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Drill here. Drill now. Pay less.

Posted by Richard on June 11, 2008

Democrats claim to be concerned about the high price of gasoline. And it looks like they realize there's a supply problem — after all, they stopped the diversion of crude oil to the Strategic Petroleum Reserve, and they tried to pressure Saudi Arabia into increasing its output.

But those measures were mere posturing. In reality, the Democrats like high prices and short supplies. They want to force us to abandon our cars and shiver in the dark in order to "save the planet."

Since 1994, they've blocked access to at least 10 billion barrels of oil in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge on environmental grounds. The ANWR contains almost 20,000,000 acres — bigger than Massachusetts, New Jersey, Rhode Island, Connecticut, and Delaware combined. The "footprint" of the proposed drilling operation would be 2,000 acres — one-sixth the size of Washington's Dulles airport. And this 0.1% of ANWR that would be impacted is on the barren coastal plain, not in the scenic mountains and wilderness area they're always showing you pictures of.

Last month, Senate Democrats killed a bill to suspend Sen. Ken Salazar's (D-CO) moratorium blocking oil shale development on federal lands. According to Sen. Orrin Hatch, the oil shale deposits in just Colorado, Utah, and Wyoming contain as much oil as the rest of the world combined.

Last week, Senate Democrats tried to pass the Warner-Lieberman-Boxer "cap and trade" bill, AKA "ration and tax and spend" — which would raise prices of all energy supplies significantly. And then they tried to enact a "windfall profits tax" on oil companies — which we know from the bitter experience of the Carter years will lead to both shortages and higher prices. Thank goodness (and Mitch McConnell) they failed in both those attempts.

Today, House Democrats rejected a proposal by Rep. John Peterson (R-PA) to permit drilling in deep off-shore waters:

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.

The U.S. imports about 10 million barrels of oil a day. The outer continental shelf, according to the U.S. Minerals Management Service, has at least 86 billion barrels. That, plus the 10+ billion barrels in ANWR, would replace half our current annual oil imports for more than 50 years.

And that's not even considering the 20 billion or so barrels of conventional on-shore oil that are off-limits, the increasingly promising Bakken Formation, which may contain more oil than Saudi Arabia, and the vast quantities of shale oil.

The opponents to "drilling our way out of the problem" argue that (a) it would be years before new supplies were available, and (b) they wouldn't "solve" the problem for good. That's like arguing against going grocery shopping because (a) it won't immediately satisfy your hunger, and (b) eventually you'll get hungry again anyway. 

We should have started developing these oil resources years ago, but the same people who say now is too late prevented it then. Starting now is better than starting later — or never. And you think it won't impact today's price? Let shale oil development restart, and watch how soon OPEC pushes the price of oil down low enough to make shale oil uneconomical again.

If you're sick of the skyrocketing gas price, if you're sick of the sanctimonious demands that we suck it up and make do with less, if you're sick of human needs being subordinated to every insect, rodent, and fish on the planet, it's time to let Washington know.

Newt Gingrich's American Solutions movement has already gathered well over half a million signatures on a petition to Congress to authorize access to domestic energy reserves. They hope to deliver 3 million signatures to both major parties at their national conventions. Sign the petition, donate a few bucks, and get the bumper sticker:

Drill here. Drill now. Pay less.

Then tell your friends to do the same. Before we all end up freezing in the dark. 

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