President Obama is campaigning as a champion of the oil and gas boom he’s had nothing to do
with, and even as his regulators try to stifle it. The latest example is the Interior Department’s
little-noticed August decision to close off from drilling nearly half of the 23.5 million acre
National Petroleum Reserve in Alaska.
The area is called the National Petroleum Reserve because in 1976 Congress designated it as a
strategic oil and natural gas stockpile to meet the “energy needs of the nation.” Alaska favors
exploration in nearly the entire reserve. The feds had been reviewing four potential development
plans, and the state of Alaska had strongly objected to the most restrictive of the four. Sure
enough, that was the plan Interior chose.