Sent: Thursday, June 19, 2008 8:26 AM
Subject: [proprights] Congress Cannot Deflect The Blame

Congress Cannot Deflect The Blame

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 Big Oil.

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 explanation."

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 own supplies.

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-old offshore drilling moratorium tomorrow if it so chose.

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 policies.

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