Saxby’s Oil Scheme

September 16, 2008 9:46 am

by Erick · 17 comments

When last Saxby Chambliss and Johnny Isakson decided on a legislative compromise, it was the immigration compromise. Now they are compromising on energy legislation. But they are, both of them, obfuscating the facts about the plan. With the legislation now written, here are the facts.

If Saxby Chambliss and Johnny Isakson have their way, most of the outer continental shelf (“OCS”) would be permanently off the table for expanded energy exploration. Right now, the ban on OCS exploration must be renewed annually.

10 billion barrels of oil and 18 trillion cubic feet of natural gas would be permanently untouchable off the Pacific Coast.

10 billion barrels of oil and 8 trillion cubic feet of natural gas would be permanently untouchable in ANWR.

2 billion barrels of oil and 18 trillion cubic feet of natural gas would be permanently untouchable in the Atlantic.

That is 29 years worth of imports from the Persian Gulf made permanently untouchable and inaccessible in the United States thanks to Saxby Chambliss and Johnny Isakson. The plan would also increase taxes on energy companies by $30 billion. Those tax increases would be passed on to consumers in the form of even higher prices.

The plan would also increase the fees paid by oil companies for oil extracted from the Gulf of Mexico. Again, those fee increases would be passed on to consumers.

Saxby and Johnny say they want to lower the costs of fuel for consumers and decrease our dependence on foreign oil. Their plan does exactly the opposite.

travis fain September 16, 2008 at 9:51 am

I thought the whole issue was allowing exploration. So how do you know how much oil and natural gas is down there?

Erick Erickson: Pundit, blogger, attorney, consultant, councilman, petro-geologist.

Icarus the Chickensh-t September 16, 2008 at 9:55 am

I think we need to change the goal away from “lower the cost of fuel for consumers” and focus squarely on energy independence. Independence may cost more at the pump, but less to the country in the long run.

That said, I think the compromise was a noble effort, and the best deal that could be done at the time it was struck. I think the voting public is better educated on the issue at this point, and that this isn’t a good compromise.

It’s time to start over.

Rogue109 September 16, 2008 at 10:00 am

I thought the whole issue was allowing exploration. So how do you know how much oil and natural gas is down there?

There are several ways, including the analysis of seismic data.

That you are a reporter and didn’t bother to do a little research before asking such a question is rather disappointing.

Buzz Brockway September 16, 2008 at 10:05 am

I think this plan it still cutting off our nose despite our face.

Far too much of our oil production is sitting in the Gulf, subject to damage by hurricanes. We need to diversify our production capabilities. If we had done so, it might have helped keep gas prices from spiking this week and kept supply chains flowing.

Doug Deal September 16, 2008 at 10:17 am

I think that is “to spite our face”, buzz.

Anyway, narrowing the sources of energy will only decrease our options. The government needs to stay out of the mix and we will be better off.

Icarus, it is absolutely shocking that you back yet another one of liberal Johhny’s schemes. Shocking, I say.

Icarus the Chickensh-t September 16, 2008 at 10:23 am

Johnny has the 6th most conservative voting record in the Senate. Saxby is still in the top 10 as well.

I never claim to be ideologically pure. I’m a pragmatist at heart, and believe you get the best solution you can, rather than scream from the corners with positions that will never get the votes.

Doug Deal September 16, 2008 at 10:27 am

Icky t. CS

For someone with a “conservative” voting record, he certainly comes up with some big government doozies. I put 0 faith in those voting record assessments as they very rarely use criteria that I find important.

What is more important is their philosophy about the roll of government, and Liberal Johnny believes that it is the place of the all powerful Federal Government to give money to people to buy homes and prevent the exploration of new sources of oil.

Has he ever proposed anything that keeps the government out of our lives?

Icarus the Chickensh-t September 16, 2008 at 10:55 am

Again, Doug, if you want to put bills in a vacuum and pretend that the “cost” is the only factor to consider, and not the opportunity cost of doing nothing, then you can stay in ideological purity land and throw stones.

As I’ve recounted before, I heard Isakson speak on the real estate crisis over a year ago, and his hope and prayer was that the government would “stay out of the way”, and let the markets correct. It wasn’t until the full scope of the problem started to reveal itself that he proposed tax incentives to help remove the supply glut that is forcing prices down and thus contributing to a new wave of forclosures.

The cost of his proposal was $14 Billion. The U.S. economy wrote off $800 Billion yesterday alone. And I might mention that his $14 Billion was actually targeted at the problem much better than the $160 Billion tax rebate that did virtually nothing.

To answer your last question, yes.

Icarus the Chickensh-t September 16, 2008 at 11:38 am

To expand on that answer, Isakson has introduced legislation called the Tax Code Termination Act (S.747) that would sunset the entire tax code on Dec 31st, 2010, and form a commission to present options for replacement of that code.

Erick September 16, 2008 at 11:44 am

Travis, the estimates are government estimates. I’ll play with the same data Saxby has.

Doug Deal September 16, 2008 at 12:22 pm

Icarus,

Perhaps he should focus on issues such as S747, instead of trying to find ways to pick winners and losers in the real estate debacle. It is the ethical problems in his industry that casued most of the probelms (in conjuction with the failures in the finance segment).

Real estate brokers and politicians should thank used car salesmen for keeping their professions out of the bottom slot in the respectability rankings.

Icarus the Chickensh-t September 16, 2008 at 12:50 pm

O.K. Doug, one more try at this.

When the issue was just a real estate slump, Isakson was more than willing to let the market pick the winners and losers.

When it became apparent that there was enough of an imbalance between supply/demand that there was a threat to the broad economy (commerical banking, a huge decline in aggregate household wealth, and trillions of dollars in mortgages backed by the fed at risk), he proposed a targeted tax incentive that would have reduced that supply in such a way that would have limited some of the price declines, and thus eased some of the pain being felt now by people who are paying their mortgages but can’t sell their house because they owe more than it’s worth.

It wasn’t aimed at either his friends in the RE industry (they’re still going to have a bad year), homebuilders (they don’t have interest in forclosed properties anymore) or sub-prime lenders (Wall Street already took care of them, and now they’ve about wiped out 1/2 of Wall St).

The expense was less than 10% of the bailout that most members of both parties patted themselves on the back for passing, but did nothing to fix the problem.

In short, Trillions of government (our) money was already on the hook, and Isakson proposed $14 Billion to try to protect it. I’ll take the cost benefit on that one any day.

RuralDem September 16, 2008 at 1:20 pm

So, you’ve posted all of the stuff the legislation will block, so why not post what it will open up?

Might just be me but it’d be a lot better to see a presentation of both sides.

I might not be a fan of Saxby or Isakson, but its a rarity to see them think outside of the party line, so there has to be some reason they are doing it.

How many barrels of oil and cubic feet of natural gas will be opened or whatever if the legislation is passed?

travis fain September 16, 2008 at 1:55 pm

Rogue: I find the best research is often just asking the guy who gives you numbers where he got them.

If Erick is out there analyzing seismic data, I’m going to be very, very impressed.

There’s nothing that guy can’t do.

Erick – thanks for the response.

Three Jack September 16, 2008 at 3:37 pm

we’ve wasted ten years w/o a plan after clinton stopped the gop in the 90’s. what’s another 4 months?

saxby and johnny should both be ashamed, again. drop out of the little gang now and let’s see what happens when governor palin is put in charge of energy independence.

Three Jack September 16, 2008 at 4:35 pm

oops, i meant to say vice president palin.

Bill Simon September 16, 2008 at 4:58 pm

ICS said:”Independence may cost more at the pump, but less to the country in the long run.”

Icaroo—-flash news for you…we ain’t Japan. We don’t think about the “long run” in this here country. If we wanted to think about the “long run” we would opt to elect MORE Georgia Tech grads who know how to think more about the future rather than only concentrating on the counting of days between football games…

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