General Question

janbb's avatar

Why did Obama give permission for Shell to drill for oil in the Arctic?

Asked by janbb (57138points) September 3rd, 2015

It seems like an environmental disaster waiting to happen or at least a further destruction of the habitat. It seems totally inconsistent with the stance he is taking about climate change. Is there something here that I am missing or did he just cave in to big business?

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20 Answers

ibstubro's avatar

My honest opinion?
I think there has been diplomacy both nationally and internationally to ramp up oil production to the level that both ISIL and Russia (Crimea) have a hard time funding ongoing wars.

Opening the Arctic was something Obama had to give in return for Big Oil’s participation.

I’m not much of a conspiracy theorist, but I can’t see any other reason for suddenly pumping every available ounce of oil out of the ground while the price-per-barrel plummets.

stanleybmanly's avatar

I don’t know. But once again, who benefits, who ALWAYS benefits, and who benefits most?

SmashTheState's avatar

Because he’s a neo-liberal shill like every Amerikan president since Nixon.

“I have this feeling that whoever is elected president, like Clinton was, no matter what you promise on the campaign trail -– blah, blah, blah -– when you win, you go into this smoke-filled room with the twelve industrialist capitalist scum-fucks who got you in there. And you’re in this smoky room, and this little film screen comes down, and a big guy with a cigar goes, ‘Roll the film.’ And it’s a shot of the Kennedy assassination from an angle you’ve never seen before, that looks suspiciously like it’s from the grassy knoll. And then the screen goes up and the lights come up, and they go to the new president, ‘Any questions?’”Bill Hicks

rojo's avatar

M-O-N-E-Y, or rather people with money pulling the strings or is that just being cynical?

elbanditoroso's avatar

For the same reason that ‘Big Oil’ and the republicans have been pushing the keystone pipeline.

Money from the oil companies.

@janbb – saying “potential environmental disaster” is meaningless to people who deny the science of global warming, denied that there was anything wrong with the BP rig blowout in the Gulf of Mexico, and are OK with strip mining.

Environmental concerns are not a convincing argument to politicians being paid off.

Cruiser's avatar

My take on this he is doing this for donations. The DNC is practically broke which does not bode well for next years election cycle. I am sure this additional concession by Obama to open up the arctic which is so against his impassioned promise to not allow any more drilling especially in the fragile arctic. Desperate moves call for desperate measures. A past president of Shell Oil puts a nice perspective on my answer….

I feel extorted, John Hofmeister told CNN’s Drew Griffin. “Every time I wrote a check I felt that it was a form of extortion, the price of entry, because of the reception that you got when you contributed versus the reception when you did not contribute.”

Hofmeister said he and other oil executives were summoned to more than a dozen Capitol Hill hearings in 2008 when the retail price of gasoline began to skyrocket. In one hearing, a member of Congress suggested that nationalizing U.S. oil companies might be a way to tamp down prices at the pump.

“Not long after one of those hearings, Hofmeister told CNN, several members of Congress pressed him for political contributions. And it’s all perfectly legal.

Darth_Algar's avatar

Because like pretty much everyone else in US politics he’s beholden to corporate interests.

kritiper's avatar

They explained that on the news. Because while America needs fossil fuels, we need to produce our own. Or words to that effect.
In my opinion, it can’t and won’t hurt. Mankind is doomed and we’ll take much of the other animal life with us when we go, and the end will come sooner than we would like. MUCH sooner! So we might as well get all of the oil, our oil, and use it while we can. And save a buck while we’re doing it. The world is a overpopulated toilet bowl and people can’t keep acting like everybody else’s shit isn’t going to muck up their own precious little piece of it.

josie's avatar

You can’t disengage from the Middle East without diminishing your need for their oil.

Dutchess_III's avatar

So many, many, many factors come into play in a situation like this, that I can’t even begin to comprehend them all. I’m just glad I’m not the one who has to make the call. It’s easy to be “against” something (even as you’re taking advantage of the thing your against, on a daily basis) when you don’t have a decision to make.

I think that @kritiper is probably right…until we can utilize alternate energy sources, we have to have fossil fuels to function, whether we like it or not. Now, if we can find fossil fuels in, or closer to, North America would we rather go that route, or keep buying oil from the Saudi’s who have us by the short hairs?

janbb's avatar

Well, since we all have opinions but nobody has the facts on why he did this when it seems so contrary to his agenda, I just wrote to the White House. Will update if I get an answer – while knowing that it will be spin.

Dutchess_III's avatar

His “agenda” against climate change is a good one, but he also can’t just ignore the fact that we need oil to function. He’s having to do a balancing act, and I bet he had some hard decisions to make. I’d like to see the parameters he put around the Arctic drilling.

tinyfaery's avatar

He’s a lying hypocrite. We are supposed to be impressed by his visit to Alaska. He’s using natives to make himself look caring while simultaneously slapping them in the face, and the entire country.

I am more and more glad I didn’t vote for him.

Adirondackwannabe's avatar

My guess is it involved dollar signs and votes. The currency of politics.

Dutchess_III's avatar

I think Obama really does care. I believe he is serious about climate change. However, as part of his job, he has to compromise here and there. If it has to do with money, then maybe it means Americans can still afford case in the future.

♦ If I don’t do this Americans will be out of gas, or it will be out of their reach financially. That will destroy the country.

♦ If I DO do this, it could have a negative impact on the environment.

I think he went to Alaska to see first hand what could happen, and how best to mitigate it.

ibstubro's avatar

Signing on to Arctic drilling when oil is under $50 a barrel pretty much puts the lie to the “We desperately need the oil” argument.

I suppose if he was candid and said “We believe the situation in the Mid East is only going to deteriorate for the forseeable future” then he might make a case for drilling in the Arctic. One I would still disagree with. Imagine where we would be today if Reagan had left Carter’s renewable energy incentives in place.

He went to Alaska to see first hand what Alaska looks like, and pretend he was ‘finding facts’ after the decision had already been made. How could anyone look at pristine, untouched, Arctic vistas and say anything but, “No. We can’t risk this. Something that mankind has not spoiled has to remain.”

Honestly? I blame Obama for much of the dog-and-pony, Trump-and-Sanders, show. Liberals cheered and conservatives feared that Obama would challenge the status quo. Instead he was a one hit wonder with I cringe to say it Obamacare, and even that is seriously flawed. He had to be dragged into addressing race relations by “Ferguson”. WTH?

The US is in a political transition I’m not comfortable with.
He was before my time, but “I like Ike.”

dappled_leaves's avatar

I agree that it’s inconsistent with his other stances on environment, so I assume it has something to do with some sort of favour trading. Presumably, he got someone to agree to something they didn’t want to do in exchange for this. I don’t buy that it’s because the oil is particularly needed.

DrasticDreamer's avatar

We’ll never know. Obama always seemed like too much of a fence sitter to make me comfortable. Chances are, favors were traded or he was literally bought out. Just like the rest of them always are.

I remember when he was running for for re-election, he suddenly allowed giant corps to donate massive amounts of money when, the first time around, he vehemently prohibited their “contributions”. From that moment on, I didn’t like him.

msh's avatar

Choose the option below that you find most assuring for your piece of mind!

1— The Dutch Guilder is an elitist form of the Euro.
2— Why, all of our homemade oil is earmarked for the “Far East”.
3— They are only going to work while the Arctic Environment is vacationing in the lower 48…
4— Why should Russia have ALL the fun?
5— The Norwegian Olympic Swim Team has offered to give polar bears swimming lessons, including treading water for sustained periods of time.
6— It’s OK, they’re going to camouflage the platform with old discarded silver X-Mas trees and tinsel! ( the holiday decorating magazines are simply champing at the bit for THAT photoshoot!!! )
7— $ and abject stupidity

See? Now that wasn’t too hard, now was it?

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