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Pelosi blocks gas price relief

By Henry Lamb
web posted August 4, 2008

Nancy PelosiHouse Speaker Nancy Pelosi told CNN that she would block any vote to allow offshore drilling.  This remarkable stance comes in the face of the latest poll that says 73 percent of Americans favor offshore drilling, while only 27 percent oppose it.  Nancy Pelosi again displays her contempt for her employer, the American people.  Her arrogance and wrong-headed philosophy have led Congress to an approval rating of a staggering 14 percent, the lowest ever.

The arguments she advances in defense of her position are, at best, silly, and at worst, devious.  She says she will not allow additional reserves to be drilled because oil companies already hold leases on 68 million acres of federal land that are not being drilled.  She ignores the testimony of oil company representatives who tell her that had they found oil under these lands, they would be pumping it.  The oil companies need to drill where the oil is.

There is plenty of oil to drill.  Known reserves offshore, in Alaska, the Bakken fields of North Dakota and Montana, and elsewhere, can meet the energy demand for at least 100 years.  But Pelosi and her colleagues don’t want this oil produced.  Pelosi says that it will take 10 years for this new oil supply to reach the pump, and then, it would reduce the price by only two-cents per gallon.  This price projection is pure fiction.

As an alternative, she says the president should release 70 million barrels of oil from the strategic reserves, which would provide immediate price relief.  Is this silly, stupid, or just more of Pelosi’s political doublespeak?  This alternative would supply less than four days of the U.S. demand, which would not likely even be noticed at the pump.  It would do nothing to solve the underlying problem of too little supply.

Pelosi, like Al Gore, wants to end America’s reliance on oil, and switch to new, exotic, yet-to-be-developed energy sources such as wind, solar, hydrogen, and in particular, electric cars.  America has been investing heavily in research in all these areas for years.  Some significant progress has been made.  No one in their right mind – which includes Al Gore – can think this new technology can be available within the next ten years, with enough distribution to make hydrogen filling stations and recharging for electric cars viable options.   It is certain, however, that by developing known oil reserves, the U.S. energy demand can be met in 10 years, or less.

There is a big disconnect between the rush to convert automobiles to batteries, and the reality that the electricity to recharge those batteries would require a massive new generating capacity.  The same flawed excuse of “protecting the environment,” has also blocked the expansion of electricity generating capacity.  If the self-appointed gods of environmental protection won’t allow the expansion of electricity generation, how are the batteries of all these new electric vehicles going to be recharged every night?

Another major disconnect between the rush to replace oil with renewable sources such as wind and solar is the negative environmental impact of these renewable technologies.  For example, to replace a single 50-megawatt coal-fired generating plant, which may occupy as much as 20 acres of land, approximately 3,000 acres of land would have to be occupied by wind turbines.  To produce 50-megawatts of electricity from solar panels would virtually cover even more land.  How can these protectors of the environment justify blanketing the land with whirling bird-killers and solar panels that block the sun from all forms of life beneath them? 

Some environmental purists genuinely want America and the world to return to the stone-age.   Nancy Pelosi is no environmental purist.  She is a political creature, which is a person so intoxicated by power that the instinct to retain and expand it overwhelms common sense, logic, ethics, morality, or anything else that might get in the way. 

By her refusal to even allow debate on proposals to expand oil development – where oil is known to exist – she stands like a barricade between thirsty consumers and a new mountain stream.  She apparently sees herself as a self-appointed savior; she is, in truth, acting as judge and jury, condemning a nation desperate for more energy to spiraling energy costs for possibly another generation.

This is not a new posture for Democrat leadership.  Democrats in the House, the Senate, and the White House have blocked expansion of oil supplies for more than a decade.  Had Bill Clinton not vetoed the bill that would have opened the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge more than a decade ago, gas prices would not be as high as they are today.  Millions of jobs would have been created, and every American could have saved the money needlessly paid to foreign sources for oil, simply because one man played God and defied the express will of the people.

Nancy Pelosi is now playing God, standing where Bill Clinton stood more than a decade ago, defying the expressed will of the people by blocking access to the known oil reserves that are so desperately needed by the entire nation. ESR

Henry Lamb is the executive vice president of the Environmental Conservation Organization (ECO), and chairman of Sovereignty International.

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