Good timing from the Washington Examiner’s editorial page this morning, weighing in just as the House Natural Resources Committee held a hearing on energy security. The Examiner recognizes that the realities of supply and demand require a certain level of supply…such as the oil and natural gas available on the U.S. Outer Continental Shelf.
WASHINGTON (Map, News) – In January, President George W. Bush ended a presidential moratorium on offshore drilling for oil and natural gas. On May 1, the U.S. Department of Interior unveiled a five-year plan to expand drilling on both the Atlantic and Pacific Outer Continental Shelf, including the Gulf of Mexico, Alaska’s Bristol Bay and a 3-million-acre site 50 miles off the Virginia shoreline. To grasp how much new energy would become available, the Bristol Bay area — by far the smallest of the bunch — is estimated to have enough natural gas and oil to power 7.4 million homes and 1.6 million cars for 15 years. Now, it’s time for Congress to complete removal of the 25-year-old moratorium by approving Bush’s action and giving the green light to begin exploration and development.
Unfortunately, later Wednesday the House of Representatives decided to go with populist posturing instead of market-oriented, real-world solutions to America’s energy needs, passing a counterproductive “price gouging” bill. The NAM released a statement after the bill’s sad passage, quoting NAM President John Engler.
“History has demonstrated that price controls and allocations simply do not work,” Engler [said]. “The U.S. is faced with some of the highest energy cost in the world and our elected officials decide to scapegoat American industry instead of fixing the problem.
“The rules of supply and demand are indisputably simple,” Engler said. “But, faced with convoluted political realities, America’s energy policy falls far short of common sense. Rather than focusing on ill-advised price control policies, policymakers should set their sights on enhancing America’s energy security.”
Well, the vote’s done with now — 284 to 141 — putting people on the record against bad things that almost never happen, but boy, those are some righteous press releases.
Can we now move on to a more productive debate?
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