A Positive Step Toward Energy Security

By February 7, 2008Energy

From Oil and Gas Journal:

WASHINGTON, DC, Feb. 7 — Oil and gas producers submitted $2.66 billion in apparent high bids in a record-breaking offshore federal lease sale in Alaska, the US Minerals Management Service said Feb. 6.

The 677 bids on 488 blocks in the first Chukchi Sea lease sale since 1991 made it the most successful Outer Continental Shelf lease sale in Alaska’s history, MMS said. Shell Gulf of Mexico Inc. submitted the single largest bid—more than $105.3 million. Shell also led in total bids, with 302 totaling nearly $2.2 billion, 275 of them high bids for nearly $2.12 billion.

The National Association of Manufacturers issued a news release yesterday lauding the lease sale, quoting NAM President John Engler:

Affordable and reliable energy is essential to the long-term health of the U.S. economy and its citizens…The Chukchi Sea’s resources are very promising and represent a step forward in a more balanced energy policy for the United States. The Chukchi Sea is estimated to have reserves of 27 billion barrels of oil and 132 trillion cubic feet of natural gas making it an important resource for domestic energy security.

The Chuckchi Sea lease sale is, of course, being targeted by environmental groups for whom no production of fossil fuels, anywhere, is acceptable. Their latest ploy to achieve energy serfdom is an Endangered Species Act listing for the polar bear. The WSJ called them on it last week:

No one disputes that higher temperatures in the bear’s Arctic habitat have disrupted the sea ice that bears use to catch food and breed. The problem is that polar bear populations have been rising over the last four decades, and may now be at a historic high. This is the result of conservation management, including international agreements on trophy hunting and federal safeguards like the Marine Mammal Protection Act….[snip]

The scientific questions are complex — and that ought to rule out premature, simplistic answers. Naturally, it’s having the opposite effect. The more honest activists basically concede that a listing is a P.R. ploy to “raise awareness,” or achieve other ends, or something.

The “or something” is preventing further oil and gas development and in doing so, preventing economic growth. Because prosperity is the enemy of the environment, or so the theory goes.

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