House votes to lift ban on offshore drilling

There you go, as expected, nothing but a charade:

The vote marked a tactical retreat by Democrats, who have fought each year since 1982 to renew the ban. But House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, fearing a backlash for her party in November with polls showing growing support for new drilling, agreed to lift the moratorium as part of a broader energy bill.

Pelosi hailed the 236-189 vote as a victory because the bill also included Democratic priorities such as stripping oil companies of $18 billion in tax breaks, renewing expiring tax credits for wind and solar, and requiring electric utilities to get 15 percent of their power from renewable sources by 2020.

The measure "will put us on the path toward energy independence" and make "Big Oil pay for its fair share of our transition to a clean, renewable energy future," Pelosi said.

The bill faces a very uncertain future. The Senate is set to take up three separate energy bills, which differ sharply from the House measure. The White House issued a veto threat today, saying the House bill "purports to open access to American energy sources while in reality taking actions to stifle development."

So what will happen, instead of Democrats having grabbed this issue and wrapped it up in a real package of renewables, conservation, and multi-resource exploration months ago?

This will:


Senate Republicans may choose to block action on any energy bill and allow the moratorium to expire on Sept. 30. If the drilling ban lapses, the Bush administration could begin the process of preparing oil and gas lease sales in new areas as close as three miles offshore.

And that, democrats, is how we lost not only an issue, but a chance to transform our nation's dependency on fossil fuels for the near future.

Tags: 2008 (all tags)

Comments

64 Comments

Re: House votes to lift ban on offshore drilling

This is such a joke.

Really, I wonder if the Republicans bully the Democrats out of their lunch money in the cafeteria.

by GrahamCracker 2008-09-16 08:15PM | 0 recs
Re: House votes to lift ban on offshore drilling

I fyou read the details of the bill you will see that it forbids drilling within 50 miles...which is all that big oil wants when they say "drill baby drill".  It also removes sunsidies to big oil, and mandates new investment in alternative energy.  The bill is a compromise away from the absolute No Drilling stance.  It is also a political move to have Republicans go on record as voting against it.  I think you can debate and critique those latter two issues all you want, but the actual language of the bill is not really a cave in on the subject.  Unless of course you think in binary absolutes, which in my experience tends to be how Republicans think.

by tominstl 2008-09-16 08:17PM | 0 recs
Re: House votes to lift ban on offshore drilling

No, its not a cave at all, its a poison pill bill designed to get stalled by Republicans-- and then the Republicans get everything they want anyway (except keep the issue alive through the election).

by Jerome Armstrong 2008-09-16 08:20PM | 0 recs
Re: House votes to lift ban on offshore drilling

So the Dems should have caved completely, thereby taking the issue off the table and giving the Repubs a win, or the Dems shouldn't have pretended to cave, thereby leaving it on the table? Actually passing a good energy bill, with or without offshore drilling was never an option. The repubs are able to block anything good in the senate (as they are about to do on this, which isn't even all that good), and offshore drilling is maintained year-to-year, so all that is required to lift the moratorium is that the Republicans block renewal of the moratorium.

It is a great issue for Repubs and for people who like complaining about how much the Dems suck, but it was a guaranteed loser for the Dems from the moment the Repubs started pushing it. On the other hand, a lapsed moratorium is easier to restore than a repealed moratorium (from a political standpoint), so I doubt many offshore oil rigs actually end up getting built as a result of this stunt.

by letterc 2008-09-16 10:17PM | 0 recs
Re: House votes to lift ban on offshore drilling

No the Dems should have had backbone and push through a real energy bill using alternatives, getting rid of oil subsidies, keeping the ban on drilling, etc.  It is another Pelosi "poison pill" like FISA and the Dems are going off the cliff like lemmings.

by anya109 2008-09-17 07:03AM | 0 recs
Re: House votes to lift ban on offshore drilling

Which would have then been filibustered in the Senate or vetoed by Bush. Then, when the offshore drilling ban expired in October, we would be exactly where we are.

by letterc 2008-10-01 01:59AM | 0 recs
Re: House votes to lift ban on offshore drilling

I hope the environmental groups have some kind of legal strategy to block this massive looting of the federal government until after the election.

The thought of the Bush administration handing out long-term drilling rights willy-nilly as they walk out the door is sickening.  Something has to be done.

by Steve M 2008-09-16 08:17PM | 0 recs
Re: House votes to lift ban on offshore drilling

nah, its a done deal and they all know it too. There will be no political will to take up the ban next year either.

by Jerome Armstrong 2008-09-16 08:22PM | 0 recs
Re: House votes to lift ban on offshore drilling

Wow Jerome, such an optimist.

by ProgressiveDL 2008-09-16 08:27PM | 0 recs
Re: House votes to lift ban on offshore drilling

Ah, only 13 Democrats to vote against the bill. Read the writing on the wall.

by Jerome Armstrong 2008-09-16 08:28PM | 0 recs
But isn't the Senate going to change

the bill?  You are assuming that the House bill will be the same bill that gets voted on right away by the Senate.  You don't think they'll change anything?

Where are Obama and McCain on this bill?

by Blazers Edge 2008-09-16 08:29PM | 0 recs
Re: House votes to lift ban on offshore drilling

There will be no renewal of the ban, however, limits can be placed on it, and the president has the final say on which leases can or cannot be authorized...

Having a democratic president is as good as having the ban in place... There is no way Obama is going to allow drilling 3 miles offshore... in fact, he should use that fact as part of their campaign in FL, VA, and NC...  states that might not be too happy about having oil rigs so close to their touristy and high property valued shore...

by LordMike 2008-09-16 08:30PM | 0 recs
I believe he's talking about a legal strategy

rather than a political one.

by JJE 2008-09-16 08:32PM | 0 recs
Re: I believe he's talking about a legal strategy

Yeah, with the Court system that is in place now?  This is a done deal as Jerome states - and Obama won't cave, hello my name is FISA.

by anya109 2008-09-17 07:05AM | 0 recs
depends which judge you get

there isn't really a "court system", there's a lot of federal judges all with different views and outlooks.  I should know, I clerked for one.  You might be able to find one who would enjoin this and you could tie it up in litigation for a few months, though it seems like a long shot.

by JJE 2008-09-17 10:17AM | 0 recs
Re: House votes to lift ban on offshore drilling

Well, president Obama would get to authorize those leases... so, he certainly could cancel them, and claim that the drilling being so close to chore would be bad for the states...

This issue could really backfire on the republicans... Tell the people of coastal florida, north carolina, and virginia, that there will be oil rigs 3 miles from shore...

They might not be so excited about offshore drilling anymore...

by LordMike 2008-09-16 08:24PM | 0 recs
Re: House votes to lift ban on offshore drilling

I don't really understand how a new president would have the power to unilaterally cancel leases.  Do they come up for renewal every year or something?  I assume they would be long-term arrangements.

by Steve M 2008-09-16 08:29PM | 0 recs
Re: House votes to lift ban on offshore drilling

No, the poster is just making it up on the fly.

by Jerome Armstrong 2008-09-16 08:31PM | 0 recs
Re: House votes to lift ban on offshore drilling

C'mon, Jerome... I give you the benefit of the doubt when others don't...  I don't know exactly  how this stuff works, but, I do know the president gets to authorize this stuff...

Depending on how the contracts are written, there may be ways to modify them.... but, we really don't know...

I think what has to happen is for these people to start building rigs and force Floridians and Carolnians and everyone else on the coasts to live with the disaster they so wanted...

Sometimes, that's the only way to get through to people....

by LordMike 2008-09-16 08:41PM | 0 recs
Re: House votes to lift ban on offshore drilling

they won't drill there, to little oil (eastern shore except off VA some). It's the LA gulf side they want, and will get in Oct-Dec, all they want.

by Jerome Armstrong 2008-09-16 08:48PM | 0 recs
Re: House votes to lift ban on offshore drilling

I would be surprised to find out that if Bush authorizes a 5-year or 10-year or 99-year lease, the new president just gets to tear it up.  Maybe it really does work that way.  It's just my assumption that it wouldn't.

by Steve M 2008-09-16 09:00PM | 0 recs
Re: House votes to lift ban on offshore drilling

Jerome, I love you to death, but 9 times out of 10 when you post lately it has that air of the drunk guy out front in his robe with the shotgun, bemoaning the fate of the universe.

Is it all really THAT bad?

by ihaveSTILLseenenough 2008-09-16 08:21PM | 0 recs
Re: House votes to lift ban on offshore drilling

No, not at all; if you love drilling offshore, this is terrific news!

by Jerome Armstrong 2008-09-16 08:23PM | 0 recs
Re: House votes to lift ban on offshore drilling

Jerome, am I completely confused, or do I remember rightly that when McCain brought up the subject of offshore drilling, you said the democrats should agree with it?

by french imp 2008-09-16 09:25PM | 0 recs
Re: House votes to lift ban on offshore drilling

And, indeed, even in this post, Jerome can't seem to decide if the Dems suck because they passed something that includes offshore drilling, if they suck because they will fail to pass the compromise and will fail to pass a continuation of the moratorium, if they suck because they didn't pass a repeal months ago, or if they suck because they didn't provide him with a pony.

One thing he is sure of, the Dems sure do suck.

by letterc 2008-09-16 10:20PM | 0 recs
Re: House votes to lift ban on offshore drilling

And I agree with that assessment - they do suck!  FISA was off the table - but no, Pelosi brings it back and gave everything to Bush and the Repubs.  Now this, instead of demonstrating how bad an idea this is and what really should be done, it is back to giving the Repubs and big Oil what they want. Disgusting cave in again by the Dem leadership.

by anya109 2008-09-17 07:11AM | 0 recs
Re: House votes to lift ban on offshore drilling
Yes, which I do again. I have said many times that Democrats should take the issue and run with it all the way:
Congressional Dems should adopt the position, include some safeguards, and alongside billions in funding for finding alternative fuel solutions, make it part of a long-term solution.
by Jerome Armstrong 2008-09-17 07:36AM | 0 recs
Re: House votes to lift ban on offshore drilling

Are you one of those "vast numbers of Americans who do"?  If not, what is your point?  Americans are worried about the high cost of gas and the Dems led by Obama have failed to show that drilling is a terrible option and won't help.  A failure of leadership and the Republicans win again.  Unbelieveable!

by anya109 2008-09-17 07:09AM | 0 recs
Re: House votes to lift ban on offshore drilling

Don't forget . . the Dems are the enemy too.  For the moment it's just that the Repugs are more of the enemy.

by scytherius 2008-09-16 08:22PM | 0 recs
Re: House votes to lift ban on offshore drilling

Come on Jerome, you know how negotiations work. Compromise is the name of the game...we control the story, lets not be seen as the ones that do not co-operate with those on the other side of the aisle.

I really do not think this is as important an issue as the Repugs want it to be, we have now moved it from the top of the list of wants to the side or bottom.  They can quit the drill,baby,drill chant.

Nancy, on my, she is making lots of folks nervous, after the election I look for a move to have Hillary take her place...?  is that possible.

by lja 2008-09-16 08:26PM | 0 recs
Nancy is in the House

Hillary is in the Senate.

by JJE 2008-09-16 08:27PM | 0 recs
Re: House votes to lift ban on offshore drilling

No.  Hillary is a Senator... going to the house would be a MAJOR demotion...

by LordMike 2008-09-16 08:28PM | 0 recs
Re: House votes to lift ban on offshore drilling

So, what difference does it make?  The bill will never be signed, but the guys in tough districts cover their asses and this may be used against some republicans who voted against it....

It's not like we could DO anything about the ban expiring... GW Bush wasn't going to sign anything less than what's going to happen in a few weeks anyways...

It's a good political and strategic move... we've given up nothing.

by LordMike 2008-09-16 08:27PM | 0 recs
Re: House votes to lift ban on offshore drilling

I came back from a vacation on Ocracoke Island this summer...some of the best beaches in the country. But not for long. If this ban lapses as it well might whoever wins the senate race Dole or Hagan vowed to drill off the NC shore. I mean where do they get this idea god only knows but it's all drill drill drill.

by tarheel74 2008-09-16 08:28PM | 0 recs
I've vacationed on every beach from Rodanthe

to Ocracoke to Waves, from Chincoteague to the Northern Neck. And like many Americans, I say drill, drill, drill.

There have been lots of silly remarks about "elitism" this election cycle, which rarely get beyond where you buy your coffee. I think the opposition to drilling in the new Democratic Party is a special kind of elitism, and very ugly.

We think other countries should drill, not US. China, Brazil, Russia, Canada, Mexico.....let them do the dirty work, not the United States. Obama actually called Canadian Oil Sands drilling "dirty", understandably drawing protests from our (former?) allies to the North. One of the most environmentally conscious countries in the world--Norway--drills agressively off their coast.

Nancy Pelosi's solution as to how working class families should deal with high gas prices--"they will just have to use less"--is a remark worthy of Nancy Reagan...let them eat cake! Today's Democratic Party has definitely lost its bearings. We need to take more direction from working class folks, and less from the greenies and enviros.

by BJJ Fighter 2008-09-16 09:32PM | 0 recs
Well, this one is definitely convoluted

I'm a believer in drilling now and drilling often. With Russia getting ever more friendly with Hugo Chavez, we need to dramatically increase our domestic exploration of oil and natural gas...and start developing nuclear as well. I'm all for renewable energy, but even if we go full tilt, it will only contribute 8% of our total needs by 2030. In the meantime, let's try to transition.

Centrist Democrats like Jim Webb also support this pro-growth, pro-energy agenda, and believe that we can't let the Repubs paint us as a bunch of tree huggers.

The issue with Pelosi is her ineptitude. The way I read Jerome's article is that she really believes that she has derailed drill/drill/drill; in fact, the ban expires on Sept.30th. The bill passed in the House today is meaningless.

by BJJ Fighter 2008-09-16 09:44PM | 0 recs
Re: Well, this one is definitely convoluted

For once, we agree. Pelosi has run her Congress in such a spineless and fake way that it's nearly impossible to support them. If it weren't for the fact that I KNOW they wouldn't get anything real done anyway thanks to the veto pen, I'd be even more pissed.

by vcalzone 2008-09-16 09:55PM | 0 recs
Re: I've vacationed on every beach from Rodanthe
do you have any clue what you are talking about? Probably not. But let me educate you. The chances of finding oil or natural gas off the coast of NC is 1 in 7. That is the probability is less than 15%. There is higher chance of finding natural gas but oil is iffy to be very optimistic. What's worse that for drilling to happen there has to be an offshore rig setup there. Which will be an environmental and ecological disaster for the Outer Banks. Geologically these are shifting islands and the reason they are so pristine especially Ocracoke is because all development is restricted there. Moreover once you do start drilling you face two big questions: 1) what happens to the rig if you find nothing? Do you just let it rot in the sea? and 2) what happens if by an absolute miracle you find crude? Where do you refine it? Do you tear down all the continental waterways to build a refinery and screw up the ecosystem like they did in Louisiana?
This drill-drill mentality is the stupidest and most nonsensical stuff I have heard given the fact that face it United States just does not have that much oil. It never did.
by tarheel74 2008-09-17 06:03AM | 0 recs
Re: I've vacationed on every beach from Rodanthe

The highest ranking Democratic office holder (that would be Speaker Pelosi) doesn't even know what "fossil fuels" means, and you think you have to educate me? Maybe you should work on her first.

Educate yourself as well: I'd recommend "Oil, Jihad, and Destiny", by Ronald R. Cooke.

As to your question about rigs/not finding oil: new seismic technology has totally revolutionized this science....of course, Obama is sponsoring a bill (S.115) which bars the use of seismic 3D to find oil deposits. Wonder why?

What you need to understand is that technologies in this industry have advanced light years since most of these enviro laws were passed. So, before educating others.....educate yourself.

by BJJ Fighter 2008-09-17 07:56AM | 0 recs
Re: I've vacationed on every beach from Rodanthe

How in the world will off shore drilling help people with gas prices today or even ever?  Peak oil is real, it is just beginning and the price of gas will not go down significantly.  Instead, we should be absolutely pursuing alternative methods of energy and we do have the know how - we need the political will to do this.

Off shore drilling is another concession to big Oil and their monopoly on energy.  BTW, I don't believe that those opposed to off shore drilling agree to have other countries do it and using China as a model - I'm sure you would love to live in that environmental h**lhole.

I am shocked at the comments in this supposed Democratic blog!  So, global warming is also under the bus?  

by anya109 2008-09-17 07:18AM | 0 recs
madam speaker is spineless

and a complete fool. Just my last thoughts for this night.

by tarheel74 2008-09-16 08:39PM | 0 recs
Re: madam speaker is spineless

Yes totally agree and she has to be replaced by a strong Democratic leader.

by anya109 2008-09-17 07:19AM | 0 recs
Re: House votes to lift ban on offshore drilling

What's the alternative if the Dems think sticking with the ban will cost them seats? Seats vs. Offshore drilling? I'll take the seats, although obviously that might not be the case (losing seats) or the only two outcomes to be had.

by bigdaddy 2008-09-16 08:59PM | 0 recs
Re: House votes to lift ban on offshore drilling

How could they have re-authorized the ban?  It would've been vetoed.  Would you have them change the Constitution by act of God?

by auronrenouille 2008-09-16 09:00PM | 0 recs
Re: House votes to lift ban on offshore drilling

Nancy Pelosi has to go. Anyone who lets a guy named Boehner outfox you on an issue that appeals to the stupid has got to go.

BTW where are all the symbolic votes that the party in Congress gets to push everytime there is a presidential election? I mean the Dems could start pushing everything from S-CHIP to minimum wage to tax cuts for working people. If Republicans want to vote against them they make great attack ads.

This isn't a problem of bringing a knife to a gunfight. This is a problem of actively colluding with the other side to get their agenda passed.

by wengler 2008-09-16 09:02PM | 0 recs
Re: House votes to lift ban on offshore drilling

No political sense except that follow the money will show the reasons why.

by anya109 2008-09-17 07:21AM | 0 recs
Pelosi's ignorance on energy is an embarrassment

Just weeks ago on MTP, the Speaker attempted to justify her investment (+$100-150K) in the "Pickens Plan" for energy independence. She responded that this plan relied on natural gas, and therefore would enable us to "get away from fossil fuels".

Huh????

Imagine the howls from the left--especially the environmental lobby-- if those words had come out of the mouth of Sarah Palin.

by BJJ Fighter 2008-09-16 09:18PM | 0 recs
I agree with Jerome on this

I also have to ask what the first poster did, do the Republicans steal the Democrats' lunch money too.  The fact that Pelosi caved and had a vote brings up three huge issues in this country.

1) The Democratic caucus is weak.  They bow to Republican will even when they're in the majority.

2) The American electorate are some ignorant sons of b--ches.  The fact that "Drill here, drill now" and "drill, baby, drill" have caught on shows a complete lack of honesty from the Republicans and a complete unwillingness of most Americans to research facts.  I mean a cursory look at what our own government information agencies put out would tell you that drilling will NOT REDUCE GAS PRICES IN THE SHORT TERM and MIGHT reduce them a few cents 15 years from now.  In addition there are significant environmental risks associated with such drilling.  In the end the only ones who benefit from increased drilling are the oil companies.

3) Our press, which is meant to keep the public informed so that our votes count for something has been woefully negligent in their duty over the last 7 years.  This drill baby drill shit highlights their failures again.

I try not to be as pessimistic as Jerome, but I think he's hit the nail on the head with his thoughts on this issue.  The only thing we can do is write and call our senators and hope they have bigger balls than their House counterparts.

by shalca 2008-09-16 09:25PM | 0 recs
Re: I agree with Jerome on this

Which Jerome do you agree with?

This one who this diary or the one who wrote the one quoted at freerepublic?

Small coincidence then that MyDD site founder (and Warner consultant) Jerome Armstrong wrote this yesterday:

The politics have changed, and I don't see the principle that guides Democrats to be unequivocally against offshore drilling for oil at this point. We are stuck on oil for a long time. Congressional Dems should adopt the position, include some safeguards, and alongside billions in funding for finding alternative fuel solutions, make it part of a long-term solution.

And, as a matter of fact, the Democratic bill (which will be blocked or vetoed by Senate Gops or Bush) does contain "funding for long term solutions," which comes right out of the current tax breaks for oil corps.

Some would damn them if they didn't or damn them when they do. Why is a question only they can answer.

by ObamaBiden 2008-09-16 10:11PM | 0 recs
Well. . .

That is definitely a gotcha moment for Jerome.  However, in this case, I don't believe the bill will pass, I do believe the moratorium will expire, and then pressure from an ill-informed electorate may cause a lot of reversing on the alternative fuel side of the equation.

I'm pessimistic about our energy woes.  I don't think John Q. Public pays enough attention to the problem and has too short a memory.  I'm one of those guys that thinks Uncle Sam should tax the crap out of gasoline as encouragement to get off of the stuff.  So I agree with the Jerome we have today, as opposed to the one quoted in freerepublic.

I also think that Education should clearly be this nation's number one priority, because reason is sorely lacking in our voting population.

by shalca 2008-09-16 10:37PM | 0 recs
Re: Well. . .

Yes the moratorium will expire. And then nothing will continue to happen.

And frankly (perhaps too much so), it's pretty naive for anyone to expect anything to get done to solve our energy future six weeks before this election.

Next year we should  expect and even demand President Obama and an overwhelmingly Democratic Congress to do it right. But right now everything is political posturing.

by ObamaBiden 2008-09-16 10:58PM | 0 recs
Re: Well. . .

No it is not. I hold the same exact position, as any reader will know.

Congressional Dems should adopt the position, include some safeguards, and alongside billions in funding for finding alternative fuel solutions, make it part of a long-term solution.

by Jerome Armstrong 2008-09-17 07:32AM | 0 recs
wait...

21 months later and people are still shocked that a party with a 1 seat majority in the senate where 3/5 majorities are needed to get stuff done is, well, unable to get stuff done?

Seeing as they're so gung ho about it, someone tell me where we were going to get 10 gopers to sign off on continuing the ban in the first place.

by jaylou 2008-09-16 09:53PM | 0 recs
Re: wait...

What a crock!  How come the Dems can't do anything at all with that but the Repubs, in the minority, get all they want? Pelosi and Reid are total failures.

by anya109 2008-09-17 07:24AM | 0 recs
Re: House votes to lift ban on offshore drilling

This is all just an election year ritual which is going nowhere.

The GrandOilParty tried to make and issue out of drilling. So Democrats called their bluff and passed a bill which is loaded with things Democrats want (but barely with what Rethugs say they want), which the thugs will block anyway because it would negate their drilling "issue," and which Bushevik would veto anyway because it negates tax giveaways to his oil patrons.

And the oil companies don't need or want to drill offshore anyway!

So I'm sitting this one out. I'll let others hop up and down and howl at the moon over something which isn't even going to happen in the end.

Wake me when we're ready to get back to our real purpose of throwing McBush and the GOP down a well.

by ObamaBiden 2008-09-16 09:58PM | 0 recs
Does anyone on MyDD even play World of Warcraft?

Why would someone spam this place with that crap?

by shalca 2008-09-16 10:38PM | 0 recs
Because nobody will stop it.

by Dumbo 2008-09-16 10:52PM | 0 recs
Does anyone on MyDD even play World of Warcraft?

Everybody plays World of Warcraft, even al-Qaeda.

by Steve M 2008-09-17 05:02AM | 0 recs
Re: Does anyone on MyDD even play World of Warcraf

LOL, who would form a raid in Stonetalon Mountains?

oops, just gave away my nerdiness.  I used to play , A LOT.  But I confronted my problem and have moved on to being obsessive about my country's political future.  I have to admit, worrying about whether or not I made enough flasks for the Serpentshrine Cavern raid was a lot less stressful than this.

by shalca 2008-09-17 11:45PM | 0 recs
What is the bill number?

Is there a link to the vote roll call?

by Dumbo 2008-09-16 10:52PM | 0 recs
Re: House votes to lift ban on offshore drilling

This is fine as long as we can end the oil company tax subsidies and continue (hopefully expand) subsidies for alternatives.

Let's hope the Senate version does more to jump start alternatives.  The Reps will be unable to vote against it since they made such a fuss.  Obama can vote for it and count all the good things and th fact that he was willing to compromise and "work across the isle".

Time to end this as a campaign issue for McPalin.  They've been getting waaay too much mileage out of this with the very same low information/indpendents we need.

I doubt a lot of drilling will result anyway, since the states don't want it and gas is falling fast.

by nintendofanboy 2008-09-17 03:03AM | 0 recs
Re: House votes to lift ban on offshore drilling

Under United States territory we have oil reserves as large as the Saudis.  If we don't drill for it, realistically, how are we going to fuel the transportation infrastructure in this country? We have all of these internal combustion engines which not only move people, but also move things like food.  

Electric cars are no option.  Even if everyone could afford them (and so many working class folks can't afford to go out and buy NEW cars)they are no solution. Taking power from the electrical grid for tansportation will require building numerous coal-fired (dirty--ugh) plants to produce the energy.  Then it has to be wheeled on the lines over long distances.  It is actually much cleaner, more economical and more efficient to use petro fuels as we do now. Ethanol is not a solution, just look what it has done to the cost of food commodities.

Mass transit is not practical in the west and midwest as the distances are too large and the population too small.

We need to find alternatives, but realistically it will take 20 years or more to get them on line on any type of scale.  Without more drilling how do we bridge the gap?  This is going to effect a lot of our good working class Democrats too.  I have not seen a good alternative.  Can someone help me on this?

by Cal in California 2008-09-17 05:41AM | 0 recs
Re: House votes to lift ban on offshore drilling

Yep, one alternative, can be used in cars as well.  Also, we have the know how for electric cars.  So, it comes down to the political will - extremely lacking in the Democratic Party.

by anya109 2008-09-17 07:26AM | 0 recs
The hand-wringing makes no sense

President Bush was never going to sign any energy bill passed by a Democratic congress. The moratorium was going to lapse and there was nothing the Democrats could do about it. For once, Pelosi's incompetence is not to blame. This does not mean there will now be drilling because the moratorium is about the expire. The leasing process takes years! There is a permitting process for both the exploratory and drilling phases. Environmental impact reports must be done before any lease is granted. No valid lease will ever be awarded by George Bush's Interior Department.  

The House bill itself maintains a 100 mile buffer zone unless waived by the states in which case the buffer is 50-miles. This is tantamount to no drilling. It will never happen. In the first place the viable pools of oil are located within 50-miles of the shore (and the states believed to have the most recoverable reserves off-shore are Florida, California, North Carolina and Virginia. These states will never, ever allow off-shore drilling. Bill Nelson has already said Gulf oil drilling would happen over his dead body. Martinez wants to keep rigs at least 125-miles off-shore. Virginia's split legislature twice killed a bill endorsing off-shore drilling as recently as June, even if Jim Webb has supported it. North Carolina's governor and the legislature have made it clear they would not permit drilling.

There are many special interest groups opposed to off-shore drilling in these states, and it ain't just environmentalists. The fishing industry, real estate business, wealthy homeowners, and the multi-billion dollar tourism industry is opposed to this, including a lot of Republicans in these states. It ain't gonna happen. Pointing to polls that show an ill-informed public willing to tolerate off-shore drilling isn't very convincing either. Wait until tourism operators and real estate interests start flooding the airwaves with commercials showing the environmental damage done to the coastlines in those states. The oil industry has been running bullshit ads promoting off-shore drilling, it's been a one-way conversation. Like on issues such as Iraq, the public is woefully uninformed about the reality, and part of that is due to the Democrats not spelling it out.

Any oil extracted from these new leases wouldn't make it to market for 10-15 years, so it effects neither supply, or price in the short, or long-term. We consume about 21 million barrels a day, of that we produce about a fourth of it ourselves, in a decade that number, absent alternative fuels and high efficiency vehicles, will be substantially higher, but even at today's pace of consumption, all the oil thought to be hiding off-shore would only give the U.S. a two-month supply of oil. This is a farce really. More kabuki for the blithering fools wearing "drill baby, drill" t-shirts at Republican campaign functions. I'm incredulous how any self-respecting progressive could support drilling, especially under the guise that it's some how supposed to help the "working man", whose interests we should be championing instead of the tree huggers. If you want to help the working man with transportation costs, repeal the damn Enron loophole, mandate higher fuel efficiency standards, pour real money into alternatives, push public transit and high speed rail. Changing your filters, or inflating your tires would save far more petro than drilling could ever produce. By the time these wells come on line and achieve peak production, our auto fleet will be almost exclusively high mileage vehicles because regardless of drilling, energy costs are going to continue to skyrocket, real demand will push gas past the $4 mark and it'll keep on going, and no one is going to be able to afford to drive without quantum leaps in technology. It won't be government imposed fuel efficiency standards, it'll be consumer necessity that brings about a revolution at this point.

by Robert Drake 2008-09-18 12:11AM | 0 recs

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