President Obama’s Failures: Energy – Part 1 of 9

This is part 1 of a 9 part series by the entire staff of Pocket Full Of Liberty regarding the failures of President Obama during his time in office.

President Obama has repeatedly presented himself as a friend to environmentalists, challenging the coal industry by consistently calling for additional regulations. The President has also stalled the development of the Keystone XL Pipeline, cost taxpayers billions of dollars with a failed green energy stimulus, and ignored the major issues plaguing his administration over the past few months.


In a 2008 interview with the San Francisco Chronicle, the President made a not-so-thinly veiled threat towards the coal industry:

“So if somebody wants to build a coal-powered plant, they can. It’s just that it will bankrupt them.”

In doing so, the President has been rightfully accused of waging a war on the coal industry. A more recent speech by the President coincided with coal stock prices falling as much as 16% in a single day. In the address, President Obama outlined his new plan to regulate the coal industry:

The plan proposes punitive regulations on coal-fired power plants, more federal spending on “green energy” projects, and infrastructure spending projects designed to mitigate the supposedly catastrophic impacts of rising global temperatures.

One White House climate adviser told The New York Times that he hopes the president’s proposals will “begin the process of shutting down the conventional coal plants.”

“A war on coal is exactly what’s needed,” he said.

Even Democratic Senator Joe Manchin (WV) has sided with Senate Republicans in trying to stop the President’s attacks on the coal industry. Senator Manchin has a vested interest in coal, given that the economy of West Virginia is largely dependent upon the industry. West Virginia is just one of many states where coal is a major energy resource — and the President’s refusal to compromise with the coal industry is doing them more harm than good.


President Obama has spent much time over the last several years trying to block the approval of the proposed Keystone Pipeline, arguing that it is a danger to the environment. In a speech given last month, the President offered one one last attempt to block its development by stating that the pipeline needed to meet certain carbon emission standards before it could be approved. This was seen as a win for Republicans, who have advocated for the pipeline’s construction over the last several years by touting the economic benefits it would provide. They now believe they are likely to see their efforts come to fruition.

As an added boost to the Republicans’ fight to build the pipeline, it was revealed this week that the Obama administration — in a gross display of incompetence — is not even aware of the exact route the pipeline would take. According to The Huffington Post,

Thomas Bachand, a San Francisco-based photographer, author, and web developer discovered this the hard way. A year and a half after he first filed a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request seeking the GIS data for his Keystone Mapping Project, Mr. Bachand received a troubling response from the State Department denying his request.

In the letter, the State Department admits that it doesn’t have any idea about the exact pipeline route — and that it never asked for the basic mapping data to evaluate the potential impacts of the pipeline.

Without this information, it is impossible to accurately evaluate the environmental impact the pipeline would have. President Obama’s consistently strident objections to its construction is more about pandering to his base rather than making a well-informed decision about what is in the best interests of the nation’s environment and economy.


Part of President Obama’s stimulus in 2009 included providing funding to companies that produced renewable energy resources. Unfortunately, like much of what President Obama inserts himself into, his foray into going green was half-assed at best. He provided corporations like Solyndra with billions in tax payer dollars (Solyndra received $535 million alone), only to have those companies fail due to horrific mismanagement. Essentially, the President provided these companies with a blank check and then turned a blind eye to how they used the funding that was being provided.

This is not the first time the President has implemented a program without seeming to think through the full impact it could have on the public. In an earlier post on PFoL last week, Jay discussed the  “honor system” that is going to be used when the Affordable Care Act goes into effect next year. Like the green stimulus, the President was quick to rush through legislation before ensuring that it could be properly implemented.

A more modest leader would perhaps recognize his mistakes and learn from them. Instead, President Obama gave a speech focused on climate change last month — a questionable choice, given the current state of the economy, the number of issues facing the implementation of Obamacare, and the IRS and NSA scandals that had come to light around the same time.

With all the other newsworthy events that have taken place, not even the media seemed to care about Obama’s recent speech on climate change — much to the ire of the regressive progressive media watchdogs at Think Progress, who noted that the major news outlets (MSNBC, FOX, CNN) combined devoted a measly 14 minutes to the speech.

Regardless of whether or not you agree with the President’s energy policies and his views on climate change, the fact remains that these issues are no longer of the utmost importance to the American public. A recent Rasmussen poll shows that the economy and health care are seen as the most significant voter issues, with 77% and 73% of respondents listing them as “very important” respectively. Meanwhile, energy received a very important rating from 50% of respondents, while the environment achieved only 36%.

Perhaps the President should stop catering only to his base, and finally realize that he represents an entire country of voters who have more pressing concerns.