Editore"s Note
Tilting at Windmills

Email Newsletter icon, E-mail Newsletter icon, Email List icon, E-mail List icon Sign up for Free News & Updates

May 29, 2010

NO DRILLING, NO ENERGY BILL?.... It's tempting to think common sense would have a greater influence over the debate on a new energy/climate policy. With the oil spill disaster constantly getting worse, the need for alternative energies growing more obvious, and the public's appetite for coastal drilling fading fast, the way forward seems pretty clear.

And yet, a few too many policymakers fail to see it that way. Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.), who recently walked away from his own tri-partisan proposal after months of work, argued yesterday that Democratic reluctance to expanded drilling means the legislation will likely die.

"Why would a person who really believes in drilling put a bill on the floor right now to expand drilling and revenue sharing, knowing it can't get 50 votes?" Graham told The Hill. "The resistance to drilling has hardened on the Democratic side, so we [Republicans have] got more votes to make up."

In other words, if Democratic skepticism of drilling is intensifying -- hardly an unreasonable position, under the circumstances -- then Republicans, who still demand more drilling, aren't willing to cooperate, no matter how dire the need.

Sen. Jim Webb (D-Va.), who supported the lease sale off his home state's shores, said he backed Obama's decision [to freeze exploratory wells]. Sen. Olympia Snowe (Maine), a crucial Republican swing vote on the climate bill, said the Gulf accident had created a crisis of confidence in drilling procedures and technology.

Graham believes this has sapped his rationale for convincing fellow Republicans to support the comprehensive energy and climate change legislation.

"If I go back into conference, what would I tell them?" he said.

Well, that one seems pretty easy, actualy. Graham can tell them the energy bill is still absolutely necessary in helping to create a new energy framework. He can point out the fact that the legislation will help create jobs and lower the deficit. He can tell them it improves American competitiveness in the key industry of the 21st century. He can point out the painful reality that under the status quo the GOP seeks to protect, much of our energy policy is built around sending exorbitant sums of money to the Middle East. (He might also mention combatting global warming, but I know his caucus considers it a Marxist plot to be ignored.)

Graham knows this. He must realize that the Republican Party can't be taken seriously if the entirety of their energy policy is coastal drilling at a time when an oil spill is wreaking havoc on an entire region.

Graham is worried about what he'll tell the Republican conference if Dems balk at more drilling. He should be worried about what he'll tell the country if the GOP blocks this much-needed legislation.

Steve Benen 9:40 AM Permalink | Trackbacks | Comments (21)

Bookmark and Share
 
Comments

I'll repeat a suggestion that I made a few weeks ago:

Remove additional drilling from the main bill. Then add it as an amendment.

But . . .

Every Representative and Senator who votes for the bill will have to sign a contract where they forfeit to the government their entire fortunes, less $25,000 (enough for a used car and a down payment on a double wide), if there is a spill or accident that costs the taxpayers money.

And a new idea:

Every new drilling contract will have the same provision for the company's CEO -- they loose everything but $25,000 if their company causes a spill that costs taxpayers money.

The Republicans love to talk about "personal responsibility", so they should embrace these ideas with enthusiasm.


Posted by: SteveT on May 29, 2010 at 9:52 AM | PERMALINK

i guess when the oil spill gets to SC, he may reconsider.

Posted by: benjoya on May 29, 2010 at 9:52 AM | PERMALINK

There's been push-back from SC residents over drilling. I don't think he can even sell it to his own state, let alone the rest of the country.

Posted by: mmm on May 29, 2010 at 10:04 AM | PERMALINK

Here's the thing about coastal drilling: however you define our energy problems, it's such a minuscule part of the solution that it just shouldn't be that big a deal.

We're getting 0.5 million barrels a day from drilling off the U.S. coasts. Total world production these days is running around 85 million bpd. So we're talking about something that's 1/170 of world production. If we were able to double our production from coastal drilling - and I don't know anyone who says we can - it would be up to 1/85 of world production.

That would make some modest difference around the edges with respect to price, but it would be a triviality compared to the increase in demand if we ever get a decent economic recovery going.

I can only see two reasons for anyone to be particularly invested in coastal drilling:

1) Fellating the oil companies, and
2) Bashing the hippies.

That's it.

Of course, that's probably enough to explain the positions of all Senate Republicans, excepting those from New England, on this issue.

Posted by: low-tech cyclist on May 29, 2010 at 10:07 AM | PERMALINK

only the perverse psychotically twisted universe that inhibits the republican mind could turn a searing example of why off shore oil wells are horrendous, into blocking what is needed: alternatives to off shore oil wells.

Posted by: pluege on May 29, 2010 at 10:17 AM | PERMALINK

Big push by the American Petroleum Institute and their shill, "Blanche Dubois" Landrieu about the almost 3,600 wells operating without spills in the Gulf. I believe they, also, noted the vast number of planes which took off and landed safely around the world on September 11, 2001.

Posted by: berttheclock on May 29, 2010 at 10:34 AM | PERMALINK
He must realize that the Republican Party can't be taken seriously if the entirety of their energy policy is coastal drilling at a time when an oil spill is wreaking havoc on an entire planet.

Fixed for greatest accuracy!!

The fact is, that spill will wind up having world-wide repercussions that we can't even begin to imagine yet.

Anyone who can't see that, no matter what letter comes after his or her name, is someone who doesn't give a shit about their own future ... or that of the generations that follow us.

Posted by: Mark D on May 29, 2010 at 10:53 AM | PERMALINK

everyone should be pushing hard for REAL energy legislation-not the current bill. imho.
We could have a SIMPLE and completely transparent alternative-a phased in CARBON TAX that cannot be gamed, lobbied or evaded.
A real leader would see this and act NOW.

Posted by: sue on May 29, 2010 at 11:21 AM | PERMALINK

I know European culture and lifestyles are frequently disparaged in American circles but, according to a recent report released by the Organization for Economic Co-Operation and Development (OECD), Denmark, Finland and the Netherlands rate at the top of the list of the world's happiest nations. It just so happens that Denmark also leads the world in renewable energy and efficiency. Maybe there is a lesson and a model here to look at.

Posted by: Goldilocks on May 29, 2010 at 11:49 AM | PERMALINK

But there are no alternative energies.

Posted by: Muck on May 29, 2010 at 12:22 PM | PERMALINK

This is why the MSM has to be pushed to cover the true extent of the damage from this spill. The Obama administration shouldn't be hiding this information, but demanding unfettered access to the raw data from BP and encouraging other organizations to research the size and impact from these massive underwater plumes.

As others have suggested, Graham should be challenged on the threat these plumes pose to his state. It is not a stretch that they will become caught in an deepwater current that will drag this toxic soup around the FL keys and up the eastern seaboard directly onto SC beaches.

And he wants to ramp up drilling as its currently constituted? Get real!

Any current or proposed drilling has to undergo MASSIVE regulatory changes.

Posted by: bdop4 on May 29, 2010 at 12:29 PM | PERMALINK

So far, Lindsey Graham has declared the energy bill dead because:

- The democrats passed health care reform
- The democrats were going to do immigration reform first
- The democrats said they were going to do immigration reform, then backed off
- The democrats are likely to alter their plans in response to the largest drilling disaster in history?

Did I miss one? I think there was another one in there. Was it something to do with Kagan?

Posted by: mcc on May 29, 2010 at 1:02 PM | PERMALINK

mcc
One thing that has been on my mind for awhile - as soon as a republican questioned Lindsay Graham's motives for working with democrats and said it could be that he was being blackmailed for being gay ( I don't know whether he is gay) - he stopped co-operating and started with the silly excuses.

Posted by: jJS on May 29, 2010 at 1:21 PM | PERMALINK

"...we [Republicans have] got more votes to make up."

Translated: BIG OIL - give us the money!

Posted by: CDW on May 29, 2010 at 2:47 PM | PERMALINK

We might try a different tactic. Let's expand offshore drilling, but with a caveat. No new offshore production until the industry can prove they can stop any leak in a week. That should delay any new project for at least ten years unless they want to drill a relief well at the same time. I would also add a provision for the feds to buy a fleet of robot submarines so they can be present as an independent observer during the dangerous parts of the operation. And throw in some automatic fines. A billion dollars for every worker killed. Five hundred thousand dollars for every barrel of oil spilled. If offshore drilling is as safe as the industry says, they won't have to face the fines.

Posted by: fostert on May 29, 2010 at 3:16 PM | PERMALINK

Unfortunately, Americans are far too comfortable with big oil. And energy policy won't change until the GOP gets crushed in Nov (my prediction), and then the Demcrats will be able to finally change it.

Posted by: J on May 29, 2010 at 8:39 PM | PERMALINK

>o we're talking about something that's 1/170 of world production.

>almost 3,600 wells operating

Contemplate those two facts for a moment. 3600 potential Deepwater Horizions for 0.6% of world production. How f*cked in the head can this country be to even think drilling these things makes sense?

Posted by: doesn't matter on May 29, 2010 at 9:10 PM | PERMALINK

>o we're talking about something that's 1/170 of world production.

>almost 3,600 wells operating

Contemplate those two facts for a moment. 3600 potential Deepwater Horizions for 0.6% of world production. How f*cked in the head can this country be to even think drilling these things makes sense?

Posted by: doesn't matter on May 29, 2010 at 9:22 PM | PERMALINK

Get this,

http://rawstory.com/rs/2010/0529/energy-expert-nuke-oil-leak/

As the latest effort to plug the oil leak in the Gulf of Mexico meets with failure, the idea of nuking the immediate area to seal the oil underground is gaining steam among some energy experts and researchers.

One prominent energy expert known for predicting the oil price spike of 2008 says sending a small nuclear bomb down the leaking well is "probably the only thing we can do" to stop the leak. . .

Matt Simmons, founder of energy investment bank Simmons & Company, also says that there is evidence of a second oil leak about five to seven miles from the initial leak that BP has focused on fixing. That second leak, he says, is so large that the initial one is "minor" in comparison.

Posted by: cld on May 29, 2010 at 9:56 PM | PERMALINK

I wonder what it's really gonna take for Republicans to get serious about the real issues facing the country. They're not serious about the economy, jobs, or financial reform; they've got nothing when it comes to health care; they whine all day about "not keeping us safe", yet refuse to get serious about the real costs and national security threats inherent in our energy policy.

Airplanes slamming into the WTC didn't wake them up, so what will it take?

Posted by: bcinaz on May 30, 2010 at 12:33 AM | PERMALINK

In Up-is-Down World, it makes perfect sense that it's unpatriotic to call for a moratorium on drilling when drilling has led to an ecological disaster.

Graham might not live in Up-is-Down, but he visits!

Posted by: alix on May 30, 2010 at 12:36 AM | PERMALINK




 

 

Read Jonathan Rowe remembrance and articles
Email Newsletter icon, E-mail Newsletter icon, Email List icon, E-mail List icon Sign up for Free News & Updates

Advertise in WM



buy from Amazon and
support the Monthly