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Pelosi & Democrats Fiddle While Our Oil Remains Undrilled

By The Neville Awards
Posted July 17, 2008

With a stroke of his pen in June President Bush lifted the Federal ban on off-shore drilling for oil.

This had three immediate effects.

1) Oil, which peaked at $147 a barrel immediately went into free fall temporarily settling at $122 a barrel.

2) The price of a gallon of gas, which peaked at $1.57, coupled with a 30% decrease in driving, has been shaved by almost 40 cents a gallon and continues to decrease.

3) The announcement drew the Democrats "out of the shadows" and labeled them and the environmental greenies as the major impediments to energy self-sufficiency.

Obviously supply and demand and just the threat of an increase in domestic drilling are having an effect...what a surprise.

Well you would think that Bush had called the Democrats appeasers judging by their reaction. Oh yeah...he did call them appeasers.

The Dems went ballistic. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) said:

"This call for drilling in areas that are protected is a hoax, it's an absolute hoax on the part of the Republicans and this administration. It's a decoy to punt your attention away from the fact that their policies have produced $4-a-gallon gasoline. We cannot drill our way out of this. Opening the wildlife refuge in Alaska would reduce U.S. gasoline prices by one penny per gallon."

After promising fairness and open debate, Pelosi has resorted to hard-nosed parliamentary devices that effectively bar any chance for Republicans to offer policy alternatives.

"I'm trying to save the planet; I'm trying to save the planet," she says implying that we mere mortals just don't get it. "I will not have this debate trivialized by their excuse for their failed policy."

Neville Update: August 1, 2008-Pelosi shuts down House debate on gas prices

Using the strong arm tactic of a union boss Pelosi ended the energy debate by cutting the mikes, the lights and declared this session of the House adjourned. Republicans, however refused to leave and photographed and taped the preceedings on their cell phones.

Bashing Pelosi Rep. Thaddeus McCotter (R-Mich.) said, "This is the people's House. This is not Pelosi's politiburo."

Democratic aides were furious at the GOP stunt, and reporters were kicked out of the Speaker's Lobby, the space next to the House floor where they normally interview lawmakers.

"You're not covering this, are you?" thundered one senior Democratic aide. God forbid the Dems be seen as they really are. Another called the Republicans "morons" for staying on the floor

From GOP House leader John Boehner's office:

In a dramatic revolt against House Speaker Nancy Pelosi's (D-CA) refusal to allow Congress to vote on legislation to increase American-made energy and lower gas prices, House Republicans today refused to leave the House floor after Speaker Pelosi adjourned the House for the five-week August break, staying in the chamber to speak directly to Americans watching the historic event unfold above the floor in the House gallery. Even after lights, cameras, and microphones in the chamber were turned off, House Republicans were undeterred, continuing to make speech after speech demanding that Speaker Pelosi listen to the calls of the American people - including those coming from whistling, applauding, and cheering Americans sitting in the gallery - for more environmentally-responsible drilling for oil and gas here at home to reduce the price at the pump. Rep. John Culberson (R-TX) defied the Democratic majority by providing live updates on the protest via Twitter directly from the House floor.

Members participating in the spontaneous uprising included Reps. Roy Blunt, John Boehner, Michael Burgess, John Campbell, Eric Cantor, Shelly Moore Capito, John Carter, Mike Conaway, John Culberson, Charlie Dent, Jeff Fortenberry, Virginia Foxx, Louie Gohmert, Pete Hoekstra, Duncan Hunter, Thaddeus McCotter, Mike Pence, Tom Price, Ted Poe, Adam Putnam, Bill Sali, John Shadegg, John Shimkus, Tim Walberg, and Lynn Westmoreland.

The protest came just minutes after House Republican leaders delivered a letter to Speaker Pelosi demanding that she call the House back into emergency session this month to deal with America's ever-worsening energy crisis.

She and other Democrats blame President George W. Bush's energy policies for the gasoline price spike. Of course when the Dems took control the price of a gallon of gas was about $2.50.

The story continues below

The Democrats kneejerk reaction to a sane energy policy was to trot out the same old tired, warn out, 30 year old non-solutions that included wind, solar, bio-fuels, corn ethanol, renewables, blah, blah, blah. They also called for Bush to release oil from the Strategic Petroleum Reserve, the ultimate band-aid solution.

Democrats also renewed their calls for immediate drilling on nearly 100 million domestic acres already approved for exploration. Slamming the door on expanding oil and gas drilling beyond areas that have already been approved they are renewing their push for energy companies to "use or lose" the lands they already have leased. New proposals include requiring the Bureau of Land Management to speed up the leasing of approved areas; to reconstitute the ban on the export of American oil; and to urge the completion of the Alaskan oil and gas pipelines. Pelosi and Majority Leader Steny Hoyer (D-Md.) also said committee work is being completed on bills to curtail excessive speculation in the oil commodity markets. Democrats would not say when these bills would be ready for floor consideration.

The bottom line is this: because the Democrats are bowing to the religion of Green and Climate Change they are very close to becoming the party of de-industrialization. They are committed to high energy prices as the preferred strategy of getting us out of our cars no matter the cost and no matter who gets financially hurt.

Ultimately this is a losing strategy because we will be using oil for at least the next 50 years and the dillusion of de-industrialization to achieve their wet dream of defeating imaginary climate change is unsustainable.

But there may be a mini-revolt brewing among the so-called Blue Dog Democrats, a coalition of Democrats representing more conservative districts. In both the House and Senate, they have begun meeting informally with Republicans to try to achieve a bipartisan strategy to higher oil prices, and opening up new areas to drilling is part of the mix. Leaders of the Blue Dog coalition are openly pressing for drilling in the Artic National Wildlife Refuge (ANWR) and the Outer Continental Shelf (OCS).

House Republican Leader John Boehner (R-Ohio) took to the floor to criticize Democrats for dodging votes on energy bills, charging that the MoveOn Democrats are blocking or avoiding votes on the opening up of the ANWR and the OCS.

"I think Speaker Pelosi is walking her Blue Dogs and other vulnerable Democrats off a cliff, and they know it," said Mr. Boehner.

Barack Obama, who recently stated that he had no problem with high gas prices, except that they rose too fast, offered this pathetic solution for energy self-sufficiency:

There are things you can do individually, though, to save energy. Making sure your tires are properly inflated - simple thing. But we could save all the oil that they're talking about getting off drilling - if everybody was just inflating their tires? And getting regular tune-ups? You'd actually save just as much!

Michelle Malkin's response to this bit of Obama brilliance:

Er, no it couldn't. The Green River oil shale formation could produce at least 800 billion barrels of oil alone, enough for over 100 years at our current rate of consumption (20 million barrels per day). Would inflating our tires eliminate every single drop of oil we use? Of course not! Nor would it save any significant amount at all. Tire inflation could improve gas mileage by about 3%, which would relate to about 600,000 barrels of oil a day at the most absurdly optimistic extrapolation.

Maybe the Democrats could use a tune-up on energy policy. It looks like they're still stuck in the 1970s, with tired, worn-out points and bad timing. On energy, Obama is your father's 1973 Oldsmobile.

Update: Tune-ups? Most cars today don't require tune-ups for the first 100,000 miles. Some automotive mechanics recommend them every 30,000 miles, but it's hardly the 5,000-mile requirement it used to be twenty-five years ago.

Jim Geraghty has calculated the potential savings, and comes up to 6 million gallons of gasoline a day (not a year as I originally wrote). He's also working off of an assumption of 10% improvement rather than 3%, which seems very high. Has anyone noticed a 10% improvement in their gas mileage by pumping up their tires, ever? On the other hand, we could be pumping millions of barrels of oil a day if Congress would stop blocking domestic oil production.

Update II: Geraghty's calculation comes to about 330,000 barrels of oil a day, but at 3%, it would make it closer to 100,000 barrels of oil a day. That's not much of a dent in 20 million barrels of oil a day, 12 million of which we import. I'd say we'd do much better by drilling and keeping our tires inflated.

And how about this unintended consequence from Liberal energy policies..this from an article by CHRISTOPHER CONKEY in the July 28, 2008 Wall St. Journal.

Funds for Highways Plummet As Drivers Cut Gasoline Use

An unprecedented cutback in driving is slashing the funds available to rebuild the nation's aging highway system and expand mass-transit options, underscoring the economic impact of high gasoline prices. The resulting financial strain is touching off a political battle over government priorities in a new era of expensive oil.

Associated Press:

Before its collapse last year, the Interstate 35W bridge in Minneapolis was part of the one quarter of the nation's bridges that are considered either 'functionally obsolete' or 'structurally deficient.'

The cutback furthers many U.S. policy goals, such as reducing oil consumption and curbing emissions. But, coupled with a rapid shift away from gas-guzzling vehicles, it also means consumers are paying less in federal fuel taxes, which go largely to help finance highway and mass-transit systems. As a result, many such projects may have to be pared down or eliminated.

In many areas, the ragged edges are already showing. About 25% of bridges in the U.S. are either "functionally obsolete" or "structurally deficient," like the Mississippi River bridge that collapsed in Minneapolis last August, killing 13 people.

And finally this bizarre exchange took place on the Senate floor between Sen. Mitch McConnell (R) and Sen. Ken Salazar (D)

Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R): I would ask unanimous consent that the senate proceed to the immediate consideration of a senate bill to address drilling in the outer continental shelf.

Sen. Ken Salazar (D): Mr. President, I object.

MC: I would renew consent for the very same proposed consent agreement with one modification: That the enactment date is triggered with the price of gas reaches $4.50.

KS: I object.

President: The objection is heard.

MC: I would renew my consent agreement with the following modification: That the enactment date is triggered with the price of gas reaches $5.00 a gallon.

P: Is there objection?

KS: Mr. President, observing the right to object and I will object again. It is a phantom solution and therefore I do object.

P: The objection is heard.

MC: What is the definition of an emergency? Maybe it's $7.50 a gallon gasoline. Therefore I renew my consent request with the following modification: That the enactment date which triggers the implementation of the amendment would occur when the price of gasoline reaches $7.50 per gallon.

P: Is there objection?

KS: I object.

MC: So Mr. President, I would renew my request with the modification that the trigger be $10.00 a gallon at the pump.

P: Is there objection?

KS: I object.
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