Diary

Lousy House Oil Bill

The House of Representatives, under the majority Democrat party, has adopted an offshore oil drilling bill 236-189. The bill, if also passed by the Senate, will allow drilling beyond 50 miles of the coast and only if the states agree to go along.

Meanwhile, the House will allow a decades-old moratorium on offshore oil drilling to expire.

The Senate is unlikely to agree with the bill, and is likely to restrict drilling off the Pacific coast, in the northern Atlantic and in the eastern Gulf of Mexico if it allows any drilling at all.

The Dems are using this bill to stall real energy development in favor of ‘green’ energy. The zone inside 50 miles is where most of the oil is, and they know it. That is why it is restricted.

The bill does not include the big bonanza in Alaska’s Arctic National Wildlife Refuge, up to 15 billion barrels or more that can be accessed under just 3 square miles of land. There would be no exploration needed. The location of the oil is already known.

Republicans voted against the House bill because it puts the richest areas off limits, and for other reasons. The bill also does not share energy royalties with the states but directs it to the federal treasury. This is a ploy by Democrats to make the states say ‘no’ to drilling, because state approval would be needed for drilling off their coasts.

Enviros also will file lawsuits to stop drilling off every state, and Democrats in state legislatures will fight it and their ‘no’ votes may thwart drilling. This is the Democrats’ anti-oil backup in allowing the drilling moratorium to expire.

In his State of the Union address several years ago, President Bush said we needed to expand biofuels development. Enviros cheered, but ethanol production has proven to be a huge bust. Worldwide the ethanol industry is contracting as rapidly as it expanded. Now the Dems and their friends are pushing windmills and solar panels. None of this stuff works without huge government subsidies, which means they will throttle our economy.

The reason Dems are trying to stall offshore oil and every other type of ‘hard’ energy production from coal to nuclear is to push up the price of energy through scarcity so that their more expensive sources like wind and solar suddenly become economical in comparison.

The House bill includes a provision to “roll back” $18 billion in so-called oil company tax breaks and invest that money in wind and solar. What this really means in plain English is that the Dems want to increase oil company taxes $18 billion above current levels and use it to fund technologies that already exist but that are not economically viable. This would be a direct government subsidy to enviros and other Democrats who are invested in ‘green’ energy. Al Gore & Friends will benefit directly.

The House bill also includes a provision to take oil from the Strategic Petroleum Reserve to drive down gasoline prices. But that reserve of 750 million barrels is for emergencies, and if 2 million barrels a day were drawn out, energy prices would go much lower but the reserve would be empty in one year. The same 2 million barrels a day could be pumped out of ANWR for 20 or 30 years depending on the actual reserves in ANWR.

The House bill also would require utilities to purchase wind and solar-powered electricity and provide further tax credits to the wind and solar industries. These credits are not necessary. These technologies have existed for decades. They just are not cost-effective.

President Bush would veto the House bill if it came to him as passed. But it won’t. The Senate will not be acting until after the election.

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