Pelosi's Ploy Or Breaking The Back Of High Oil

" The U.S. is awash in oil, so much that it's almost mind-boggling ."

Let's take just that crude that exists in U.S. coastal waters whether off Alaska or California, or in the Gulf, or off the Atlantic Coast. According to recent data from the American Petroleum Institute and U.S. Bureau of Land Management, the U.S. has 86 billion barrels of oil offshore and that's only what we can recover using today's technology. Future technologies will boost that.

This is no small amount. Offshore oil alone could fuel 65 million cars for 47 years.

Energy Policy: After calling plans to drill for more oil a "hoax," Speaker Nancy Pelosi now says she'll allow a vote on drilling for more crude to reach the floor of the House. We'll believe it when we see it.

If Pelosi & Co. try instead to come up with a phony, watered-down drilling bill just to get the voters off their back, her fellow Democrats would be wise to remove her from the speakership or face the justifiable wrath of voters in November.
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Breaking The Back Of High Oil

It's not that we think Pelosi won't let something with the word "drilling" in it come up for a vote. It's just that it's likely to be stuck in one of those big omnibus bills with all sorts of pork-barrel spending, new taxes, restrictions on oil use, new economy-damaging limits on global warming gases or plans to tap the Strategic Petroleum Reserve to lower prices a silly idea most sensible centrist Democrats are walking away from.

"They have this thing that says drill offshore in the protected areas," she told CNN's Larry King Live.

"Now she says " "We can do that. We can have a vote on that."

Why Pelosi's sudden change of heart?

It isn't likely she was struck by a bolt of common sense. Too many of her stances in the past argue against that. Rather, it's likely that when she closed Congress for its August recess, House members went home and got an earful.

They discovered their constituents in fact want more oil a Rasmussen Poll this week said 64% now support offshore drilling and are angry Congress has done nothing.

Moreover, many Democrats likely heard that Pelosi isn't very popular and having her as the point person for the Democrats' energy policies is a big political mistake. No surprise here.

Under her leadership, Congress' approval rating has sunk to all-time lows.


House Republicans, too, should beware of Pelosi's ploy. They'll be offered a chance to show constituents they "voted for" more oil drilling, even if it's an awful bill. They shouldn't take the bait. Instead, they need to make the case that the U.S. must exploit all of its energy resources including its vast oil reserves.

Signs that Congress might do just that, coupled with President Bush's renewed requests to open oil-rich federal lands to more exploration and production, have already kicked the legs out from under oil speculation.

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We've said it many times, but it bears repeating: The U.S. is awash in oil, so much that it's almost mind-boggling. The idea we're somehow energy-deficient is simply false a lie, if you will.

Let's take just that crude that exists in U.S. coastal waters whether off Alaska or California, or in the Gulf, or off the Atlantic Coast. According to recent data from the American Petroleum Institute and U.S. Bureau of Land Management, the U.S. has 86 billion barrels of oil offshore and that's only what we can recover using today's technology. Future technologies will boost that.


Go onshore, and the bonanza gets even bigger. Some 11.7 billion barrels of conventional oil are available in the Lower 48, and a recent U.S. government report has identified another 45 billion in Alaska and the Arctic region. Which explains why the U.S. this week dispatched an exploration vessel to begin to stake our claim.

Government estimates say there could be as many as two trillion barrels of oil locked in shale-rock formations in Colorado, Wyoming and Utah. Of that, at least 800 billion barrels is recoverable using today's known technology and at prices below what we're now paying. That's three times the oil reserves of today's No. 1 oil country, Saudi Arabia.

In short, America is an oil-rich nation. Our economy the world's economy depends on oil for growth. And it will depend on oil and coal at least through the middle part of this century, most estimates show.

Of course, things seem to be improving right now, with prices falling and demand declining. Indeed, U.S. oil demand in the first half plunged 800,000 barrels a day from last year, the biggest drop in 26 years, the Energy Information Administration reported Tuesday.

Pelosi and other anti-energy Democrats will use this to try to argue there's no need to drill for more. They're wrong.

The reason prices are falling is because people think we'll produce more oil in the future. We need to actually provide more crude to the markets, so we'll have reasonably priced energy available with which to grow our economy and to save some of the $700 billion we send to foreigners each year to pay our oil bill.

Yet, Pelosi earlier this month let Congress out for its August recess without voting on an energy bill. This outraged some Republicans, who stayed behind to stage a protest in the House chamber.

Initially ignored by the media and derided as a stunt, the energy revolt is starting to attract crowds of average Americans who are increasingly fed up with this do-nothing Congress' inability to exercise its basic duties.

Democrats would do well to note: People are angry, and getting angrier all the time. For Pelosi to stand in the way of drilling is unconscionable, imposing a huge deadweight tax on our economy.

We'll be watching carefully what she lets the House vote on in the way of a drilling bill. After all, she promised before July 30, to be exact to allow a vote. Her office later retracted that, implying she either doesn't know where she stands on energy, is simply not telling the truth, or some combination of both.

Even so, Pelosi and the Democrats may be forced to hold a vote. This September, the moratorium on offshore drilling is set to expire, and Congress must act to keep it in place.

We hope Republicans and sensible Democrats will get together and force Pelosi and Congress' energy extremists to abandon our foolish ban on drilling offshore.

If Pelosi & Co. try instead to come up with a phony, watered-down drilling bill just to get the voters off their back, her fellow Democrats would be wise to remove her from the speakership or face the justifiable wrath of voters in November.

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