'We're Not Drilling Everywhere!'

Louisiana Democrat slams Obama’s oil policies

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March 29, 2012

Sen. Mary Landrieu (D., La.) on Thursday appeared displeased with the Obama administration’s energy policies.

"When people say we’re drilling everywhere—well, we’re not drilling everywhere!" Landrieu told Sen. Jeff Merkley (D., Ore.) in a conversation outside the Senate chamber.

She made the remarks shortly after the Senate voted 51-47 to reject a bill that would have eliminated about $4 billion in federal tax subsidies for domestic oil producers.

Landrieu was one of four Democrats who voted against the legislation, which failed to get the 60 votes necessary to proceed.

The vote was a rebuke to President Obama, who earlier in the day had urged Congress to end the subsidies, despite his having supported them in the past.

"Today, members of Congress have a simple choice to make: They can stand with the big oil companies, or they can stand with the American people," Obama said during a speech in the White House Rose Garden. "Right now, the biggest oil companies are raking in record profits—profits that go up every time folks pull up into a gas station."

Obama has made a concerted effort of late to convince the American people that his administration is doing everything in his power to encourage the domestic production of oil and gas. It is unclear how eliminating subsides would accomplish this goal.

"Under my administration, America is producing more oil today than at any time in the last eight years," he said in Miami last month. "That’s why we have a record number of oilrigs operating right now—more working oil and gas rigs than the rest of the world combined."

That claim, however, is undermined by a recent report from the nonpartisan Congressional Research Service, which found that 96 percent of increased domestic oil production since 2007 took place on non-federal land outside the president’s control.

Asked by the Washington Free Beacon if she thought the president was really doing everything in his power to encourage domestic oil production, Landrieu responded: "No, I’m not convinced that’s true. I mean, we’ve seen evidence to the contrary in the Gulf [of Mexico]."

She went on to slam Republicans for opposing increased federal spending on green energy projects.