Drilling for cover: Pelosi & Co.'s phony bill
Democrats in the U.S. House want you to think that they support expanded drilling for oil and natural gas. They don't. Their vote on Tuesday proved it.
New Hampshire Reps. Carol Shea-Porter and Paul Hodes voted along with the rest of Speaker Nancy Pelosi's poodle army for what they claim is a comprehensive energy bill that responsibly expands domestic drilling off our coasts. In the Atlantic and Pacific, the bill allows drilling from 100 to 200 miles offshore. It allows drilling from 50 to 100 miles offshore with state approval. The eastern Gulf of Mexico would remain off limits.
Click for Editorials & Op-EdsUnder the bill, all land within 50 miles of shore would remain off limits. Oh, by the way, the Interior Department says that 88 percent of all offshore oil currently blocked by the federal drilling ban is located within 50 miles of shore.
This bill is a total fraud. It gives us access to only 12 percent of the estimated oil reserves we are currently not allowed to access. If Congress takes no action in the next two weeks, guess how much of that oil we could tap? One hundred percent.
The congressional ban on offshore drilling is not a permanent ban. It expires in two weeks! If Congress does nothing, all oil reserves currently closed to exploration will become accessible on Oct. 1. So this bill actually takes from 100 to 12 the percentage of blocked oil reserves we could begin reaching for two weeks from now.
Furthermore, the bill gives the appearance of opening drilling from 50 to 100 miles from shore, but it actually discourages this. The bill requires state approval for drilling within that range, but it does not allow states to share in revenues from oil leases granted there. So states such as California, which faces a huge budget shortfall, have less incentive to give that approval.