10.01.2008 0

Day 40: New ERA is More of the Same

  • On: 10/22/2008 13:38:32
  • In: Energy Crisis, Global Warming Fraud, and the Environment
  • Now that Congress is fresh back from its August recess, the news is flush with stories declaring “Democrats compromise on oil drilling,” and “Senate Forges a Compromise Energy Bill,” all of which leads one to believe that Congress is making real progress towards increasing oil drilling this year. Don’t be fooled.

    The so-called “Gang of 10” legislation that these stories promote—the New Energy Reform Act (ERA)—does not actually do that. The New ERA—just like the old political eras—attempts to pass the buck to somebody else, this time to State legislatures, to decide the all-important issue of off-shore drilling.

    And even if those State legislatures approved of drilling off their coastlines, the bill would still not open up all of the Outer-Continental Shelf to drilling, according to the Institute for Energy Research (IER):

    “The Gang of Ten calls for additional offshore production in areas currently under moratoria, but proposes a process that fails to guarantee/deliver any new supplies whatsoever. New production on federal offshore lands is left to the discretion of several state legislatures.

    “Production potential is severely limited. Only four coastal states would be granted the ability to ‘opt out’ of energy bans. Arbitrary 50-mile buffer zones would exclude potential resource deposits, such as the Gulf of Mexico’s Destin Dome, which is some 25 miles offshore.

    “The plan ignores the urgent national need to repeal the offshore energy exploration and production bans that have contributed to the very problem their plan purports to solve. It may even give the ban the force of permanent law for the first time ever. This is an especially short-sighted, as the Congressional ban is set to expire in less than two months, on October 1, 2008, which will open the entire 1.76 billion acre outer continental shelf (OCS) to energy production.”

    In other words, Congress would be better off doing nothing than voting for the New ERA. If they simply did nothing, the entire Outer Continental Shelf would be opened to oil and natural gas drilling. In addition, the moratorium on oil shale exploration would be lifted, if the current restrictions are simply allowed to expire on October 1st.

    In other words, this something is worse than nothing. And the real solution is to pray for gridlock.

    Why in the world should Congressional Republicans go along with a deal that does not even come close to opening up new leasing for energy exploration right away? Why is Congress trying to pass the buck to State legislatures? Do they even want to increase energy exploration? Or, are the Democrats merely attempting to stall for time hopes of getting an anti-energy president and a filibuster-proof Congress that can end independence hopes once and for all?

    The deal also would not lift restriction on drilling in Alaska’s ANWR. And that happens to be one state that actually does want to drill (thanks to the Democrats’ latest nemesis, the Reaganesque Sarah Palin).

    The Gang of 10 deal would also create “a commission to make recommendations to Congress on future areas that should be considered for leasing.” They need a commission to figure that out? Again, the American people are better off just letting the current moratoria expire, as there will not be any red tape to get in the way of increase drilling.

    Also, according to the analysis done by the IER, the bill “may even give the ban [on increased drilling] the force of permanent law for the first time ever.” In contrast, right now the current bans are set to expire in less than a month, as they have done annually for more than a decade.

    In other words, the New ERA will still restrict domestic energy exploration, set up a new host of barriers against the American people accessing their own natural resources—and yet offer the political illusion that Congress had actually done something meaningful to help out Americans suffering through this volatile economic period.

    Instead, Congress should simply block the Gang of 10’s veiled attempt to keep most of the ban on off-shore and on-shore drilling by allowing the moratoria to expire on October 1st. And if they are actually serious about an “all-of-the-above” solution to the energy crisis that does not have the contrary effect of making energy more expensive, they should consider House Republican Leader John Boehner’s American Energy Act.

    Short of that, Congress may serve the nation’s interest best simply by going back on recess.


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