Posts Tagged ‘moratoriun’

Democrats Finally Blink On Oil Drilling After Decades Of Obstruction

September 24, 2008

“Democrats have decided to allow a quarter-century ban on drilling for oil off the Atlantic and Pacific coasts to expire next week, conceding defeat in a months-long battle with the White House and Republicans set off by $4 a gallon gasoline prices this summer.”

It is a frankly stunning victory, coming on the heels of an incredibly cynical Democratic proposal that was literally intended to effectively kill offshore drilling even as it gave Democrats running for re-election the pretense of having “voted to allow offshore drilling.”  Republicans rightly held firm against the proposal, recognizing that by not allowing any revenue sharing with the states, it would have provided no incentive for the states to allow new drilling, and it would have continued to keep 90% of our oil off limits.

To understand the extent of the House Democratic collapse on offshore drilling, it is important to replay the words and actions of its leadership.  Not very long ago, Nancy Pelosi was single-mindedly committed to an ideological and frankly megalomaniacal effort to obstruct American energy development:

With fewer than 20 legislative days before the new fiscal year begins Oct. 1, the entire appropriations process has largely ground to a halt because of the ham-handed fighting that followed Republican attempts to lift the moratorium on offshore oil and gas exploration. And after promising fairness and open debate, Pelosi has resorted to hard-nosed parliamentary devices that effectively bar any chance for Republicans to offer policy alternatives.

“I’m trying to save the planet; I’m trying to save the planet,” she says impatiently when questioned. “I will not have this debate trivialized by their excuse for their failed policy.”

I wrote a story on this available here.

According to a Fox News story titled, “Democrats to Let Offshore Drilling Ban Expire, Conceding Defeat in Battle With GOP“:

Republicans have made lifting the ban a key campaign issue after gasoline prices spiked this summer and public opinion turned in favor of more drilling. President Bush lifted an executive ban on offshore drilling in July.

“If true, this capitulation by Democrats following months of Republican pressure is a big victory for Americans struggling with record gasoline prices,” said House GOP leader John Boehner of Ohio.

Democrats had clung to the hope of only a partial repeal of the drilling moratorium, but the White House had promised a veto, Obey said.

The House is expected to act on the spending bill Wednesday. The Senate is likely to go along with the House.

If the Senate Democrats allow the moratorium on offshore drilling to expire, we will see a similar miracle of reversal on the part of Majority Leader Harry Reid, who said things like:

“The one thing we fail to talk about is those costs that you don’t see on the bottom line. That is coal makes us sick, oil makes us sick; it’s global warming. It’s ruining our country, it’s ruining our world. We’ve got to stop using fossil fuel.”

In other words, they either never believed the sheer bull poop they were spouting, or else they are the kind of people who would cynically dump out “saving the planet” or stopping oil which is “making us sick and ruining our country and our world” for the sake of their political skins.  Either way they are a bunch of cowards and liars.

Mind you, I’m glad that the Democrats are caving in.  I’m glad that the American people are finally beginning to realize that we need to harness our energy resources if we want to separate ourselves from foreign oil.  But I’m not willing to kiss and make up with the people who have demagogued oil for over two decades, and who have so screwed up our energy along with so much else that we’ll be years trying to recover even if we begin to act intelligently.

We’ll finally be able to quit hearing the summer-long mantra, “Even if we start drilling now we won’t have more oil for ten years.”  The biggest problem with that mantra is they were saying the exact same thing ten years ago during the Clinton years.

If you think that the Democrats will finally allow commonsense oil drilling to prevail so you can vote for them now, think again.  The Fox News story points out that:

While the House would lift the long-standing drilling moratoriums for both the Atlantic and Pacific coasts, a drilling ban in waters within 125 miles of Florida’s western coast would remain in force under a law passed by Congress in 2006 that opened some new areas of the east-central Gulf to drilling.

And:

The Interior Department estimates there are 18 billion barrels of recoverable oil beneath the Outer Continental Shelf, about half of it off California.

While the ban on energy development will be lifted if the Senate goes along with the House action, it doesn’t mean any federal sale of oil and gas leases in the offshore waters — much less actual drilling — would be imminent.

The Interior Department’s current five-year leasing plan includes potential leases off the Virginia coast but probably would not be pursued unless the state agrees to energy development. And the state is unlikely to do so without Congress agreeing to share federal royalties with the state.

The congressional battle over offshore drilling is far from over. Democrats are expected to press for broader energy legislation, probably next year, that would put limits on any drilling off most of the Atlantic and Pacific coasts. Republicans, meanwhile, are likely to fight any resumption of the drilling bans that have been in place since 1981.

If you want to put gas in your car’s gas tank, and if you don’t want to keep paying OPEC $700 billion every year for the privilege, you have to vote Republican.  Don’t think that Nancy Pelosi won’t still try to save the planet, or that Harry Reid has stopped thinking that oil is ruining our world.  After the election, you can rest assured that they will be right back to their old tricks.

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