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Don’t export problems

President Barack Obama is nobody’s fool. That isn’t to say he does no foolish things.

A case in point: The Obama administration has decided that one of the best places it can put $2 billion is to finance Brazil’s offshore oil drilling.

That’s right.

Obama, who has been reluctant to allow drilling off the coast of the good ole U.S.A., is preparing to loan $2 billion to Petrobras, Brazil’s state-owned oil company. The money from the U.S. Export-Import Bank may be a loan or a loan guarantee to enable Petrobras to explore the offshore Tupi oil field, according to The Wall Street Journal.

There could be benefits to the U.S. If the Tupi fields bloom, that could help provide the U.S. with much-needed energy security.

It would be a source of oil that bypasses possible instability in the Middle East. And arguably part of the Ex-Im Bank’s mission is to contribute to a stronger national economy.

But go ahead and sneer. That’s the best this knuckleheaded move deserves.

Why not spend the $2 billion on something closer to home, like say exploration of oil fields off the coast of the U.S.?

The return would be much more likely to end up in the hands of Americans, and the source of oil would be that much more secure.

And if drilling off the U.S. coast is off limits, what makes it OK to plunge wells into Brazilian waters? Americans won’t see it?

U.S. policy toward its forests belongs to the same fraternity of the disingenuous. Money and a better environment could grow from well-managed U.S. forests. But our forests have been managed by gridlock. Even thinning projects get massacred by lawsuits. And Oregonians pay the price in lost jobs, wildfires and escaped carbon.

Americans still need lumber, just as they still need gas. So timber companies look overseas for their harvest.

That really doesn’t make a lot of sense. We shouldn’t ban at home what we subsidize or push abroad.

– Wescom News Service

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