Better to Drill a Well Than Curse the Darkness

By June 23, 2007Energy

With all the sour congressional news this last week on national energy policy (see here and here), it’s worth noting a positive development.

Energy-supply promoters and market realists Reps. John Peterson (R-PA) and Neil Abercrombie (D-HI) introduced the National Environment and Energy Development Act (H.R. 2784) to open portions of the Outer Continental Shelf to natural gas exploration and drilling, given states great leeway in the decision. From the news release:

With natural gas prices and demand continuing to rise almost exponentially, our country and so many American jobs are on a pathway toward irrecoverable economic damage. Unfortunately, we are already seeing too many jobs leaving our shores because we are not producing energy here at home. This bill is the best shot to securing America’s increasing long-term energy and economic needs,” said Peterson. “What makes this bill so different than other ‘energy’ bills is that it actually produces energy, while encouraging the protection and continued safeguard of some of America’s most treasured environmental gems.”

“Every environmentalist and alternative energy advocate in the country shouldn’t just support this legislation, they ought to be actively working for its passage. The allocation of royalties from the production of clean, safe, abundant and accessible natural gas will create the first dedicated funding source – projected in the billions of dollars – for environmental clean-up and restoration,” said Abercrombie. “Natural gas is the bridge to a future in which we rely on alternative energy and American fuels instead of imported oil.”

The sponsors estimate revenues from the new energy to be $400 billion, and being political realists, as well, they would share some of the dollars with environmental restoration programs and low-income heating assistance. Manufacturers understand their arguments, and now the challenge is to persuade a public who hears more from those who pretend a magical solution to the nation’s energy needs is just a federal mandate or two away.

Peterson and Abercrombie were joined by a bipartisan group of legislators: Republican Reps. Thelma Drake of Virginia, and Devin Nunes of California, and Democratic Reps. Chet Edwards of Texas, and Charlie Melancon of Louisiana. Congratulations to all for pointing the way toward real energy security. (News accounts here and here.)

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