House Subcommittee Rejects Plan to Open U.S. Waters to More Oil Exploration
Wednesday, June 11, 2008
WASHINGTON — A House subcommittee has rejected a Republican-led effort to open up more U.S. coastal waters to oil exploration.
Rep. John Peterson, R-Pa., spearheaded the effort. His proposal would open up U.S. waters between 50 and 200 miles off shore for drilling. The first 50 miles off shore would be left alone.
But the plan failed Wednesday on a 9-6, party-line vote in a House appropriations subcommittee, which was considering the proposal as part of an Interior Department spending package.
With record oil prices and gas prices projected to hover around the $4 mark for the rest of the summer, Republicans have ratcheted up their efforts to open up oil exploration along U.S. coastline. But the long-sought change has so far been unsuccessful.
Most offshore oil production and exploration has been banned since a federal law passed in 1981.
"We are kidding ourselves if we think we can drill our way out of these problems," House Appropriations Committee Chairman David Obey, D-Wis., said during the bill mark-up session.
For his part, Peterson said: "There is no valid reason for Congress to keep the country from energy resources it needs."
But the proposal has faced staunch opposition from environmental groups from states where the shorelines are under consideration for drilling, like Florida.
Democrats are holding their own series of events on Capitol Hill Wednesday to focus attention on global warming and energy independence, but drilling is not on the agenda. House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer, D-Md., said Tuesday ongoing calls for more drilling "is the Johnny One-Note of the Republican Party."
Not surprisingly, the issue has spilled into the ream of presidential politics as well.
Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., criticized Democrats, including fellow Sen. Barack Obama, D-Ill., over recent comments Obama made regarding gas prices.
The comments that McConnell referred to were given during an interview with CNBC. Discussing rising gasoline prices, Obama said: "I think that I would have preferred a gradual adjustment. The fact that this is such a shock to American pocketbooks is not a good thing.
Obama also said that "if we take some steps right now to help people make the adjustment, first of all by putting more money into their pockets, but also by encouraging the market to adapt to these new circumstances more quickly, particularly U.S. automakers, then I think ultimately, we can come out of this stronger and have a more efficient energy policy than we do right now.
McConnell, honing in on Obama's referral to "gradual" price increases, said Obama's remarks are evidence that Obama believes "rising gas prices aren't the problem. The problem, he suggested, is that they've gone up too fast. He said he would prefer a gradual adjustment."
He continued: "Whether it's shutting down domestic exploration in large areas both onshore and offshore, instituting a moratorium on oil shale development, increasing the gas tax, or refusing to pursue coal to liquids, Democrats long ago implemented a 'gradual adjustment' on gas prices that's reflected today in the $4.05 Americans are paying for a gallon of gas."
Thank you Dhimmicrats!!!! Thank You!