Today’s Greenwire (subscription required) reports that the House is expected to vote as soon as tomorrow on Democratic legislation that would “allow drilling more than 100 miles from the Atlantic and Pacific coasts, and as close to 50 miles from the shore if coastal states agree to it.”
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi is spearheading this legislation — an obvious sign that the Green Left’s longstanding opposition to drilling has become a political liability for Democrats in this election cycle.
However, although Pelosi appears to be bowing to political and economic reality, her proposed “compromise” is a cynical ploy that no self-respecting supply-sider will touch with a 2,000-foot oil rig.
Our friends at the Institute for Energy Research (IER) posted a devastating exposé of the Pelosi plan. As announced last week, the plan would:
- Permanently ban access to about 97 percent of the undersea oil lying within 50 miles of the California coast.
- Continue the ban on energy production in the Eastern Gulf of Mexico.
- Impose a brand-new ban on oil and gas leases in Alaska’s coastal waters out to 50 miles.
- Not allow states that approve new leases beyond 50 miles to share royalties with the federal government, thus stripping any financial incentive for states to stand up to environmental pressure groups, who will continue to agitate against any new oil and gas operations offshore.
The plan also includes poison pill provisions that President Bush is on record as opposing, such as new taxes on oil companies and a first-ever nationwide renewable-energy production quota for the electric power sector.
Nothing puts Pelosi’s charade in clearer focus, though, than IER’s charts showing how much oil the plan would lock up off the U.S. West coast. By banning new leases out to 50 miles, the Pelosi plan would permanently deny access to 100 percent of the technically recoverable oil off the coasts of Washington, Oregon, Northern California, and Central California, plus 95 percent of the oil off the coast of Southern California.
Pro-drilling lawmakers on the Hill would be well advised to wave these charts in front of the television cameras as often as possible.