House Passes Bill To Increase Offshore Drilling

Yes, we’re all well aware that anything that passes the House right now is not likely to pass the Senate.  However, with control of the White House and Senate in play, things that pass in the runup to the election may well be a preview of what we could expect if Republicans resume control of D.C. (though realistically, items will often have to have some edges smoothed off of them to get 60 cloture votes in the Senate).

Congressman Westmoreland sent over a press release touting the measure, and it’s below the fold.  For there to be political traction behind the idea, it must be sold as the real “jobs” plan.  Look at North Dakota and the black gold rush that is underway there.  Market minimum wage is $15 per hour in many places and folks are sleeping in their trucks at Wal Mart parking lots because there isn’t sufficient housing available to house the workers that have descended on the oil producing areas.

This could be replicated at many places which would service rigs and crews that work offshore.

The area of expansion is the mid-Atlantic Region, down to South Carolina.  Georgia and Florida, as well as California, should be added to this mix. *(Clarification, Congressman Westmoreland’s office was kind enough to send over a map, now attached.  Georgia is technically currently open to offshore drilling, but there are no lease sales currently planned to begin exploration.)

Passing this bill would increase our economic and national security.  We would close a substantial portion of our countries trade deficit.  We would no longer be giving hundreds of billion dollars a year to countries that want to do us harm.  Instead, that money would stay home, and be reinvested here, by Ameriacans working for Americans.

I remain a fan of alternative energy, but we still need oil.  We need to use the oil we have at home rather than continuing to fund other economies at our expense.

House Passes Bill to Expand Offshore Drilling, Create Jobs

WASHINGTON, D.C. – This week, the House passed H.R. 6082, the Congressional Replacement of President Obama’s Energy-Restricting and Job-Limiting Offshore Drilling Plan.  The legislation would open additional areas for oil and gas development, including the waters off the South Carolina, mid-Atlantic, Alaska, and California shores.  Congressman Westmoreland supported the legislation.

“H.R. 6082 will increase American-made energy production, help lower the price of a gallon of gas, and create jobs,” stated Westmoreland.  “It’s a win-win-win bill.  And it had support on both sides of the aisle.  On top of all of that, it’s expected to bring in about $600 million in revenues.  This is a great bill that the states want and that we need to get passed through the Senate and have the president sign it into law.”

The bill is in response to President Obama’s proposed five-year offshore leasing plan that he is required to submit to Congress.  The president’s plan closes 85 percent of the country’s offshore energy production and keeps new unexplored areas closed.  In fact, the nonpartisan Congressional Research Service (CRS) reports the 15 lease sales the president’s plan represents is the lowest number of lease sales ever offered since this process began in 1980 under the Outer Continental Shelf Leasing Act.

“Right now, gas prices and unemployment are high,” stated Westmoreland.  “So we need an energy strategy that increases oil and gas production and creates jobs.  The president’s plan does just the opposite.  It closes offshore drilling areas that were open under previous administrations and bars exploration on new areas.  It’s a joke.  Especially after he told the country in his State of the Union address earlier this year that he supports an all-of-the-above energy strategy.  Well, actions speak louder than words Mr. President.  The House has now passed an energy bill that will truly work towards making this country energy independent.”

The president submitted his plan on June 28th.  The legislation passed with bipartisan support, but it is unlikely Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid will allow it to be brought to the floor for an up-or-down vote.  However, Congressman Westmoreland strongly encourages him to do so.

21 comments

  1. Max Power says:

    I’ve got sad news for you, in most of those places there’s no or very little oil. There’s a reason why most of the drilling in the Gulf in concentrated in an area where a great inland sea drained millions of years ago.

  2. oompaloompa says:

    I will admit, this was probably more important than you driving to the 912 for breakfast.

    Interesting. And frightening. And interesting. I wonder how far off-shore.

    I see an Atlantic Co-Op group in my future.

  3. SallyForth says:

    By damn, not on Georgia’s coast!! I’ve been along the Florida panhandle and it makes me sick to see those big-a** oil drills out on the horizon of what used to be a beautiful ocean. Tybee, St. Simons, Jekyll defiled like that?? Hell NO! And what about a Deepwater Horizon of our very own?

    Where the heck was Georgia’s Congressional Delegation on this vote? Aren’t they elected to look out for this state’s best interest?? Hrumph!! :-\

    • Lea Thrace says:

      But if we could just drill off of the delicate coast then we will all be millionaires and be oil independent and the terrorists will lose…

    • seenbetrdayz says:

      I hear what you’re saying, but on the bright side, if offshore drilling makes enough people not want to visit, so that we don’t have to spend a whole day wading through millions of vehicles on a two-lane highway just to get to the island, I say go for it.

    • Calypso says:

      “And what about a Deepwater Horizon of our very own?”

      Well, maybe, if you ask nicely.

    • SallyForth says:

      Gee, thanks guys for trying to cheer me up. I’m smiling, but all I can think of is Hell NO!

      • SallyForth says:

        We presently have more than adequate oil production and reserves to fuel all those things for a long time to come. During that time, we need to be expanding existing and developing new alternative energy sources. Nothing lasts forever; what’s the plan when fossil fuel is gone?

        Reality is that Mother Nature produced a finite amount of fossil fuel, and we should not just keep barreling along (no pun intended) as if the supply is endless. Besides, wouldn’t it be nice to retain as much as we can, so that future generations will even know what oil is, be able to make choices and maybe even use some too?

        Exon in Alaska and BP in the Gulf have proven on gigantic scale that private industry has NO business being given carte blanch to our nation’s natural resources. They are too haphazard, only interested in what they can make off of taxpayer property rights – and then hit us for millions more to pay for national emergencies they created. And this doesn’t even go into the highway robbery taking place at the gas pumps — selling OUR oil products back to us!

        The oil industry has proven itself irresponsible. We, the American people, should demand our government take back control of all our oil deposits and put public servants in charge of any drilling deemed necessary, pull our own oil out of the earth, and sell it wholesale to Big Oil (at the going per barrel market price) for them to refine and produce consumer products and fuel. Instead, they are getting us coming and going! They should not get to abuse our natural resources, take our fossil fuels for free, creating disaster as they go, then make us individually pay for the fuels and accept irreversible damage they do to our national treasures.

        But beyond the big picture and preparation for the future, as a native Georgian my gut reaction to this asinine vote is “Not in my backyard!” Anyone who has ever seen oil rigs and the production process that yields gasoline knows what an ugly, nasty mess it is – and that’s if there are no slip-ups (oops – no pun intended here either), no slack penny-pinching on equipment in order to increase the profit margin, such as happened in the Gulf of Mexico.

        I’ll only go into this most recent huge oil industry disaster: The 2010 BP “oil spill” was totally caused by corporate slime not repairing or replacing the rig’s blowout preventer, a fail-safe device (made by – drum roll – Halliburton Corporation!) that had a hydraulic leak and a failed battery, and therefore blew up killing 11 rig workers and permanently injured numerous others, with the rig burning pure oil for about three days before they could get the fire out. The oil plume from the ocean floor spewed over 5 million barrels of oil into the Gulf, spreading hundreds of miles and destroying fish, birds, wetlands, etc. of everything in its way, decimated the Gulf fishing industry and way of life. The oil has now also settled into the ocean floor and sand, destroying deep ocean life as well as the marine food chain that feeds on them. It has created mutated birds and fish. It has also been picked up by the Gulf Stream and is now being carried around the tip of Florida, heading up the Atlantic coastline to you-know-where and points north.

        BP’s corporate managers misread pressure data and gave their approval for actions causing the explosion. Additionally an engineer with BP, the team leader overseeing the project, ignored warnings about weaknesses in cement outside the well which could have prevented the gas from escaping. The corporate focus, along with that of their contractors, was on speed over safety, because the well was behind schedule costing BP $1.5 million a day (and whose fault was that? hmm). Well we can’t have that! Ocean, fish, birds, US coast and towns/cities, people, etc. be damned.

        Risky decisions were made without consideration of the tradeoffs between cost and schedule and risk and safety. An Oil Spill Commission slide outlined 11 decisions that BP and its contractors (Halliburton Co., Transocean Ltd. and MI Swaco) made causing the disaster, at least nine of which were to save time, and the majority were made on shore by BP desk jockeys watching the stock markets.

        Turned out the senior Halliburton manager on site, told the U.S. Coast Guard-Interior Department panel in Houston that he left his post aboard Transocean’s rig to smoke a cigarette on the night of the disaster in the Gulf. While he was away from his monitors, the pressure data showed the well was filling up with explosive natural gas and crude. (Not only did we get screwed by Halliburton with the Iraq fiasco, they were the root of the BP well blow-up on our U.S. shores!) Yet all those oil corporations are thriving and here we have Congress opening up our national checkbook to them even further.

        Joshua, ‘bet you wish you hadn’t got me started on this one! Let me just go back to my simple response – Georgia coast? Hell NO!!

        • John Konop says:

          Sally,

          In life it is all about balance. I realize your frustration with voices like Joshua who just repeat mindless talking points. With that said, it is hard to argue that we do not need jobs,and with the right montering and enforsement the last fiscal would not of happened. I do realize your fears of people like Joshua who think it is their God given right to take a dump on our planet, rather Irronic. But would do you expect from a guy who is for forcing teenage mothers to have babbies

          • SallyForth says:

            Calypso, I worked on a special project related to the Gulf well explosion, did a lot of research. Plus I recently watched a GPB special on the current concerns of people on the GA coast who are watching the progress in the Gulf Stream bringing sludge toward them. That reminded me of the findings on the event details, made me sick about its continuing effects.

            John, thanks for consoling me re folks dumping on our planet. I agree we definitely need jobs and figure we could create a lot of them in developing alternative energy sources. Stopping tax breaks for corporations outsourcing jobs to other countries could make them bring those jobs back to the US. Plus my idea of making the oil industry at least pay our government for the fossil fuels they take from our public lands and waters — we could pay off the US deficit, plus create lots of jobs to rebuild our crumbling infrastructure.

            All this serious thinking has given me a headache, gotta go watch some Olympics and sing “God Save the Queen” with Brit friends.

  4. John Konop says:

    I do think it will create much needed jobs, but will not have a material impact on oil prices. The best way to lower energy prices is through competition against oil companies with other products. Good post Charlie!

    …………The problem is this: While increased oil and gas drilling in the United States may create good-paying jobs, reduce reliance on foreign oil and lower the trade deficit, it will have hardly any impact on gas and oil prices.

    That’s because the amount of extra oil that could be produced from more drilling in this country is tiny compared to what the world consumes.

    Plus, any extra oil the country did produce would likely be quickly offset by a cut in OPEC production…………

    …….According to a 2009 study from the government’s Energy Information Administration, opening up waters that are currently closed to drilling off the East Coast, West Coast and the west coast of Florida would yield an extra 500,000 barrels a day by 2030.
    The world currently consumes 89 million barrels a day, and by then would likely be using over 100 million barrels.

    After OPEC got done adjusting its production to reflect the increased American output, gas prices might drop a whopping 3 cents a gallon, the study said….

    http://money.cnn.com/2011/04/25/news/economy/oil_drilling_gas_prices/index.htm

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