Third Party & Independents Archives

August 01, 2008

Republicans Upset, No One's Listening

Republicans threw a fit on the floor of Congress today, and then called a news conference to grandstand their fit. [Link is to video of conference.] Almost no one listened. And for good reason. Rep. Mike Spence (R-In) gave the cookies away when he said we Republicans could have given the American public greater access to oil, but, didn’t. He went on to rail against Democrats for having recessed without an energy bill.

The fact of the matter is, there is no bill the Congress could pass, that would ease gas prices for American consumers over the next 5 weeks. Rep.'s Parker, and Blunt tried to make the case that drilling for more oil on the East and West Coasts would lower consumer gas prices so needed today. It is a plain and flat out lie. Drilling in new areas would not produce increased supply significant enough to lower world prices for oil for another 8 to 10 years.

Therefore, all of their fits today were a political grandstanding play, to vent their frustration over not being able to debate and pass an energy policy favorable to their oil corporation campaign donors and supporters. [Politico has a recap here.] And that is what this hissy fit news conference was all about. If Republicans fail to acquire favorable legislation for the their big donor oil corporation supporters before Pres. Bush leaves office, it is unlikely favorable legislation sought by the oil company lobbyists will ever be achieved if Obama is elected.

The oil corporations have been offering huge donations to the Democrats since their 2006 victories in the Congress, but, they have not been able to buy most Democrat's votes for even more favorable oil company legislation. Quite literally, this is tug o' war between states who seek to keep their shorelines pristine and free of derricks off in the distance, and the oil companies who seek to override State's Rights to manage their own shorelines and coastal waters upon which so much of their tourism and development dollars depend.

This issue is not, and cannot be about lowering gas prices for consumers today, as House Republicans claimed in their news conference. The only way our government could lower consumer gas prices today is if Pres. Bush were to order the release of large amounts of oil from our national oil reserve. Which begs the question, why are House Republicans leaning on Democrats for a solution that won't lower gas prices for 10 years, when they ought to be leaning on Pres. Bush to open the reserves, if lower gas prices today is their objective, as they claim?

The answer is very simple. House Republicans are not concerned over consumer gas prices. They are concerned over losing oil industry campaign donations due to impotence in successfully lobbying for oil corporations in favorable legislation. However, to the unenlightened public few, who watched today's news conference in ignorance or adoration of all things Republican, the news conference had the appearance of concern for consumers. But, it was a simple case of smoke and mirrors fraud.

Another simple fact of reality is that oil companies have declined to increase oil refinery facilities, which would have a significant impact on gas prices in the future. But why invest in gas refineries if the hydrogen fuel cell and electric vehicles already portend long term declines in demand for gasoline? Building new refineries would be a risky investment for oil companies.

Republicans continue to perpetuate the lie that there is a shortage of supply in oil which is driving up prices. That lie has been dispelled by industry experts the world over. Nowhere in the world has a single customer for oil been turned away empty handed after putting down the market price for shipment. There simply has not been any oil shortage. This dramatic rise in oil prices was started by oil speculators and those whose greed surpassed actual the actual supply demand equality.

Security and Exchange Commission and Congressional investigations are now underway to determine who these culprits were, and how they got away with billions in speculative oil bidding contracts, without ever taking receipt of one drop of oil for consumption. The process was quite simple, actually. Investors, knowing that one day, there will be a shortage of oil in the world, realized they didn't have to wait for that day to reap huge rewards on oil bidding and contracts today. They would begin bidding low at the beginning of the month, all the time knowing that they had neither the ability or desire to actually win an oil contract bid, and wait for the actual oil suppliers to outbid them, at which point they sold their contracts to the higher bidders reaping a handsome profit.

Only problem is, this speculative bidding for profits has caused oil and gasoline prices to rise so dramatically as to cause hardship for well more than a billion people in the world. Republicans herald this as free markets. Democrats decry it as price gouging by speculative Wall Street traders. Regardless of this political debate, the fact remains that there is no legislation the Congress could have passed that could have relieved gas pump prices for consumers in the here and now. Only Pres. Bush has that power, and he is not offering any olive branch to Republicans in the House to make their reelection bids easier with a dramatic release of the national oil reserves.

One closing fact to consider. Every month and year that goes by in which Americans have sufficient oil and gas supplies to meet their needs, is another month and year in which the urgency of the need to develop alternatives to fossil fuels is diminished. In other words, drilling on the East and West Coasts would open new oil production in a decade or so. But, knowing there will be a significant increase in oil supplies only lessens the need for sacrifice in seeking alternatives.

In a perverse sort of way, we have the oil speculators on futures contracts to thank for the sense of urgency growing in the nation for alternative energy sources. Without rising gasoline, oil, coal, and natural gas prices, there would be no sense of urgency or compulsion to invest in alternatives for the long term and which delay profit returns for many years. Why make investments in the future with only the promise of profits years away, when profits can be had today for nothing more than the guts to bid up fossil fuels, and sell before one is left holding the bag to take delivery?

If I were an unscrupulous Exxon Mobil executive, I would pay a small number of investors to do just this, knowing that my own corporation's profits would soar as a result. And as timing would have it, Exxon Mobil posted a new record high profit report again, just this last week. The economic stimulus checks received by working Americans exceeds all the extra cash they have doled out in elevated gas pump prices.

But, the stimulus checks are not making up for the all the other increases in pricing for food, health care, education, and stagnant or declining wages as a result of workers being forced from full time employment to part time. Many employers have been hit hard by the retraction in economic growth caused by the mortgage and credit crisis, which is still trying to find its way out of the hole Fed Chief Greenspan and President Bush dug for the nation with their low interest 'ownership society' idea that backfired in the worst way with unintended consequences.

Yes, America needs a comprehensive energy policy that secures our nation's future needs and demand for low cost energy. But, don't be fooled by House Republican parlor tricks feigning concern for the poor consumer. Always remember who their largest campaign financing donors are, so that these slight of hand news conferences railing against Democrats can be viewed for what they really are: quid pro quo for their corporate oil contributors. [AP has a short but good background article on this political play by Andrew Taylor.]

Thank you Rep. Spence for making that most salient of points that Republicans could have decreased our dependence on foreign oil when they were in power, and didn't. It reveals the hypocrisy of the House Republicans who would ask the public to "forget what we did, listen to us now."

Posted by David R. Remer at August 1, 2008 11:12 PM
Comments
Comment #257521

David Excellent analysis on the issue IMHO.

This whole fake energy crisis falls under the heading of disaster capitalism as Rowan Wolf pointed out in the blue column last month. So I agree with you there isn’t much Congress can do unless they were to reign in the speculators that drove the costs up. Boy that free market sure cost most of us a lot of money, what do they mean by free its not even cheap anymore? Perhaps it should be called the manipulated market.

You are exactly right the reason the repubs are throwing a temper tantrum is because they were unsucessful in their attempt to get ANWR into the hands of the oil companies. Seems this disaster capitalism thing is wearing thin for more and more Americans everyday as are the repubs.

Posted by: j2t2 at August 2, 2008 12:50 PM
Comment #257524

David

Great article. I find it quite revealing that they can be even remotely successful in creating a pseudo situation in hopes of fulfilling a less than honest agenda for big oil. Revealing in that they were able to successfully prey on those who are hurting by way of deception. I say successful because it now seems that close to 70% of Americans favor off shore drilling in the belief that it will somehow magically and suddenly lower fuel costs for them.

I also find it quite revealing and convenient that almost as soon as Bush lifted the moratorium prices dropped. Of course McCain conveniently used this drop in price as proof that just the mention of opening up drilling had the effect of lowering prices. This of course was designed to create the perception that if just the mention of drilling lowers prices, think what actual drilling might do. One should also make note that prices slowly lowered almost each day after lifting the moratorium right up to the point that it was apparent that congress would not bring the bill to the floor. I noticed yesterday evening that the price had risen from $3.79 (the lowest in a couple of months) back up to $3.89 last night. Today it is up to $3.99. Of course we have no way to prove such manipulation, but on the other hand it really is quite obvious. As j2t2 says, so much for the free market. I think that in light of these recent events it would be very difficult for one to realistically and honestly deny manipulation of energy markets. Surely, at this point, only the most gullible would believe otherwise.

These folks have no souls. They sold them to the oil gods in exchange for cash. Seems to me that campaign finance reform for McCain really is just so many words not meant to get in the way of cold hard cash, especially when one is in need of it.

Posted by: RickIL at August 2, 2008 01:55 PM
Comment #257526

The real problem isn’t oil supply. It’s refining capacity. No new refineries have been built sense sometime in the 60’s thanks to the enviro wacko groups blocking every attempt to build one. The problem now is even if the oil companies did manage to get approval, it’ll take 15 to 20 years to get a new refinery built. By then alternative fuels will be readily available and the investment wouldn’t pay off.
I just told David in another thread that I’m neither for or against more drilling. I’m for getting us off our dependence on foreign oil. If that means more drilling then that’s just the way it is. I’d rather see alternative fuels. But they’re years done the road. Like it or not the quick short term solution is more drilling here in this country.
The question I have for the Republicans aint why they threw a hissy over failing to get their bill passed. It’s why with 10 years in power they failed to make sure that the US became free of dependence on foreign oil?

Posted by: Ron Brown at August 2, 2008 02:16 PM
Comment #257531

David:

” The fact of the matter is, there is no bill the Congress could pass, that would ease gas prices for American consumers over the next 5 weeks. Rep.’s Parker, and Blunt tried to make the case that drilling for more oil on the East and West Coasts would lower consumer gas prices so needed today. It is a plain and flat out lie. Drilling in new areas would not produce increased supply significant enough to lower world prices for oil for another 8 to 10 years.” Is five weeks the limit to the planning we should do? I disagree with the assurtion of 8-10 years because oil companies have oil platforms off the shore of California that have been built but not put into operation because of the moratorium on offshore drilling that could be on line in a matter of months. Even if one assumes that it will take 8-10 years to reap any benefit of increased production(IMHO is flat wrong), should we just do nothing and hope that world wide demand decreases in that time frame? If we were to just address the demand side in our country, can we expect that to offset the rise in demand in the rest of the world? For prices to decrease we need to both increase supply and decrease demand.

“The oil corporations have been offering huge donations to the Democrats since their 2006 victories in the Congress, but, they have not been able to buy most Democrat’s votes for even more favorable oil company legislation. Quite literally, this is tug o’ war between states who seek to keep their shorelines pristine and free of derricks off in the distance, and the oil companies who seek to override State’s Rights to manage their own shorelines and coastal waters upon which so much of their tourism and development dollars depend.” Currently any country but ours can drill in the offshore waters, we are talking about waters that are outside of the terriortial claims recognized by the U.N. and every member nation. We are the only nation that by law is prohibited from drilling in these areas. Unless I am mistaken, our territorial waters usually extend to 12 miles from the coast, yet the Congress has a ban on drilling up to 200 miles from the coast. Constutionally speaking, where do we have the right to ban drilling on the continental shelf?

“This issue is not, and cannot be about lowering gas prices for consumers today, as House Republicans claimed in their news conference. The only way our government could lower consumer gas prices today is if Pres. Bush were to order the release of large amounts of oil from our national oil reserve. Which begs the question, why are House Republicans leaning on Democrats for a solution that won’t lower gas prices for 10 years, when they ought to be leaning on Pres. Bush to open the reserves, if lower gas prices today is their objective, as they claim?”. Is this a one time fix the solution? At what point should we replenish the national reserve? Should we have a national reserve? Short term solutions without long term problem solving is what we have had up until this point and everyone can see where that has gotten us, more dependence on foreign oil.

“The answer is very simple. House Republicans are not concerned over consumer gas prices.”. The Democrat leadership has instituted a supermajority rule on this issue because Speaker Pelosi fears, rightly so, that the vote for off shore would pass with her own Party’s support. Sir, I ask you who is really obstructing lower gas prices and the will of the people?

” Another simple fact of reality is that oil companies have declined to increase oil refinery facilities, which would have a significant impact on gas prices in the future. But why invest in gas refineries if the hydrogen fuel cell and electric vehicles already portend long term declines in demand for gasoline? Building new refineries would be a risky investment for oil companies”. In the last couple of decades the environmentalist movement has fought not only the building of refineries, but the building of nuclear plants. This, along with low cost of oil(and therefore profits) is what has stopped the building of fossil and alternative fuel production.

“Security and Exchange Commission and Congressional investigations are now underway to determine who these culprits were, and how they got away with billions in speculative oil bidding contracts, without ever taking receipt of one drop of oil for consumption.” Speculation is not illegal, and should we outlaw the speculation of other commodities(corn, wheat, gold and stocks) because they may drive the prices higher? What about when they drive the prices lower? The Governments (Federal, State and Local) make more “profit” from oil without producing a drop of oil that the oil companies and speculators; do you hold them to the same standard?

“One closing fact to consider. Every month and year that goes by in which Americans have sufficient oil and gas supplies to meet their needs, is another month and year in which the urgency of the need to develop alternatives to fossil fuels is diminished. In other words, drilling on the East and West Coasts would open new oil production in a decade or so. But, knowing there will be a significant increase in oil supplies only lessens the need for sacrifice in seeking alternatives.”. I am starting to get confused on your stance, are you saying that the high price of oil and the profits derived therefore is bad because of the impact it is having on the common man, or that speculation and high prices is something we need?

“Yes, America needs a comprehensive energy policy that secures our nation’s future needs and demand for low cost energy. But, don’t be fooled by House Republican parlor tricks feigning concern for the poor consumer. Always remember who their largest campaign financing donors are, so that these slight of hand news conferences railing against Democrats can be viewed for what they really are: quid pro quo for their corporate oil contributors. [AP has a short but good background article on this political play by Andrew Taylor.]”. The Democrats’ position will allow for the increasing price at the pump and that money will be sent to governments that are adverse to our nation’s best intrests. Had the last (Democrat) President that had the chance to increase supply shown the foresight to stave off the next oil crisis, we would have lower prices TODAY!!! It was a failure then that is showing itself today. We need a policy that provides for lower energy prices in the short, intermediate and long terms. Saying that we should not drill offshore because it will not help in the next five weeks is like saying that we should not invest in alternative fuels…unless they will be in market in five weeks.

My stance is this:

We need short, intermediate and long term solutions. The high price of oil is a great incentive for the short and intermediate solutions. But singling out one term while ignoring the others is counter-productive and great for political gains. I wonder which way will win out?


Posted by: submarinesforever at August 2, 2008 03:49 PM
Comment #257532

subs, you said: “I disagree with the assurtion of 8-10 years because oil companies have oil platforms off the shore of California that have been built but not put into operation because of the moratorium on offshore drilling that could be on line in a matter of months.”

How many? And if you are talking a couple, they won’t even begin to make a dent in the supply - demand ratio of world oil supply, nor would a couple thousand barrels a day make much difference in our dependence on foreign oil imports.

To make a difference, we would need hundreds of new drilling platforms with 50% or more actually hitting and drawing oil from the seabeds in copious quantities. And I know for a fact, that there aren’t enough floating drilling rigs to meet current demand for oil leases in the Gulf of Mexico, let alone the East and West Coasts as the NT Times has already written on this topic of the shortage of oil rigs to expand off-shore drilling.

I respect your right to disagree. But, your disagreement is a bit short on relevant facts.

Posted by: David R. Remer at August 2, 2008 04:05 PM
Comment #257533

subs asked: “Constutionally speaking, where do we have the right to ban drilling on the continental shelf?”

I will answer with a question. Where do we have the right to ban drilling in the town square of any town in America? We have the right to ban drilling anywhere in American territories we the people decide to ban drilling, construction, sewage repositories, etc., etc. etc. It is called physical resources management. Quite Constitutional and legal as well. Social order requires that we not defecate in our streets, erect oil wells in Central Park of NYC, or build nuclear waste repositories in ANWR. All very Constitutional and legal.

Posted by: David R. Remer at August 2, 2008 04:10 PM
Comment #257534

subs quoted me and replied: [“The answer is very simple. House Republicans are not concerned over consumer gas prices.”.

The Democrat leadership has instituted a supermajority rule on this issue because Speaker Pelosi fears, rightly so, that the vote for off shore would pass with her own Party’s support. Sir, I ask you who is really obstructing lower gas prices and the will of the people?]

subs, first I thought the American people elected majorities. Care to explain how the Dem. Leadership ‘instituted’ a supermajority rule on this issue?

Again, new drilling WOULD NOT lower gas prices at the pump. As I have explained abundantly, gas prices are NOT DUE to oil shortages. Refusing to accept facts and reality in order to make your arguments does not a sound argument make.

Posted by: David R. Remer at August 2, 2008 04:14 PM
Comment #257535

subs said: “In the last couple of decades the environmentalist movement has fought not only the building of refineries, but the building of nuclear plants. This, along with low cost of oil(and therefore profits) is what has stopped the building of fossil and alternative fuel production.”

Finally, something we can agree on. But, you seem to think this is a bad thing. I don’t. Protecting the environment for healthy living is one of the responsibilities of government and it is good that our government has weighed the evidence provided by the oil corporations and the environmentalists and decided that while oil prices were low, protecting the environment would be a higher priority than expanding oil corporation resources for extending into the future our dependence upon fossil fuels which are, in fact, creating global environmental concerns.

Posted by: David R. Remer at August 2, 2008 04:19 PM
Comment #257536

subs asked: “Speculation is not illegal, and should we outlaw the speculation of other commodities(corn, wheat, gold and stocks) because they may drive the prices higher?”

Yes, if such speculation threatens our economic future. Absolutely! You can’t see that? WOW!~

Posted by: David R. Remer at August 2, 2008 04:21 PM
Comment #257537

subs asked: “I am starting to get confused on your stance, are you saying that the high price of oil and the profits derived therefore is bad because of the impact it is having on the common man, or that speculation and high prices is something we need?”

Now you are beginning to appreciate the complexity of the oil dilemma. Higher prices BOTH threatens our economic future AND spurs reserach and development of alternative forms of energy and usage. In the short run, higher prices hurt the economy. In the long run higher prices may actually save the planet and billions of people in the world from environmental and climatically devastating events such as global warming and cooling in extremes caused by billions of tons of fossil fuel emissions.

The short-sighted will argue profits and capitalism are all that count. Or, the economy be damned, we must halt all fossil fuel combustion now. The rational and intelligent will arrive at the conclusion that we need use this higher price of fossil fuel energy as an opportunity to invest heavily in our eventual elimination of fossil fuel use altogether by developing cheaper and more earth friendly alternatives as quickly as is economically viable.

Posted by: David R. Remer at August 2, 2008 04:28 PM
Comment #257538

subs, I agree with your stance. We need to be rational and factual about this issue for the greater good of all, not just now, but, for the future of our children and theirs, as well.

Republicans must quit playing step n’ fetchit for the oil industry, and the Democrats must concede to a well thought out short, mid, and long term comprehensive plan that meets economically viability objectives as well as environmental and global health concerns.

You are right to imply that it would be disastrous to turn off the oil spigot overnight. Damaging economies is suicide for planet and climate saving efforts which require viable economies to fund those initiatives.

But, the environmentalists are right also, that time is running out to avert globally devastating climatic and environmental events, and serious and intense sacrifices have to be made to avert such calamities in the next 5 or so years.

This is precisely why John McCain who was against off shore drilling before he was for it in June, is the wrong person to manage such a demanding and complex task. Obama was against off shore drilling before he announced in the last several days that he would compromise on the issue in order to meet both sets of objectives, economic and environmental.

Posted by: David R. Remer at August 2, 2008 04:38 PM
Comment #257539

The oil companies are too used to dealing with monarchies and other undemocratic governments in places where a deal with the right person will get you what you want, even against the interests and desires of the population. They do not like our form of government, just as GWBush has clearly stated that he does not. The question will be, what are we going to allow them to get away with this time? Buying up companies
producing alternatives to close them down? No one here respects the oil companies, or expects them to do anything, or agree to anything, that is in our national interest. Why should we give them anything? I expect the next administration to be a repeat of all the worst aspects of the Carter administration.

Posted by: ohrealy at August 2, 2008 04:45 PM
Comment #257540

The reason is everyone saw it for what it was “Grandstanding”. Besides it’s not like 4.00 a gallon suddenly happened ,they had plenty of time to make a fuss and didn’t. It reminds me of Pres.Clinton’s deal with north Korea,they all screamed a while back about how Clinton had dropped the ball. Yet,for almost 7 years not a one of them tried to recover the fumble.Besides Sen. Obamas flip-flopping on possible drilling as an option did more to knock the glitter off then any add could. Congress should have at least told the world that it would be brought up for discussion when they return if for nothing else then to at least cause the speculators to come up for a long breath of air (see them hick-up when bush first mentioned it formally).

Posted by: Steve Harrison at August 2, 2008 04:48 PM
Comment #257541

“The real problem isn’t oil supply. It’s refining capacity. No new refineries have been built sense sometime in the 60’s thanks to the enviro wacko groups blocking every attempt to build one.”

Ron its my understanding that we are not running at capacity now nor have we been in the past. Further Some oil companies have closed down and sold off refineries, why would they do that if they were in need of more refining capacity? In addition it is my understanding that certain refineries have been expanded over the years in lieu of building new refineries.

Its as easy to blame the lack of refining capacity, if in fact there is one, on ” enviro wacko groups” but shouldnt the oil companies themselves accept the lions share of the responsibility as all they needed to do was to go through the permit process just like any other entity that builds is required to do. Why should oil companies be exempt from building codes and regulations? To blame “enviro wacko groups” just seems to be a little like blaming the gun not the shooter.

Posted by: j2t2 at August 2, 2008 04:52 PM
Comment #257542

Ron,
please tell me how many refinery permits have been submitted and turned down in the past 30 years. — Savage

Posted by: A Savage at August 2, 2008 05:51 PM
Comment #257543

David:

Thank you for your kind words and respectful disagreements. I know that I have read more into your writings in the past than you intended and made an ass out of myself accordingly, but I know that whatever stances we may take, whatever message we may convey or intend to convey to each other, however passionately we may disagree with each other, you will always show respect and you have earned mine. Although we may have exchanged heated words in the past, and may in the future, any offense taken on my part is due to my own failings. I know that has nothing to do with the topic at hand, but I have been wanting to say that since before Watchblog crashed.

“How many? And if you are talking a couple, they won’t even begin to make a dent in the supply - demand ratio of world oil supply, nor would a couple thousand barrels a day make much difference in our dependence on foreign oil imports. To make a difference, we would need hundreds of new drilling platforms with 50% or more actually hitting and drawing oil from the seabeds in copious quantities. And I know for a fact, that there aren’t enough floating drilling rigs to meet current demand for oil leases in the Gulf of Mexico, let alone the East and West Coasts as the NT Times has already written on this topic of the shortage of oil rigs to expand off-shore drilling.”. For sake of arguement, let us say there is about a dozen. I do not remember the exact number, but a dozen in this context should not make much of a difference, give or take a few. A couple of points I would like to make are:

1. For every barrel of oil produced, supply is increased and the pressure on prices is reduced.
2. Every barrel of oil produced domestically reduces the revenue brought in by dictators and governments hostile to American interests.
3. Had President Clinton showed leadership on this issue when he could have opened the American supply of oil, that 10 year waiting peroid would be over and the increased supply
would be a reality TODAY.
4. Dismissing drilling because it will not effect the price of oil for 10 years does not alleviate us from the responsibilty of reducing the crisis 10(I disagree with this number) years from now.

IMHO the relevent facts are:
1. China, India and other countries are developing and consuming oil, coal and steel at a record pace.
2. For decades Congress and both parties have ignored this and have sacrificed national security and energy independence for short term political gains.
3. Both parties are continuing to foster the proposition that there is a single issue solution.
4. Every dollar that we sent to hostile governments for goods that we can produce….should produce for ourselves is American money spent on destabilizing our country.
5. IMHO if anyone is against drilling because it will not have an immediate effect should, by logic, be against biofuels, nuclear, clean coal and hybrid cars for the same reason.
6. Before we can achieve energy independence, we must be able to produce the oil we use.


“I will answer with a question. Where do we have the right to ban drilling in the town square of any town in America? We have the right to ban drilling anywhere in American territories we the people decide to ban drilling, construction, sewage repositories, etc., etc. etc. It is called physical resources management. Quite Constitutional and legal as well. Social order requires that we not defecate in our streets, erect oil wells in Central Park of NYC, or build nuclear waste repositories in ANWR. All very Constitutional and legal.” Not constitutional at all, sir, as you are comparing apples to oranges. We have the right to pass laws that are valid within our territorial boundries. Twelve miles is the internationally recognized limit off shore, exceptions being harbors, gulfs and historically recognized waters. We have the right to regulate any area in our territories, but I submit to you that we have no more right to regulate what happens 90 miles off of the coast of Oregon as we do what happens in Havana. Were another country to set up rigs 100 miles off or Oregon, we could do nothing legally to stop them. I ask you to back your assertion with international law.

” subs, first I thought the American people elected majorities. Care to explain how the Dem. Leadership ‘instituted’ a supermajority rule on this issue?”. It is fairly simple. The House is designed to be more responsive to the people than the Senate. The House has far more deference to the majority than the Senate. SOH Pelosi has through majority rule instituted a rule for voting on this issue that carries a super-majority clause. If need be, I will search and and give you a more detailed account of the House rules and how they are enacted.

“Again, new drilling WOULD NOT lower gas prices at the pump. As I have explained abundantly, gas prices are NOT DUE to oil shortages. Refusing to accept facts and reality in order to make your arguments does not a sound argument make.”. Sir, if increasing supply…especially domestic supply, will not effect prices, I submit that reducing demand will not effect prices either and all of the conservation in the world is for naught.

Posted by: submarinesforever at August 2, 2008 06:29 PM
Comment #257545

David:

“subs asked: “Speculation is not illegal, and should we outlaw the speculation of other commodities(corn, wheat, gold and stocks) because they may drive the prices higher?”Yes, if such speculation threatens our economic future. Absolutely! You can’t see that? WOW!~”. So then we should make it illegal for American stocks and currency to lose money? Where is the level that you feel corn, wheat and rice should trade at in the name of “national security”?

“Now you are beginning to appreciate the complexity of the oil dilemma. Higher prices BOTH threatens our economic future AND spurs reserach and development of alternative forms of energy and usage. In the short run, higher prices hurt the economy. In the long run higher prices may actually save the planet and billions of people in the world from environmental and climatically devastating events such as global warming and cooling in extremes caused by billions of tons of fossil fuel emissions. The short-sighted will argue profits and capitalism are all that count. Or, the economy be damned, we must halt all fossil fuel combustion now. The rational and intelligent will arrive at the conclusion that we need use this higher price of fossil fuel energy as an opportunity to invest heavily in our eventual elimination of fossil fuel use altogether by developing cheaper and more earth friendly alternatives as quickly as is economically viable.” Sir, I have argued that any discussion about the energy crisis should be addressed in three phases: short term, intermediate term and long term. I do agree with every word in these quoted statements you have made. The point that I would like for you to consider is that when one argues for or against only one of the terms of solution(short, intermediate or long) without putting it into context of the overall solution, he is falling into the trap set by incumbent politicians that focus on one and solving nothing, but garnering support from their special intrest groups. JMO.

“But, the environmentalists are right also, that time is running out to avert globally devastating climatic and environmental events, and serious and intense sacrifices have to be made to avert such calamities in the next 5 or so years.” Sir, I do not believe the “hype” of man made global warming. That is a seperate issue entirely and does not need to be included in this discussion. So far nothing about “global warming” has factored into my views on energy independence or developing alternative fuels. IMHO whether or not “global warming” exists in this context is only a motivator, increasing a sense of urgency that need not be increased. National security is in and of itself enough motivation and “global warming” would only muddy the waters and create technical divisions where stragetic agreements exist.

Posted by: submarinesforever at August 2, 2008 06:54 PM
Comment #257546

j2t2:

“Ron its my understanding that we are not running at capacity now nor have we been in the past. Further Some oil companies have closed down and sold off refineries, why would they do that if they were in need of more refining capacity? In addition it is my understanding that certain refineries have been expanded over the years in lieu of building new refineries.” It is a little more complicated than building more refineries and running at capacity. Are you aware of the number of blends that the refineries have to produce? Gasoline has become a designer chemical and gasoline refined for Chicago may not be legal to sell in New York and is not legal to sell in Los Angeles. A refinery that is producing gasoline for more than more one geographic area is constantly in partial shutdown mode as they change the composition from one to another.

“Its as easy to blame the lack of refining capacity, if in fact there is one, on ” enviro wacko groups” but shouldnt the oil companies themselves accept the lions share of the responsibility as all they needed to do was to go through the permit process just like any other entity that builds is required to do. Why should oil companies be exempt from building codes and regulations? To blame “enviro wacko groups” just seems to be a little like blaming the gun not the shooter.”. The building codes and permit processes are not the major obstacles. The lawsuits from the “waco environmentalists” that lead to untold legal expenses and delays every step of the way(it is a multi step process) is one of the major blockages to new refineries. This could be addressed by Congress, but we now how that is turning out.

Posted by: submarinesforever at August 2, 2008 07:07 PM
Comment #257555

I was a rig pusher in ’91 and had to quit because the oil prices dropped down below 20 a barrel. There were no programs being pushed by the socialists to bail our oil companies out or to keep my job due to imports. My work was exported to the Arab nations. These things go two ways. How about bringing those jobs back to America! Where are the labor advocates? Bring oil production back to the states.
If you go to rigzone.com, there will be news of huge strikes both in the arctic and Brazil. Massive amounts of oil are out there to be discovered in our continental shelves and banning its discovery due to outdated environmental concerns is absurd. The technology to replace oil is at least ten years off so we need to drill now. An average land well only takes a couple weeks to drill and a couple weeks to complete. Depending on location or access to pipelines it isn’t hard to have one on line in six months. A year or two would give plenty of time for treatment and separation facilities.
Outdated concerns;
I started in the oilfield at the end of the seventies when environmental changes were taking place. It was normal to throw trash out your window, dump used oil on the ground, bury your own garbage and burn just about anything. Oil well sites had years of build up from waste being just blown out on the ground. When I left the field, we had regular soil tests and wouldn’t think of letting so much as a drip get on the soil. State agencies had to be contacted and environmental specialists brought in if a spill exceeded 40 gallons. On some sites, we had to brief our help to only urinate in the porta johns to avoid a false soil contamination test. All tank batteries have to be surrounded by equal volume dikes with a liner underneath, huge difference. Environwackos are only out to perpetuate Marxist agenda and make themselves the savior of the world. I do credit the movement with the changes back then but the oil companies caught on years ago. Fact is that the biggest companies are the cleanest and safest.
Socialists have to manufacture bogyman to make themselves relevant. Conservatives simply want to allow freedom to provide raw materials we need to continue to be the greatest (and cleanest) nation on Earth. It is both outdated and unreasonable to hold back production of our natural resources.
I want to start an environmental movement “The whole earth is a rainforest”. Since all carbon based fuels were plants that at one time absorbed atmospheric CO2, we need to free that carbon up. It all needs to be put back into its natural environment, the air, instead of being trapped underground. Let’s bring back the huge plants and forests that once fed the dinosaurs.


Posted by: Kruser at August 2, 2008 11:01 PM
Comment #257557

j2t2
I’ve heard the same thing but it’s my understanding that it only been within the last 8 to 10 years that refining has been cut back.
Back in the late 60’s and early 70’s the enviro wackos raised so much hell over the oil companies plans to build or expand refineries that the oil companies gave up trying. Today there are so many regulations that have to be met and permits to get that building a new one would take 10 years just to get approved. Then another 10 years or so to build. Not a very profitable venture. Specially sense alternative fuels are starting to be developed.
And NO! No one should get by with violating building codes. Specially folks dealing with hazardous materials.

Savage
I don’t have a number. But most likely not very many. Mostly because the oil companies haven’t submitted very many.
I saw a piece on TV a while back that had a guy that’s in the refining business. He was saying that he’d have to spend around $10,000,000,000 and it’d take about 10 years just to get a new refinery approved. Then it’d take another $10,000,000,000 to $20,000,000,000 and another 10 to 15years to build it. And that’s after he found a place to build it. Given that alternative fuels are only about 10 years or less from being economically feasible for the average consumer, building new refineries now would be a very profitable venture for anyone.

Posted by: Ron Brown at August 3, 2008 12:04 AM
Comment #257564

subs said: “Sir, I do not believe the “hype” of man made global warming.”

Then you either do not have any knowledge of the findings of the scientific community, or, you have no more faith in your political leader’s rhetoric than in empirical science. Either way, it’s a shame. But, we each choose our leaders according to our own values and upbringing.

Posted by: David R. Remer at August 3, 2008 11:00 AM
Comment #257567

David,

Spot on! BTW, Al Gore made alternative energy research and development one cornerstone of his campaign in 2000. Of course, the Republican campaign worked hard to create the image of a treehugging nutcase out of this forward thinking LEADER. Result? Eight years wasted. Republicans have put all their eggs in the Big Oil basket and have succeed in putting off the enevitable in order to maximize profits for existing energy giants. This failure to change to meet new conditions is the definition of conservative, right?

So now we are to hand the energy policy over to this same party again???? The party of James Inhofe who wears blinders paid for by the oil company???

Not this patriot.

Posted by: LibRick at August 3, 2008 12:40 PM
Comment #257571

David:

I choose to look at the facts in a more pragmatic fashion. When debate is stiffled, evidence and methods of collecting the evidence are ignored, anyone that disagrees are labeled as deniers and billions of dollars are at stake and the debate is politicized, I am skeptical. Especially when the one that is the political leader of the issue is known to lie to advance himself, sets up a company that potentionaly can profit billions from it and refuses to live a lifestyle that he wants to impose on the rest of the world.

I will say that I am open to the possibility that man has an effect on “climate change”. I read from sources that both support and dispute the idea. Are you open minded to this issue also?

Posted by: submarinesforever at August 3, 2008 01:04 PM
Comment #257572

David:

Let me also refresh you on the rest of my statement that you convienently left off of the quote:

“Sir, I do not believe the “hype” of man made global warming. That is a seperate issue entirely and does not need to be included in this discussion. So far nothing about “global warming” has factored into my views on energy independence or developing alternative fuels. IMHO whether or not “global warming” exists in this context is only a motivator, increasing a sense of urgency that need not be increased. National security is in and of itself enough motivation and “global warming” would only muddy the waters and create technical divisions where stragetic agreements exist.”. It appears I was correct.

Posted by: submarinesforever at August 3, 2008 01:08 PM
Comment #257582

The enviro wacko groups in this aricle dont appear to be wacko or extremist to me guys. It seems after years of inaction by the EPA as well as Shell oil company, local business people decided enough was enough. Certainly you are not suggesting that we relax air quality standards for the more dangerous pollutants are you? Why is it we cant seem to see that the ability to get rid of the pollution caused by the refining process is part of the cost of producing the oil products and should be included in the costs of the products.
Its the lack of responsibility by Shell and others that brings on the lawsuits. Yet it seems a lot of us just want to blame those most affected by the poisonious gases and byproducts for not wanting to breathe these pollutants.

http://www.ens-newswire.com/ens/jan2008/2008-01-09-091.asp

Posted by: j2t2 at August 3, 2008 03:28 PM
Comment #257601

I keep reading in this thread that alternative sources are 5 to 10 years out at best. This is not true. Alternative sources are ready to be developed at this moment. The only thing stopping the process is political will. The technology is there to build solar thermal plants in the dessert. These plants are completely independent of fossil needs, would be able to provide electricity 24/7 twelve months a year at a price equivalent to what we pay today. And once they are big enough or numerous enough they would be capable of providing electricity to every home in the US. This technology is proven. At this moment as I understand it the main obstacle is congress. It will not allow legislation to begin plans for the necessary infrastructure to deliver that energy.

Electric cars are here. The last I knew a six seater vehicle that runs solely on compressed air is expected to be offered in the US in 2010 in the $17,000.00 range. Wind plants are going up as we speak. It is only a matter of time at this point. Of course it will not happen over night. But then neither will oil. Alternatives will and are happening in incremental stages, much like natural gas did at its advent. Of course we will not render ourselves completely independent of oil anytime soon. On the other hand each new hybrid, electric car, air compressor car, or home energy provided by wind, solar, geo thermal, etc puts us a step closer to oil independence. At least to the degree that the oil industry will at some point no longer be able to hold us hostage to their demands.

As David points out. There is no shortage of fossil based supplies. There are no gas stations shutting down, or rationing of fuel. There are currently millions and millions of acres of unexplored leased land by the oil companies. Is procrastinating on an alternative push really worth the few cents you might save on oil in another 10 years or so? That is what this all about folks. It is an old ultra wealthy industry fighting to keep its lions share of energy profits out of the pockets of alternative energy competitors. And fact is they are relying on our fine republican legislators to do their part in helping them sustain those massive profits.

Posted by: RickIL at August 3, 2008 09:05 PM
Comment #257644

People seem to be driving very strangely lately, apparently trying to conserve their gas through hypermiling techniques. I mentioned this a while back, but nobody was interested. We need a national commitment to have a percentage of all fleets not dependant on petroleum at all. This would also help with oil prices. This link is to the first of a series of 9 videos on “who Killed the Electric Car - Big Oil impedes progress”: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jbeylQN8PAc

Posted by: ohrealy at August 4, 2008 06:06 PM
Comment #257663

Ohrealy

I have noticed the same. People are driving much more conservatively. Especially those in SUV’s and pick ups. I have also recognized noticeably less traffic on what would otherwise be very busy weekend roads around town. The amount of vespa and moped type scooters zipping down the roads has increased dramatically over the last few months. I see this all as good. It means that cost is finally driving us towards a sensible future.

I caught the tail end of a discussion on a news program and I believe I heard that the Arab oil producers claimed that drilling for more oil here in the US would make no difference because they would merely decrease their production to offset any cost gain we may realize. If I am correct this makes sense because there simply is no way that we can in the short term or probably even long term obtain complete independence if we continue with fossil based fuel engines.

Posted by: RickIL at August 4, 2008 09:47 PM
Comment #257746

RickIl, I predict that Saudi Oil production will plummet next year regardless of any of the factors mentioned. Even JMcC isn’ going to go there to kiss their asses the way W did.

Posted by: ohrealy at August 5, 2008 03:23 PM
Comment #257802

Ohrealy

You may very well be correct in your assumption. I can think of nothing more satisfying than the day we can finally tell them to shove their rigs up their asses, we no longer need their product. There is something about being held hostage and blackmailed by a monopolistic industry that just does not sit well with me.

Posted by: RickIL at August 5, 2008 09:37 PM
Comment #257912

RickIl, I believe that yours is the majority view held by most Americans, although some are more fearful or intimidated into giving in to their demands for ANWR, offshore but nimby, etc.

Posted by: ohrealy at August 6, 2008 04:23 PM
Comment #257926

RickIl, I believe that yours is the majority view held by most Americans, although some are more fearful or intimidated into giving in to their demands for ANWR, offshore but nimby, etc.

Posted by: ohrealy at August 6, 2008 06:24 PM
Comment #257954

The Alaskan Petroleum Reserve area established for drilling by Herbert Hoover, is still largely untapped by the oil companies. Why ANWR when the oil companies have the leases in the Petro Reserve but aren’t drilling?

The answer is: they want access to ALL potential oil sites everywhere while the taking is good with a Republican president.

One other curiosity. The CEO’s of the oil companies testified before Congress just two years ago or so, you know, when oil was $35 a barrel, and they testified then, that with oil that high in price, there was no need for federal subsidies to drill in untapped lease areas.

Last year, billions of our tax dollars were still be funneled by the Congress to the Oil companies as incentive to drill. Why?

Obviously, what the Congress and CEO’s are telling each other behind closed doors IS NOT what they are telling you and me, the tax payers.

Posted by: David R. Remer at August 7, 2008 02:47 AM
Comment #257986

Are you serious about this? The democratic leadership adjourned without even debating energy policy.

Your point about the lack of oil refineries is dead wrong. The Environmental groups have tied them up in knots for years.

http://www.politicianswhosuck.com/pelosi-and-reid-duo-stops-energy-cold/

Posted by: politicalnightmare at August 7, 2008 01:49 PM
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