Greenpeace Attacks Barack Obama for Allowing Arctic Drilling

The president of Greenpeace calls Obama “deeply hypocritical” for letting Shell do Arctic drilling while touring Alaska to oppose global warming.

You notice how the media can pump up a minority position by simply treating them as if they are worth paying attention to. The seventh Planned Parenthood video has been released and many still don’t know anything about it. Greenpeace grumbles and it makes headlines.

Politico gives us a clever headline: “Greens decry Obama’s Shell game.”

See what the editors did there?

President Barack Obama crushed greens’ hearts Monday by giving Shell the final go-ahead to drill for oil in Alaska’s Arctic waters, just two weeks after he thrilled them by issuing his landmark regulations on climate change.

In the long run, Obama’s successors will determine whether the industry can tap Alaska’s prized offshore oil — and one 2016 contender, Hillary Clinton, has expressed “doubts” about opening the Arctic to drilling. But it was Obama’s Interior Department that gave Shell its nod Monday, in the face of an opposition campaign that has seen activists dangling from a bridge in Oregon and swarming the company’s Arctic-bound rig with kayaks to try to block the project.

There may be no need to look for an explanation for this action beyond the under-the-table gifts that corporate lobbyists can bring to an official. But if you want to see the consistency you need to think about what the introduction of shale oil mining has done to the price of crude. The big oil companies are more worried about new oil being brought to the market and crashing the price than they are anxious about running out of oil reserves. What keeps away the possibility of access to new oil? Environmental regulations whether to conserve resources (limit how much oil can be pumped) or protect the environment from real or pretend pollution. All of these rules raise the price of oil for those who already have it. These higher prices can also attract competitors. But if the regulations limit how much oil can be extracted, or hamper the technology used to get the new oil, the competitors can be discouraged from trying to enter the market.

That is the ideal situation for companies like Shell, who are watching prices fall thanks to fracking and the developments in shale oil. They don’t want that to happen again. The more limits are put on energy through environmental regulations, the more confident they can be that no one is going to bring oil into the market to crash the price.

For greens, the announcement was even more galling because it arrived only two weeks before Obama is due to talk climate change during his first visit to Alaska’s Arctic.

“The president cannot have it both ways,” Greenpeace USA Executive Director Annie Leonard said. “Announcing a tour of Alaska to highlight climate change days before giving Shell the final approval to drill in the Arctic Ocean is deeply hypocritical.”

If you want to accuse the President of environmental hypocrisy, you don’t need to worry about allowing Shell’s Arctic drilling. You can simply refer to Barack Obama’s Alaska tour and all the carbon it will release into the atmosphere.