By INVESTOR'S BUSINESS DAILY |
Posted Wednesday, June 18, 2008 4:20 PM PT
Energy: First, Democrats dishonestly blamed oil
companies for overcharging. Now they falsely accuse them of keeping their
high-priced oil off the market. With public support for drilling growing,
Congress is panicked.
Read More: Energy
In this presidential election year, the Democrats really do seem to
think they can fool most of the people all of the time. Gasoline prices have
reached well over $4 in much of the country, but instead of fulfilling the
duties given to them by the voters in 2006 and allowing access to more domestic
sources of oil and gas, Democrats have thrown a new headline-grabbing smear at
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi complains that energy firms are "sitting on
68 million acres of federal lands they've already leased," but with which they
are not producing oil and gas.
That same Democratic Party talking point was served up by Sen. Russ
Feingold. He asked oil executives at a Senate Judiciary Committee hearing last
month "to explain why their companies are only developing 12 (million) of the 42
million acres of federal lands that they are leasing" and "only developing 8
(million) of the 38 million acres of offshore leased areas."
According to Feingold, "the executives could not come up with a good
In fact, they did — it's the fault of Feingold, Pelosi, would-be
president Barack Obama and every other member of Congress whose environmental
extremism has prevented the oil industry from finding and extracting America's
When oil companies spend big money leasing land, they are buying access
to a great deal of territory, much of which has no oil and gas underfoot. They
have to spend still more big money pinpointing the parts of that land where
those energy resources are.
All the while, they have to weave their way through a labyrinth of
environmental rules that Congress has imposed on them, plus defend themselves
against bogus legal attacks from green extremists. Then, even when oil is found,
it can take years to prepare to drill.
So when Pelosi and other congressional Democrats claim the oilmen are
"sitting" on all that land, under which lies an ocean of crude they are
gleefully keeping from consumers, those senators and representatives are lying
through their well-sharpened political teeth.
In fact, these companies are spending fortunes surveying, building
facilities on, and even drilling on much of this land, though it may officially
be classified as nonproducing. The fact of the matter is that 94% of federal
onshore lands remain unleased, while 97% of offshore areas are similarly
off-limits to oil exploration.
Meanwhile the Communist regimes of China and Cuba collude to exploit
the oil and gas resources off our own Gulf Coast. The blame here rests squarely
on Congress, which could repeal its quarter-century-
Since Congress' enviro-driven 1982 moratorium, lease purchases have
dwindled to a fraction of their previous level (see chart). Who, after all,
wants permission to drill in a dry hole?
This incompetent, irresponsible and thoroughly politicized Democratic
Congress is endangering our national security and economic well-being by locking
up our own energy resources. It must not be allowed to blame the companies that
spend billions supplying our energy needs for its own idiotic