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Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Senate Energy Committee Vote To Allow New Gulf Drilling

There is anywhere from 18-95 BILLION Barrels of oil underneath our continental shelf. There is almost 7 TRILLION Barrels of Oil in the shale under the Rocky Mountains (to be fair, with present technology we can only get to around 800 billion barrels of it.  Today America Consumes about 20 Million Barrels/day approximately 7.5 million of which we get domestically. My math tells me, using the minimum numbers (18+800 Billion- to 95 to 7,000) divided by 20 million, divided by 365 days, the US has an import free Oil reserve of 112 -972 YEARS.

Drilling would be a true stimulus plan, adding jobs and and keeping the price of Oil from rising. In the current economic gloom, there is no reason to revert back to the destructive policies that gave us $4-per-gallon gasoline and record-high heating bills. In fact, three-fourths of Americans want more drilling, not less. They want out of this recession. They don't want it prolonged with anti-energy, anti-job, anti-revenue policies imposed on us by the radical left agenda of President Obama.

At least there are some people in the Senate who understand. Today the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee voted to open up the eastern Gulf of Mexico to Oil and Gas drilling.It is estimated that the area contains trillions of cubic feet of natural gas and  billions of barrels of oil. The question is how far will the legislation go?
Senate panel opens up more Gulf areas to drilling
By Jim Snyder
A Senate panel voted on Tuesday to open up a huge new swath of the Gulf of Mexico to oil and gas drilling at a moment Democratic leaders are working to curb greenhouse gas emissions from tailpipes and other sources.

Supporters heralded the move by the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee to open up the eastern Gulf that is now blocked to developers as a step toward a comprehensive plan that embraces all forms of energy and would reduce dependence on foreign oil.

 But critics saw the step as backwards, given the emphasis in Congress on solving climate change and carbon dioxide emissions caused by the burning of fossil fuels like oil and natural gas.

“You are moving in the wrong direction by open up a vast new area for oil and gas drilling at a time when you want the focus to be on renewables and conservation and all sorts of other things,” said Michael Gravitz, an oceans expert at Environment America.

“It’s not like last summer. You don’t have people chanting ‘drill, baby, drill’ in the streets or at political conventions.”

But oil costs have been increasing. On Tuesday, per barrel prices closed at around $70. That’s well above the $32 per barrel that prices had sunk to last December but well short of the record $147 per barrel price hit last summer when Republicans on Capitol Hill successfully pushed to end drilling moratoria that had prevented access to most areas offshore.

The Senate committee adopted the amendment offered by Sen. Byron Dorgan of North Dakota, who even as a Democrat has promoted opening more areas of the outer continental shelf to oil and gas production. Eight Democrats including Dorgan and Committee Chairman Jeff Bingaman (D-N.M.) voted yes on the amendment. Five Republicans voted no.

The bill does not give states a share in the drilling royalty payments, which some Republicans on the panel had sought.

The vote was immediately criticized by Sen. Bill Nelson (D-Fla.), who threatened to filibuster the final energy bill once it emerges on the Senate floor after Bingaman’s committee completes its work.

In a statement, Nelson noted the military uses a portion of the eastern Gulf for training purposes.

“Give that up to the oil boys and you sacrifice national security,” Nelson said. “Meanwhile, gas prices fluctuate wildly because speculators, who behave like condo-flippers, are allowed to buy and resell oil contracts.”

Oil and gas producers will be able to drill within 45 miles of the shoreline. The previous demarcation point came 125 miles from the panhandle coastline and roughly 230 miles from the Tampa area.

Companies will also have access to Destin Dome, an area particularly attractive to companies. Nelson’s office said that cut put drilling just 10 miles from the coast.

Gen. P.X. Kelley of Securing America’s Future Energy said the vote “represents a major step in the effort to enhance our nation’s energy security.”

Barry Russell, president and CEO of the Independent Petroleum Association of America, said opening up the eastern Gulf to drilling will create “thousands of additional jobs, billions in new revenues, and a significant lessening of our dangerous dependence on foreign energy.”

He said the area likely contains trillions of cubic feet of natural gas and potentially billions of barrels of oil.