Drill now, drill here, pay less
By Bill Steigerwald
Published: Sunday, June 15, 2008
Something else to think about next time you're feeding your Ford Mini-brontosaurus $80 worth of regular gasoline:
According to the federal Minerals Management Service, about 86 billion barrels of oil and 420 trillion cubic feet of natural gas are locked up and untouchable just off our shores.
"Locked up"• By whom• Who could be so stupid• So diabolical• So un-American?
Big Oil• The U.N• Those evil Exxon Republicans who took us to war for oil in Iraq?
Close. It's our cracked-up Congress -- mainly liberal Democrats who are beholden beyond reason to the religious left's most dangerous fundamentalist sect, wacko environmentalism.
For 27 years Democrats and Republicans have used a two-sentence rider in annual Interior Department appropriations bills to outlaw development of the vast oil and gas fields that we know exist within 200 miles of our coasts.
But Rep. John Peterson, a Republican from upstate Pennsylvania whose crusade to fix America's broken energy policy has brought him the interplanetary enmity of environmentalists, has made it his mission to slay that foolish rider.
All Peterson wants to do is get Congress to allow America to do what every other sensible modern country on Earth from Norway to New Zealand has been doing for decades -- open our deep-sea energy reserves to safe, environmentally sensitive development.
Peterson's latest attempt to kill the foolish rider was Wednesday at a subcommittee hearing when he offered an amendment to the Interior Department appropriations bill that would allow oil and gas drilling rigs to operate between 50 and 200 miles offshore -- so that no liberal's tender eyes can ever see them.
Given $140-a-barrel oil, Peterson thought he could win over two Democrats. But the final tally was 9-6 against him on straight party lines, Peterson said after the vote Wednesday from his office in Washington.
Despite his setback, Peterson remains an unabashed cheerleader of the increasingly popular "Drill Now, Drill Here, Pay Less" movement.
Most Democrats cling to shortsighted, economically fallacious arguments against offshore drilling, but Peterson says Canada is solidly on his side.
Canada, which he said thinks we are "crazy for locking up all our good stuff," is mad at us for not tapping our vast natural gas supplies. By not producing enough of our own natural gas, we drive up the North American price.
In fact, he said, for the last eight years the United States has paid the highest price in the world for natural gas -- about $12.50 per million Btu. Canada pays the second-highest price. South America, by the way, pays about $1.50.
Peterson will try again this week to lift the congressional moratorium on offshore drilling when the full 66-member House appropriations committee meets. All he needs is a majority of one -- and since his similar effort last year lost by only eight votes, he has hope.
"Americans are upset. If we can have a public discussion, if the press does its job -- not picking sides, just putting the facts our there -- and if we just have a factual debate, we will produce more energy.
"The American public is approaching 60 percent now in favor of drilling. If they understood this issue, they'd be 80 or 90 percent for drilling."
Only the enviro-radicals would still be opposed, he said. "And they don't want coal and gas. They don't want oil. They don't want nuclear -- and some don't want wind offshore if it's near their home."
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- Samsung introduces free streaming radio service
- Penguins stave off Ducks’ shooting barrage to win in shootout
- Penguins notebook: Maatta leaves lasting impression with Selanne
- Steelers restructure Brown’s contract to become salary cap compliant
- Pirates seek to tap Alvarez’s remaining upside
- Greensburg woman accused of assaulting nurse in Excela Health Westmoreland Hospital
- Trade to Penguins caps frenetic period for winger Stempniak
- Statue of Egypt pharoanic princess found in Luxor
- Keisel might be at end of Steelers career
- Minorities crucial to filling Marcellus shale gas drilling jobs
- Warm weather could lure DIYers to Duquesne Light Home and Garden Show