WASHINGTON — A one-year progress report on the Obama administration’s Blueprint for a Secure Energy Policy offers a sanguine portrait of increased domestic energy production and reduced reliance on foreign oil since the president took office. The report, presented to the president Monday by a Cabinet-level task force, asserted that the administration had brought what Interior Secretary Ken Salazar called, “the sweet spot of America, and that’s the Gulf of Mexico,” safely back to “robust” production.
“Since we put in place new safety standards in the wake of the Gulf oil spill, we have approved more than 400 drilling permits. In fact, we are now permitting at levels seen before the spill, all while meeting these important new standards,” reads the report authored by the secretaries of Interior, Agriculture, Housing and Urban Development, Energy and Transportation, the administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency and Heather Zichal, deputy assistant to the president for energy and climate change.
The American Petroleum Institute replied that “we are hearing a lot about the administration’s leadership in driving oil production up. The fact is that production on federal offshore and onshore areas is down.”
According to API, “There are certainly positives, however, today’s production increases relate to projects begun before the administration came into office and progress happening on state and private lands. The most significant oil production that the administration has control over is the offshore, and that has been restricted to the Gulf.”
API cited figures from the U.S. Energy Information Agency indicating that oil production in the Gulf was down 22% in 2011 and projected to be down 30% in 2012 as compared to production forecasts before the Obama administration imposed a moratorium on deepwater drilling after the BP disaster.
Emphasis added. Irony in the original.
Heather Zichal (born February 8, 1976) is the Deputy Assistant to the President for Energy and Climate Change, serving in the Barack Obama administration since 2009. Following the early 2011 departure of Carol Browner from the administration, Zichal gained the general responsibility of coordinating the administration’s energy and climate policy. Zichal previously served as a legislative director and campaign advisor to several Democratic Party congressional members. …
She attended Cook College at Rutgers University, where she studied environmental policy and graduated in 1999.
While at Rutgers she had interned at the state chapter of the Sierra Club and was part of a panel interviewing candidates for U.S. House of Representatives in New Jersey’s 12th congressional district. …
After serving on the Obama-Biden Transition Project in its Energy and Environment Policy Working Group, where she achieved some public visibility, she was named to be Deputy Assistant to the President for Energy and Climate Change in December 2008, to serve as deputy to Carol Browner, who was named director of the White House Office of Energy and Climate Change Policy (as such, Browner’s position was also informally referred to as the “Climate Czar” or “Energy Czar”). Zichal took office in January 2009.
… (the “czar” position itself having been reorganized away by the White House and its funding subsequently abolished by Congress in the mid-April 2011 federal spending agreement that averted a possible government shutdown).