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Why Americans Can't Get U.S. Oil

Written by Alan Caruba

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alan-newphoto-sm.jpgSeptember 28, 2008

By Alan Caruba

Aside from the fact the Democrats in Congress are trying to fool Americans into believing they are "lifting" the ban on off-shore exploration and drilling for oil, the opposition to our domestic oil companies by both Democrats and radical environmental groups lies at the heart of why America is so dependent on foreign oil.

At last report, Democrats decided to allow the quarter-century ban on drilling for oil off the Atlantic and Pacific coasts to expire. That's not the same as lifting the ban. Moreover, House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer (D-Md) is on record saying that, if the Democrats retain control of Congress, restoring the ban "will be a top priority for discussion next year."

So much for so-called "energy independence."  When Democrats say that, they are talking about wind and solar power, and biofuels, not oil, natural gas, and coal.

I cringe every time I hear the Democrats attack "Big Oil" because, as Michael J. Economides, co-editor of Energy Tribune, points out in the current issue, other than some small companies,  there are just three large U.S. oil companies left; Exxon Mobil, Chevron, and ConocoPhillips. There are three other Western oil companies headquartered outside the U.S.; BP, Shell, and Total. Other than these six, all the others are national or state-controlled.

As Economides points out, "The truth is that even with record profits (but by no means record returns on investment) Big Oil is in a heap of trouble. And as Big Oil goes, so goes America."

Data from the office of Congressman John Shadegg (R-AZ) reveals how Big Green is trying to throttle any hope of Americans benefiting from our own vast oil reserves. In this case, it is 487 leases in the Chukchi Sea Sale 193 in February 2008. Every single one of the leases has been challenged.

Here are the names of those environmental organizations that don't want you to pay less at the pump: The Center for Biological Diversity, the Natural Resources Defense Council, and the Sierra Club. There are others, but these are the leaders in the effort to keep oil reserves off northern Alaska from ever being tapped. These are the groups that challenged the entire 2007-2023 five-year national outer continental shelf leasing program!
 
When the Bureau of Land Management issued leases in New Mexico, Kansas, Oklahoma, and Texas, the Western Environmental Law Center and the Wild Earth Guardians, preemptively, on July 1, 2008, challenged all 78 leases.

It is instructive that, when President Bush began to talk about lifting the ban on offshore drilling, the global price of oil dropped precipitously. As of this writing, it has not begun to rise and, if U.S. oil companies are permitted to explore and drill, the purpose of those leases, it will not only remain at current levels, but it will drop even more.

It is the Democrat Party and radical environmental organizations that stand between the discovery and provision of new oil and natural gas. It is the Democrat Party that is trying to push through a bogus "energy" bill that would put billions in the hands of those involved in "clean energy" projects that would barely provide the electricity America needs now, nor future needs.

The Chukchi Sea is offshore of northern Alaska, one of several seas that border the Arctic Ocean. The potential of oil in the Arctic is such that Russia is making noise about extending its claims in the Chukchi Sea.

If Congress should ratify the Law of the Sea Treaty, the United States would lose its claim to the vast reserves that potentially exist in the Arctic and you don't need three guesses to figure out which political party supports ratification. That would be high on the agenda if it remains in Democrat control and if Sen. Obama were to be elected.

As outrageous as the effort is to stop exploration and extraction of oil offshore of Alaska is, the fact remains that environmental groups devote themselves to stopping Americans from having access to any kind of energy source.

Even with the expiration of the offshore ban, you can be sure environmental groups will challenge every single effort to access our national reserves of oil and natural gas, offshore or on. The now classic example is their opposition to drilling for oil in Alaska's ANWR despite the potential for billions more barrels of oil.

An offshore, floating terminal that would be 20 miles east of Manasquan, New Jersey, has been proposed by Exxon Mobil. Liquid Natural Gas (LNG) tankers would use the terminal to link to the shore with an undersea pipeline. A Calgary-based conglomerate, Excalibur, wants to build an anchorage 15 miles off Asbury Park for a comparable pipeline.

The two projects will be officially proposed to the U.S. Maritime Administration and Coast Guard next year. An environmental group calling itself Clean Ocean Action has mobilized to insure that neither project comes to fruition.

The United States currently has only two offshore LNG facilities, one off Boston, and the other is116 miles off the coast of Louisiana. During hurricane season, the latter is subject to being shut down.

Instead, environmentalists in New Jersey, while opposing LNG terminals, love the idea of putting hundreds of wind turbines offshore despite the fact that this "clean energy" source is unreliable, would require back-up from onshore traditional plants generating electricity, and could only be built because they would be heavily subsidized with taxpayer and energy consumer dollars.

In the comic strip "Pogo", the main character uttered the now-famous line, "We have met the enemy and they are us." We have met the enemy and they are the environmental groups that are determined to keep the citizens of the United States from having access to affordable energy, no matter what or who produces it.

Alan Caruba writes a weekly column posted on the Internet site of The National Anxiety Center, www.anxietycenter.com. He blogs daily at http://factsnotfantasy.blogspot.com.

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