The U.S. Geological Survey just released a summary of a new report showing an estimated 90 billion barrels of oil to be found above the Arctic Circle. That is enough oil to fuel the entire American economy for 12 years. Along with the oil, an estimated 1,669 trillion cubic feet of natural gas, and 44 billion barrels of natural gas liquids are available for the taking.
But taking it is the problem. The technology is there to safely extract these resources with little to no risk to the environment or wildlife. What stands in the way is the U.S. Congress. Meanwhile, the Canadians, the Russians, the Norweigans and anyone else with a valid territorial claim is rushing to the Arctic to drill, drill, drill. But the largest pot of gold in Alaska sits there untapped while the price of gas in the United States go up, up and up.
For months now, Republicans in both the House and Senate have been trying to get a vote on a variety of energy legislation that would increase supply, encourage conservation and assist in the development of alternative energy supplies. Their requests have been refused.
Instead, Harry Reid in the Senate and Nancy Pelosi in the House have shut off debate on any plan that would include more drilling of American energy resources.
Senator Reid offers a bill that would reign in oil speculators. That's it. Not one drop of new oil brought to market. Speaker Pelosi demands that President Bush release 70 million barrels of oil from the Strategic Petroleum Reserve and refill it at a later time. Her cry is "Free our oil" yet she won't let American companies drill for American oil to free the American consumer from the daily negative impact of high gas prices.
Earlier this month, we highlighted efforts that the GOP Senate has undertaken to force the issue and bring a vote on their plan the Gas Price Reduction Act of 2008. It would lift much of the ban on offshore drilling, remove the ban on oil shale development, tighten regulation of oil speculation and foster development of electric cars and trucks.
Led by House Republican Leader John Boehner, House GOP members gathered to show support for the "all of the above" plan to help lower gas prices for the American consumer.
The House GOP unveiled it's comprehensive "all of the above" plan called The American Energy Act on July 23, 2008. House Republicans gathered on the steps of the U.S. Capitol in a show of support for a plan that goes one better than the Senate GOP bill and permits drilling in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge and offshore in the Gulf of Mexico near Florida.
Compare the Democrat's "no drill" plan with the "all of the above" GOP plan:
House Republicans Energy Fact Finding Trip
While Barack Obama was beginning his whirlwind global campaign rally, nine house GOP members led by House Republican Leader John Boehner (R-OH) embarked on the American Energy Tour. Beginning in Golden, Colorado they first visited the National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) to highlight developments in cutting-edge solar, wind, fuel cell, biomass, and other emerging energy technologies.
From Colorado they ventured north to Alasaka where they toured the Prudhoe Bay oil production facilities and the area of the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge Congress set aside for oil exploration when it ititially set up the wildlife refuge. For readers who are interested, a photoset of the entire trip is here.
Jim Angle of Fox News went along for a portion of the trip and filed this report from ANWR:
Is one environmentalist standing on a mountaintop peering dozens of miles into the distance and seeing a tiny building on the shore pumping oil enough to force the American people to pay $4 or more for a gallon of gasoline?
Leader Boehner Demands a Vote!
House Republican Leader John Boehner has been very out front in demanding that Democrats permit a vote on energy alternatives that are not solely dictated to the Congress by the environmental lobby. If you have missed his noble efforts, here's a rundown.
And the effort seems to be paying off. This editorial in the Washington Post says it all:
No Drilling, No VoteDemocrats know that if the Republican energy plans in both the House and Senate came to an up or down vote they would pass. But do the voter's know that Democrats are still blocking ANY plan that would increase supply?
Speaker Pelosi won't let the House debate the merits of offshore drilling.
Friday, July 25, 2008; Page A20
WHY NOT have a vote on offshore drilling? There's a serious debate to be had over whether Congress should lift the ban on drilling in the Outer Continental Shelf that has been in place since 1981. Unfortunately, you won't be hearing it in the House of Representatives -- certainly, you won't find lawmakers voting on it -- anytime soon.
Instead of dealing with the issue on the merits, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.), a staunch opponent of offshore drilling, has simply decreed that she will not allow a drilling vote to take place on the House floor. Why not? "What the president would like to do is to have validation for his failed policy," she said yesterday when asked that very question. "What we're saying is, 'Exhaust other remedies, Mr. President.' . . . It is the economic life of America's families, and to suggest that drilling offshore is going to make a difference to them paycheck to paycheck now is a frivolous contention. The president has even admitted that. So what we're saying is, 'What can we do that is constructive?' "
If there is an explanation buried in there about why that makes offshore drilling off-limits for a vote, we missed it. Ms. Pelosi is correct that drilling is no panacea for the nation's energy woes. The short-term effect of lifting the moratorium, if there were any, would be minimal. That doesn't mean the country shouldn't consider expanded drilling as one of many alternatives. There are legitimate concerns about the environmental impact of such drilling -- environmental concerns that, we would note, exist in other regions whose oil Americans are perfectly happy to consume. But have technological improvements made such drilling less risky? Why not have that debate?
When they took the majority, House Democrats proclaimed that "bills should generally come to the floor under a procedure that allows open, full and fair debate consisting of a full amendment process that grants the Minority the right to offer its alternatives." Why not on drilling?
Meanwhile, the dispute has snarled progress on spending bills for fear of having drilling amendments attached. Citing "the uncertainty in how the oil and gas drilling issue is currently playing out on the Senate floor," Senate Appropriations Committee Chairman Robert C. Byrd (D-W.Va.) called off committee consideration of spending bills on which Republicans were threatening to offer drilling amendments. The result threatens to be the first time since at least 1950 that lawmakers will go home for the August recess without either chamber having passed a single appropriations bill.
If drilling opponents really have the better of this argument, why are they so worried about letting it come to a vote?
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