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  • We Must Increase Drilling and Reduce Red Tape

    The Outer Continental Shelf presents a tremendous opportunity to expand domestic oil and natural gas production with little or no downside. Extra energy is badly needed, and the risk of producing it has been greatly reduced. Over the past few months, high energy prices have shifted the tide in favor of drilling in restricted areas.

    The public supports offshore drilling by 2-to-1 margins. In July, President Bush lifted the executive moratorium on offshore drilling while urging Congress to do the same. Now, the U.S. Minerals Management Services is doing its part by commencing the process to develop a new Five Year Leasing Plan for the Outer Continental Shelf.

    And in approximately two short weeks we could be celebrating Energy Freedom Day. That is to say, even if Congress does not pass a bill that affirmatively opens up these offshore areas, it could accomplish the same end by simply letting the existing restrictions lapse. Of course, it will take time for the Interior Department to lease these areas and for the energy companies to develop them, but the process can at least begin.

    In addition to making restricted areas available, a large hurdle exists: Environmental litigation. After all, what good is making all these areas available if they are so burdened with red tape that it would be years before companies can even begin the process of extracting these valuable resources?

    Environmental radicals have protested practically every new lease for oil production. Let’s take a look at a few examples:

    1. The Chukchi Sea, an area off the coast of Alaska with estimated 15 billion barrels of oil and 77 trillion cubic feet of natural gas, according to the Interior Department. The Center for Biological Diversity, the Sierra Club and environmental groups challenged all 487 leases in the Chukchi Sea before they were even issued.
    2. The Beaufort Sea, also off the coast of Alaska. After Shell Exploration & Production Co. spent more than $80 million for offshore leases in the Beaufort Sea and the U.S. Mineral Management Service approved 12 leases, environmental radicals sued and obtained a court order ceasing drilling activity in April 2007. In total, environmental groups have challenged every single one of the 787 leases in the Chukchi and Beaufort Seas.
    3. The same group of environmentalists challenged the whole five-year OCS leasing schedule from 2007-2012. The lawsuit, which challenges all existing and future leases, is still pending when we could have been developing these lands.
    4. These next two points come directly from Heritage senior policy analyst Ben Lieberman’ss recent op-ed. A lease sale was recently held in New Mexico involving 78 parcels. Environmentalists immediately protested all 78. These protests are one of the first, but by no means the last step that green groups can take to try to stop oil and natural gas production.
    5. Energy production in northwestern Colorado was shut down, thanks to activists exploiting the nearly impossible paperwork requirements of the Endangered Species Act (ESA). This time, it’s the black-footed ferret, but more than 1,000 other listed species means many leases are in or near the potential habitat for at least one of them. Whether shutting down a significant part of Colorado’s energy production really benefits the ferrets is an open question, but useful or not, such shutdowns are common. And the ESA is only one of many tools in the anti-energy activists’ arsenal.

    This is by no means a new trick. Environmental groups have been thwarting attempts to explore new areas with valuable energy sources for years. It was more accepted when gas prices were $1, but now Americans are suffering from high energy prices and environmental groups are relentless in their attempts to halt new exploration. Sure, we shouldn’t compromise the environment for hasty drilling, but the environmental risks of offshore drilling have been significantly minimized. Rep. John Shadegg (R-AZ) summarizes it appropriately by saying:

    Environmental protections are necessary. Yet, legal challenges to oil and gas leases, aimed at blocking production, can drag on for years. As Congress has done in the past, we must impose reasonable limits on such environmental challenges. During the oil embargo of the 1970s, which put our national and economic security at risk, Congress allowed the waiver of environmental regulations, thus enabling 800 miles of pipeline to be built in Alaska within three years. In 2006, on a bipartisan basis, Congress again enacted a similar waiver to ensure that environmentalists did not block efforts to secure our border. This waiver will not cast aside our nation’s environmental laws, but instead prevent their abuse by radicals seeking to halt all American energy production.

    Americans want American-made energy to power our economy, create jobs, and carry us into the future. Energy or drilling legislation that fails to contain limits on environmental litigation will also fail to provide American consumers any real relief.

    Posted in Energy [slideshow_deploy]

    8 Responses to We Must Increase Drilling and Reduce Red Tape

    1. Tom Saunders Jr. says:

      I almost lost my company SaundersTrucking llc because of the rising fuel costs. I know that if congress does not get off the stick, and get some backbone and do what is right for country, and my countrymen we are going to fail as a country. I am sick and tired of the liberal congress trying to socialize everything in this great country of ours, and it has to stop. This Oil crisis is the single issue that conservatives have to fight with, and we must win this fight.

    2. Thomas Gray, South C says:

      We must increase drilling but we must also realize that oil supply world wide is on a downward slope and if not soon will be, so the need is to look ahead at what we must use in place of oil as a transportation energy source

      for trucks,,, and as a former truck driver I can tell you all right now it will not be battery power,, battery power works well for a vehical that weighs one thousand pounds,, but the empty gross weight of a truck is twenty nine thousand pounds +,-, and a legel load gross limit was ,,,,seventy three thousand,,,, two hundred eighty pounds,,

      I have read about these battery powered cars and they are a good sustainable answer to personal transportation and should be available now but they are not and the reason is no longer lack of demand but thats all I'm going to say about it,

      as for trucks except for NG and that would soon be in short supply I have heard nothing zero blank as to how we are going to power heavy loads,, and this is unacceptable and iresponsable since without trucks this country will not function we need to at the very least get this problem into the public view and start brainstorming some possable answers.

      There is a growing list of oil exporting countrys that have become oil inporting countrys as happened in the US around 1970 or so and this is compounding the world wide energy shortage.

      The UK is already having a very hard time with truck transport expense's and I'm sure many other places, I don't have the funds to travil the earth to see what the best answer to this problem may be,

      but if we continue to ignore the fact that we can no longer use oil as a transportation fuel we deserve what we get. Tom.

    3. Darvin Dowdy, Houst says:

      Tom Saunders, I agree. Our side is fighting hard but not smart. Newt's American Solutions has garnered "less" than 1.5 million signed petitions. Thats a pitiful result which indicates a lose organization and weak strategy. However, that being said, I'd advise you & yours to go sign that petition if you haven't. Asap. AmericanSolutions.com

      My belief is that we should place the emphasis on the number of high paying oil field related jobs that would be created by having $700 billion per year folding back into our own economy. Rather than our enemies. Our advocates such as Newt and others here on HF and even McCain should pose the question, "why are democrats standing in the way of high paying oil field related jobs for U.S. workers?" Good jobs are sorely needed right now. Problem is all they put forth are dry, boring statistics. They're top-heavy w/phd's and have lost touch w/the average working American. So they don't really understand whats important to us out here in the real world, Tom. They don't have a clue as to how to get the base energized as we were back in June 07 – burning up the fax, email and phone lines to their representatives over McCain/Kennedy. That is the level of intensity that we need. The prospect of higher paying jobs for Middle America and especially their offspring would pique their interest. Turn their heads.

      But all we get is the same boring, dry statistics, blah, blah, blah. Newt standing behind his podium talking "down" to everyone. Using 10 words when 2 or 3 would work.

      The prospects don't look good, Tom. I just don't see the battle being waged with intensity. Too many ego's are getting in the way of a decisive win. They're trying to deal with the obstinate democrats rather than bypassing them and going straight to the U.S. voter as Reagan taught us. Problem is they're elitists and don't know how to communicate w/Middle America anymore. Reagan knew. He was one of us. Darvin Dowdy

    4. Susie, Fort Worth TX says:

      And how much profit did Mobil Exxon report? How much? The public supports offshore drilling? Who says? The Polls are worded in such a way to confuse the public on choices. And how much does it cost to drill and extract oil – is it cost productive and how much pollution is added to the environment as a result? What oil crisis – the rich get richer.

    5. Susie, Fort Worth TX says:

      The Mineral Management Services – Investigative Report MMS Oil Marketing Group – Lakewood – http://www.doioig.gov/upload/RIK%20REDACTED%20FIN… – improprieties occurring within the Minerals Management Service’s (MMS) Royalty in Kind Program (RIK) approximately 1/3 of the entire RIK staff – had socialized with, and had received a wide array of gifts from, oil and gas companies with whom the employees were conducting official business, an organizational culture lacking acceptance of government ethical standards, inappropriate personal behaviors, and a program without the necessary internal controls in place to prevent future unethical or unlawful behavior, two of the RIK employees who accepted gifts also held unauthorized outside employment

    6. Darvin Dowdy, Houst says:

      Susie, I hope you're riding a bicycle around Ft. Worth. If not you're being hypocritical. I, personally, am glad to see the oil companies making some coin as that translates into a job for me and many others. I remember when the price of oil went down to $10 per barrel back in the '80's. I didn't hear the oil companies crying and asking the gov't for subsidies. They just sucked it up and kept going. Doing the best they could.

      The oil companies have a daunting task of getting that oil out of the ground, refined and out to market. They're doing a fantastic job and should be commended. Unfortunately we have such a collection of whining ingrates these days. DD

    7. Danny Grimes FLA USA says:

      It is becoming apparently clear: that to relie on enemies of the American Republic, is to destroy a Nation that was paid for in Blood. Hooked on Oil is no-longer an option, and it is not a hard choice to stop feeding speculators who take their monies, and flee. Anyone who would take Freedom away from America- in any form should be made to leave-and that should be permanently.How long must we suffer from bad decisions? How long will we go without the promise of our great Country. We will wait untill we can live, no more in the hands of insensibleminds who's thoughts are not to sustain, but to change by whatever means they have to suit their desires, and not of the People.

    8. Nicolas Loris Nick Loris says:

      "67% of voters believe that drilling should be allowed off the coasts of California, Florida and other states."

      This comes from Rasmussen, one of the most reputable polls in the country.

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