Friday, September 19, 2008

Will the U.S. Offshore Drilling Bill Die or be Vetoed?

Tuesday night the House of Representatives approved the extensive Comprehensive American Energy Security and Consumer Protection Act to relax the federal ban on offshore drilling and to expand renewable energy.

The Democrat backed bill is an attempt to ease high gas prices while at the same time limiting drilling to an area between 50 and 100 miles from a state’s coastline. The bill, which few in Congress have probably read, is 290 pages long.“Data from the Interior Department “estimate that 88 percent of the recoverable oil lies within the closed 50-mile zone.”

According to an article by Jason Embry of American-Statesman, the “House defeated an effort by Republicans to replace the energy measure with an alternative bill that would have allowed more drilling. . .Republicans criticized the Democratic plan because it would not offer adjacent states a share of royalties.”

Republicans say that the bill does little to increase domestic oil supplies but Rep. Lloyd Doggett, D-Austin denied that the bill was “more election-year gimmickry."

Although 221 Democrats and 15 Republicans voted for the bill, 176 Republicans and 13 Democrats voted against it. The Senate will address offshore-drilling this week with a bill that will further limit drilling area. Congress is scheduled to adjourn Sept. 26. It’s doubtful that there will be enough time left to send a finalized bill to the President before the September 30th deadline.

The Christian Science Monitor has provided a short outline of some of the questionable and silly provisions in this bill. For example, the bill will “Offer tax breaks for companies that promote bicycles for commuting.”

This might be workable in some urban settings, but for many Americans living in western states, it would be impossible. In Texas, for example, there is little infrastructure to support bicycles and the average commutes to work on six-lane freeways are often far more than 30 miles each way.

1 comment:

  1. The Bill is characterized by the LSM as repealing the ban on offshore drilling. The bill would open coastal waters only beyond 100 miles from shore, unless the adjacent state allows drilling 50 miles offshore. Oddly enough, most known deposits of oil are found within the 50-mile limit. Actually, the bill retains a ban in parts of the Eastern Gulf of Mexico until 2022, bans any drilling within 125 miles of the Florida coastline, and permanently blocks drilling in all national marine monuments and national marine sanctuaries. In other words, Democrats want to look as if they are doing something while still doing nothing.

    The President has promised to veto the bill, which would not only keep the new ban from being enacted, but leave the current ban to expire. That is the only hope of any drilling being done in areas that will actually benefit the consumer. So take the red pen and VETO away. Then DRILL, DRILL, DRILL.