lower gas prices and higher fuel standards, the typical family this year should save $750 at the pump.
All very well, but the president and his administration has done little to boost production and lower prices. For example, the Energy Information Administration reported this past summer that since 2010 that crude oil production on federal lands is down 16 percent and natural gas production is down 24 percent.
Meanwhile the fracking revolution taking place mostly on private and state lands has boosted domestic crude oil production from 5 million barrels per day in 2008 to 9.1 million barrels per day. Similarly fracking has boosted monthly natural gas production from its low point of 1.3 trillion cubic feet (tcf) in September 2005 to 2.2 tcf in September 2014.
Meanwhile, the EPA issued new "commonsense" regulations last week that aim to reduce emissions from new fracked wells by 45 percent below their 2012 levels. Interestingly, there are no cost estimates for the proposed regulations.
"If history is any guide, President Obama's State of the Union address will likely include a mix of rhetoric claiming credit for energy achievements with a list of policy proposals that in many instances we believe will actually undermine them," American Petroleum Institute President and CEO Jack Gerard told reporters last week.
Gerard got it right.