How are all our bought-and-paid-for Middle East “friends” going to feel when we outcompete them and drive down prices in the oil and gas business? Or will our government prevent that from happening, in the name of friendship?
I think you answered your own question.
Obama’s task was to simply prevent drilling to the extent that he can without doing something too crazy. Accordingly, he’s shut down drilling on Federal lands as much as he can.
They'll do it in the name of protecting the environ-mint while turning a healthy profit on both the mitigation "market" and the high prices induced by restrictions on production.