Republicans Push for More Drilling; It's All They've Got

With oil prices topping $75 per barrel and gasoline costing consumers more and more at the pump, Republicans in Congress know they have to do something or else face the wrath of voters in November. But what is their only solution to the energy crunch? More drilling, of course! Jim Snyder has the story for The Hill.

Four Senate committee chairmen will suggest new energy legislation to GOP leaders by next week, as negotiations continue over a bill to allow more drilling in the Gulf of Mexico, a high priority for business lobbyists.

[...]

Sen. Pete Domenici (R-N.M.), chairman of the Energy and Natural Resources Committee, is pushing for a small bill limited to opening oil and gas drilling in an area known as Lease 181, in the eastern gulf. An aide said the senator believes the bill is the quickest way to expand fuel supplies and ease prices.

Americans have seen the drilling-first energy policy of the Bush administration and the Republican Congress in action for several years now, and by and large they have come to the conclusion that it is a wholly failed strategy. According to a recent Gallup poll, when asked who they believe "would do a better job of dealing with" gas prices, Americans favor  Democrats in Congress over Republicans in Congress by a staggering 52 percent to 22 percent margin. A CBS News poll conducted in June found that just 18 percent of Americans -- and just 12 percent of independent voters -- approve of how George W. Bush is handling gas prices.

Energy and gas prices are big winning issues for the Democrats. And if Pete Domenici and the rest of the Do Nothing Republican Congress believe that they can win back some voters with more of the same -- another piece of legislation authorizing drilling for oil -- they are terribly mistaken.

Tags: Drilling, Energy, Oil, Republicans (all tags)

Comments

6 Comments

Re: Republicans Push for More Drilling

What a brilliant policy!  More oil drilling in our most hurricane-prone region, as global warming caused in part by fossil fuel usage exacerbates the destructiveness of hurricanes!

Someday people will look back at the Bush Admin as the most ass-backward administration in American history for encouraging more fossil fuel usage and refusing to do anything about conservation, while persisting in denying global warming.  This will probably rank right up with with the Iraq War as a wholly misguided endeavor that accomplished the opposite of what was intended, thereby making eveything much, much worse, wasting lives, money and a historic window of oppportunity the wake of 9/11.

They really are hard to match, and I just hope we can survive their idiocy.

by Mimikatz 2006-07-11 12:37PM | 0 recs
A lot of Dem MCs are (energy company) tools, too!

When I say a lot, I'm counting, for a start, the 40 Dem reps who supported the House drilling bill.

So far as I can see from the Snyder piece, what's holding up a Senate version right now is the fact that the GOP can't agree a text amongst themselves!

And that Martinez is the point-man for the forces of resistance in the Senate - for the moment at least.

Now, assuming - which is entirely an internal GOP affair - they manage to get all GOP senators behind a text, they only need four Fristies (if they can keep Landrieu) to come in behind a cloture motion.

(Thanks to the Dems' sterling performances in the last few years, the only Dem senators from states bordering the Gulf are Landrieu and Bill Nelson, so the royalty share scheme (unless extended to states generally) will have limited appeal.

However, there are logs to be rolled, and some Fristies up for reelection this year may seek a stiff payment for dragging the GOP out of this particular hole.)

And when you say

Energy and gas prices are big winning issues for the Democrats.

they certainly talk a promising game in New Direction - what with talk of
eliminate billions in subsidies for oil and gas companies and use the savings to provide consumer relief and develop American alternatives...

and all.

But I can't help remembering that, when it came to turning back the monstrous juggernaut of corporate welfare that was HR 6, the Barton energy bill, a solid nut of Dems in both houses waved it through like a cop directing traffic!

(On the conference report, 75 Dem reps vote for; on waiving the Budget Act for the report, 25 Dem senators voted for. That's 28% and 56% of the Dem party in each house.)

And that's the army that's going to strip the oil companies of billions of bucks worth of gravy?

by skeptic06 2006-07-11 01:39PM | 0 recs
Re: A lot of Dem MCs are (energy company) tools

You write, "So far as I can see from the Snyder piece, what's holding up a Senate version right now is the fact that the GOP can't agree a text amongst themselves!" But Snyder reports that it's the Democrats who are poised to scuttle the bill.

Even if a compromise is found, some lobbyists say, it is unlikely that Democrats will want the measure to be adopted. A drilling bill would represent "a major win for Republicans" at a time when Democrats want to tie the majority party to high gasoline prices leading into the midterm elections, one oil company official said. [emphasis added]

by Jonathan Singer 2006-07-11 02:04PM | 0 recs
Re: A lot of Dem MCs are (energy company) tools

So - its's saying that the current stumbling block is dissension within the GOP ranks!

If they can't sort themselves out, Frist won't give a bill floor time. No Dem intervention required.

Suppose the GOP get their act together, though.

Then, the Dems come into play. Apparently, Landrieu has already been peeled off by this proposal to split royalties with the states.

That leaves four Dems to get - plus cover for any GOP opponents.

In an election year, with gas prices a key Dem campaigning point, it should be impossible for the GOP to get those four. Reid should be able to keep his cats in line. But - who knows?

Why would a lobbyist say passing the bill would be unlikely?

For the edification of his oil clients, that's what! He's laying it on with a trowel:

If the bill passes, then it was against superhuman odds.

If the bill fails, again with the odds!

Either way, he boosts his own payoff - he hopes!

You weren't taking a lobbyist at his word, were you? ;)

by skeptic06 2006-07-11 04:58PM | 0 recs
Re: Republicans Push for More Drilling; It's All T

It seems to me that making gas prices a central campaign issue might be setting yourself a trap.

The repubs. certainly are not doing well to deal with gas prices, from Iraq and Iran policy to lax standards on the oil companies, but I don't know how much the Dems could really do in the short term, and we all know how impatient voters are.

I think the dems. would do better on this issue, but there is so much that controls oil prices that are out of gov.t control, and I fear that by focusing on gas prices, the Dems would be shooting themselves in the foot when it comes time for them to run the gov't and they have trouble making much of an impact on gas prices.

Further more, I am in the camp that beleives that a higher gas tax would be a good thing (though again, not a good thing to focus on while campaigning) so talking about bringing down oil prices would be a bit contradictory in that case.

Although I do agree that focusing on holding Big Oil accountable would resonate with voters. Thoughts?

by DianaJ 2006-07-12 12:06PM | 0 recs
Hemp or more drilling?

An aide to Sen. Pete Domenici (R-NM )said the senator believes the bill is the quickest way to expand fuel supplies and ease prices.

Sorry Sen. Pete. There's a faster way. It's called Hemp.

"About 6% of contiguous United States land area put into cultivation for biomass could supply all current demands for oil and gas without adding any net carbon dioxide to the atmosphere.

"...Hemp is the only biomass resource capable of making America energy independent.

"When farmers can grow hemp for biomass they will make a profit energy farming." GLOBAL HEMP

To give us a pollution-free source of energy, and to free us from the bondage of Middle East oil, legalize hemp.

by Hempy 2006-07-12 06:57PM | 0 recs

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