The Dems’ No Energy Bill

Yesterday the Democrats rammed their sham energy bill through the House of Representatives without allowing votes on any Republican proposals. The resulting bill would be a disaster, should it become law. A few basic points:

First, while the Democrats have postured their legislation as a “comprehensive” energy solution that includes more drilling, the truth is the opposite. In fact, the bill extends the current ban on offshore drilling, which otherwise would expire on September 30. Further, it bans drilling within 50 miles of shore, which is where, according to the Institute for Energy Research, the “vast majority of undiscovered oil and gas reserves” are located.

Not only that, it permanently puts off limits most of the Outer Continental Shelf, including almost all of California and the eastern Gulf of Mexico. This is particularly diabolical, since these are the very areas where undeveloped oil and gas are near existing infrastructure and therefore can be brought on line quickly.

Second, even the miniscule amount of offshore drilling permitted by the Democrats’ statute will probably never happen, since states are required to “opt in” on one hand, but are given no financial incentive to do so on the other.

Third, even though offshore drilling is already constrained by environmental laws and regulations that are more than ample, the Democrats have added a new provision requiring the Secretary of the Interior to ensure that any proposed drilling “provides for the protection of the coastal environment.” Since this language is both vague and undefined, it will undoubtedly give rise to lawsuits that will stall any proposed project for years. No wonder the Sierra Club supports the bill!

Fourth, apart from offshore development, the Democrats’ bill does nothing to increase domestic energy supply. It does not permit drilling in ANWR, the most economically and environmentally desirable onshore site in the U.S. Nor does it enable shale oil development. On the contrary, it adds new hurdles that will stand in the way of experimental shale oil projects.

Finally, the bill offers taxpayer subsidies for inefficient forms of energy–subsidies that will no doubt wind up mostly in the hands of the Democratic Congress’ political allies. As IER concludes:

This bill, like the recent “Gang of Ten” proposal, does almost nothing to increase domestic energy production. Instead, it offers more of the same government imposed mandates that promote inefficient or untested types of energy.

The Democrats’ anti-energy bill represents a conscious attempt to drive energy costs higher. Remember that when you pay your heating bill next winter. In the meantime, call your Senators: it is critically important that the Democrats’ fraudulent legislation not become law.

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