Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Northup Rightly Goes On The Offensive Regarding New Oil Drilling

Anne Northup wrote an excellent op-ed piece in today's Courier-Journal highlighting what should be one of her strongest issues against Congressman John Yarmuth: the need for Congress to allow for more domestic oil drilling to reduce the price of gasoline.

Northup attacks Yarmuth for his opposition to drilling where there are proven reserves while he supports proposed legislation to tax oil companies into drilling in areas that are likely to be dry holes:

Just last week, our representative [Yarmuth] joined 10 Democrats who filed a "use it or lose it" bill which would force oil companies to use the federal leases they currently have or forfeit them. The truth is, oil companies have had very little success with these leased lands, with 52 percent of the leases turning up no oil. Many more were leased for the purpose of recovering natural gas only. Other areas are prohibitive in terms of the cost to drill and questionable in the amount of recoverable oil. It is hard to fathom the thinking of a person who would propose forcing companies to drill all over the continent in places with marginal or no reserves, but refuses to allow drilling where there are plentiful reserves.

Northup criticizes Yarmuth and fellow Democrats for cow-towing to the environmental lobby's opposition to drilling in ANWR and offshore at the expense of all of us at the gasoline pump:

We do not have to look overseas for our oil. Alaska's ANWR alone contains 10.4 billion barrels of oil. Likewise, the Outer Continental Shelf is estimated to contain 19 billion barrels of oil. There are other estimates that put our oil reserves in the hundreds of billions of barrels. When given the opportunity to tap these abundant resources, the House Democrats overwhelmingly opposed it while House Republicans overwhelmingly supported the increased production. Even when the Republicans were in the majority and passed it in the House, the Senate could not muster the 60 votes necessary to pass the bill and send it to the President because of Democratic opposition.

Recently, such large reserves of shale oil were discovered that some now refer the United States as the "Saudi Arabia of shale oil." Yet last year this Congress banned all new shale oil extraction. That's right: No matter where or how safely it could be extracted, this new reserve is now off limits nationwide.

We know where the major reserves of clean, light and easy-to-refine crude oil are located. Even though a majority of people in this country believe we can harvest our oil in an environmentally safe manner, this Congress seems to be too frightened of an environmental lobby that has become increasingly irrational.

Northup and other Republicans should continue to hit hard on this issue. To rephrase Bill Clinton's 1992 campaign theme, in 2008, the Republicans' motto should be "it's the price of gasoline, stupid!"

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