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We Must Increase Drilling and Reduce Red Tape
Posted By Nicolas Loris On September 15, 2008 @ 5:26 pm In Energy | Comments Disabled
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 :
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.
Article printed from The Foundry: Conservative Policy News Blog from The Heritage Foundation: http://blog.heritage.org
URL to article: http://blog.heritage.org/2008/09/15/we-must-increase-drilling-reduce-red-tape/
URLs in this post:
 supports offshore drilling by 2-to-1 margins: http://www.heritage.org/Research/EnergyandEnvironment/wm2052.cfm
 lifted the executive moratorium on offshore drilling: http://www.heritage.org/Research/EnergyandEnvironment/wm2016.cfm
 Five Year Leasing Plan for the Outer Continental Shelf: http://www.mms.gov/
 Energy Freedom Day: http://seed.sproutbuilder.com/VQCDFmubCd_-iRcN
 Let’s take a look at a few examples: http://www.heritage.org/upload/CA_091508_shadeggenergylitigation.pdf
 with estimated 15 billion barrels of oil and 77 trillion cubic feet of natural gas: http://www.nytimes.com/2008/02/01/us/01lease.html?_r=1&fta=y&oref=slogin
 obtained a court order ceasing drilling activity: http://origin.foxnews.com/printer_friendly_wires/2007Dec04/0,4675,ShellOffshoreDrilling,00.html
 Ben Lieberman’ss recent op-ed: http://www.heritage.org/Press/Commentary/ed081508c.cfm
 summarizes it appropriately by saying: http://johnshadegg.house.gov/News/DocumentSingle.aspx?DocumentID=102338
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