So John McCain
and George Bush
think they've found the mother lode, and have decided that they're going to carry the policy of lifting the moratorium on offshore drilling
on America's coasts all the way to another four years in the White House. They've got the whole conservative movement on their side with this coordinated effort, too. Newt Gingrich is babbling about a cyber-petition
(his words, I stopped using "cyber" shortly after I read my last William Gibson novel in 6th grade) with 750,000 signers, some of them possibly real, calling on America to "Drill Here, Drill Now, Pay Less." The wingnut minions are inundating members of Congress with phone calls
(that means a couple hundred). And I wish I could have seen the look on poor Charlie Crist's face
when he had to grudgingly go along with this charade, as the Governor of Florida
, and put his political career at risk:
Crist, last week:
Q: Gov. are you dropping your opposition to drilling for oil off of Florida’s coast?
CRIST: I am not. … No. 1, I don’t like it.
“What we ought to be willing to do is study it,” he said. “Reaching a conclusion about what is right or not right at this juncture is hard to do.” [...]
Florida politicians of both parties “have worked to keep the drilling ban in force along Florida shores for more than 25 years,” the Miami Herald observed today. Many fear “it would harm the state’s beaches that are so vital to its tourism.” Former Governor Jeb Bush (R) has also pushed hard for the ban on drilling.
MSNBC noted today, “No Republicans in Florida have gotten elected statewide without endorsing the moratorium on off-shore oil drilling…if Crist tries to rationalize the McCain decision then we’ll really find out just how much he wants on the ticket.”
GOP Sellout Alert! (and like McCain needs more help losing Florida
Now, I think the best way to understand what the right is actually proposing here is best typified by this chart
With the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge, you're talking about dropping the price of a barrel of oil between $0.50 and $2
over a 30-year time horizon when the price has gone up $100 since the beginning of the Bush Presidency. It's the same for drilling offshore. As Bill Scher
UPDATE: Just to put a fine point on it, lowering the price of crude oil per barrel by $1 is roughly equal to a reduction in price at the pump of 2.5 cents per gallon. So lifting all of the above moratoriums, lowering the price of crude by $2.25 per barrel, would lower the price at the pump by less than 6 cents by 2025.
Meaningless, after prices have skyrocketed more than $3 a gallon between Dec. 2001 and today.
Even John McCain's top campaign adviser has admitted that drilling would have no immediate effect
on higher gas prices.
But even if it did, it would be a catastrophic mistake. Debbie Cook
, who is the Mayor of Huntington Beach, sits on the board of the Association for the Study of Peak Oil (APSO), and who is running for Congress this year against our favorite Taliban lover Dana Rohrabacher, characterizes this quest for drilling as merely an effort to "divert our attention away from the real problem" of flattening world oil production, peak production being reached in 50 countries, and a dissipation of fossil fuel resources worldwide. From her statement:
George Bush and Dana Rohrabacher’s failure to understand the fundamental economics and geology of oil and gas production is matched only by their failures as leaders.
The true solution to our energy problems starts with conservation efforts, and investment in alternative and sustainable energy sources, which will create new American industries and jobs and jumpstart the sluggish economy.
But you have to look a little but further to get to the truth here. If two oilmen in the White House and a majority in the Congress, as Bush and Cheney had for 6 years, wasn't enough to get the job done of drilling in ANWR, do you really think they and their oil company buddies want to? The truth is hinted at in Harry Reid's response
The facts are clear: Oil companies have already had ample opportunity to increase supply, but they have sat on their hands. They aren’t even using more than half of the public lands they already have leased for drilling. And despite the huge tax breaks President Bush and Republican Congresses have given oil and gas companies to invest in refineries, domestic production has actually dropped.
Private corporations have potentially billions of barrels of oil sitting in capped wells and untapped leased fields, some of which have been lying fallow for as much as thirty years. They won't open them because they are more profitable as untapped reserves, which inflates the stock price and goes directly into the execs' wallets. Bush and McCain say they want more drilling, but the oil companies don't. They want more untapped reserves so they can pump up their balance sheets.
This is all a game. Bush and McCain want to funnel oil services contracts to corporate boardrooms, not oil to consumers. They either have some polling about how fear of higher gas prices will allow them to gain some populist support for these measures, or they're just following the Republican playbook since the energy crisis of the late 1970s. Whatever it is, they certainly aren't interested in delivering more oil.
UPDATE: Environmentalist at Kos
reaches the same conclusion.
Between 1999 and 2007, the number of drilling permits issued for development of public lands increased by more than 361%. And did you see your gasoline costs drop? How about your electricity costs? Propane? natural gas? Uh...no. There is absolutely no correlation between the industrialization of public lands and the price of fossil fuels [...]
What's going on here is yet another cynical attempt by the GOP and the oil and gas robber barons to increase and assure huge industry profits at the expense of the American people. These companies don’t want to drill these areas. They want to hold them as assests to limit the amount of oil and gas on the market so that prices rise still further - and they make more money. They want to hold on to these areas so that they can drill them ten or fifteen years from now and make an even bigger fortune.
Labels: ANWR, CA-46, Charlie Crist, conservatives, corporate America, Debbie Cook, energy, George W. Bush, John McCain, oil exploration, peak oil