10.01.2008 0

Day 43: Democrats’ Drilling Dodge

  • On: 10/22/2008 14:35:07
  • In: Energy Crisis, Global Warming Fraud, and the Environment
  • “We’re looking at a moratorium expiring. I don’t think I can stop that. The alternative is to have the states opt in if they want to… [It’s] better to have California have the option to make its decision for itself.”—Rep. Henry Waxman, quoted in the Wall Street Journal story, “House Democrats Expand Proposed Oil, Gas Drilling,” September 11th, 2008.

    A new House Democrat energy plan is attempting to pass the buck to the several state legislatures on the issue of off-shore drilling. Their message? “We really don’t want to drill.”

    According to the Wall Street Journal, the Democrats are continuing to evolve on the issue of energy with a new proposal being sponsored by Rep. Nick Rahall (D-WV):

    “Previously, Democrats proposed opening the door to expanded drilling along only a portion of the Atlantic seaboard, from Virginia to Georgia, and the Gulf Coast of Florida… The new proposal would potentially open areas off the coast of California that have been closed to new oil drilling for more than two decades. The measure could be voted on as soon as Friday.”

    But they really don’t want to drill. It’s a shell-game.

    Because if they really did want to drill—and increase energy production—they would do one of two things: 1) nothing and allow the current moratoria on off-shore oil and natural gas drilling to expire; or 2) simply support the Republican proposal, the American Energy Act, which would allow drilling off-shore, on-shore in places like ANWR, and otherwise increase all forms of energy production (nuclear, coal, alternatives, etc.).

    As such, this new proposal is a charade. Why else is Congressman Henry Waxman lamenting the fact that he doesn’t believe he can stop the moratorium from expiring? He’d obviously like to.

    Mr. Waxman noticeably believes that any vote to reauthorize the ban on drilling would ultimately fail. Therefore, the Democrats need something else—or someone else—to carry on their misguided policy of prohibiting access to America’s own energy resources.

    And they believe their only hope of stopping more drilling is to tie it up in the red tape of state legislatures under the phony pretense of states’ rights.

    Is the Democrats’ objection to opening up drilling off the coasts of America that the states and their residents object to doing so? If so, so what? The off-shore regions in question are not even on state property. They are on federal property.

    And even if they did object, would the nation’s policymakers really be wise to allow a single state to potentially cordon off a significant portion of the nation’s oil wealth? If it’s not a good idea for Congress to restrict access to scarce oil resources, then it’s not a good idea to let a single state to do so either.

    Does anybody really believe that, for example, Assembly Speaker Karen Bass, who has a 100 percent rating from the Sierra Club and League of Conservation Voters, and Senate leader Don Perata, who recently won the Byron Sher Award for Outstanding Environmental Achievement by a Public Official from the Sierra Club—both Democrats who in short are both bought and paid for by the enviro-lobby—would ever allow drilling off the coast of California? Even Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger, a Republican, is opposed.

    For that matter, why should they get to hold such a significant portion of the nation’s coastline and oil resources—some 840 miles of coastline or 42,000 square miles of potential oil resources in the 50 to 100 mile range the proposal prescribes—hostage from the rest of Americans in non-coastal states like Colorado, Iowa, Pennsylvania, and Nevada?

    Not only is it unfair, it’s asinine. Even if they might allow drilling after considerable political pressure was applied, why go through all that time and trouble? As of October 1st, without taking any action, the bans on drilling in those areas will be lifted. Drilling could commence rapidly.

    What’s the sense of even having a Congress that passes on questions of actual national policy and yet intrudes in the functioning of the states on other questions? That is the exact opposite of the best intentions of the federal system.

    And for that matter, nobody is really fooled by the Democrats’ selective states’ rights philosophy anyway. Where have these so-called states’ rights advocates been when it came to drilling on the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge in Alaska? For years, Alaskans have asked the federal government for permission to do so, and yet the federal government has stood in the way. If the Democrats are all about letting the states decide, why not lift the restrictions on drilling in ANWR, too?

    The answer is: They do not really want to drill. And they are taking the course that makes it least likely that any new drilling will begin anytime soon.

    This new proposal is simply a device to carry on the work of the “drill-nothing” Congress, and takes that battle to coastal states. If House Democrats really wanted to increase domestic drilling now based on its own merits, they could do that in a number of ways. Passing the buck on to the states with coastlines is not leadership—it’s cowardice.

    ALG CTA: ALG News encourages journalists nationwide to urge their readers to call their representatives to tell them that they want drilling now, that they do not want Congress to abdicate its own responsibility of permitting leasing of oil and natural gas exploration rights off-shore, and to therefore oppose Congressman Rahall’s proposal and to instead support Republican Leader John Boehner’s American Energy Act.

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