House “energy bill” is a sham

The bill currently being debated on the House floor is a joke, and makes a mockery of serious attempts at allowing more domestic offshore drilling. Congressman Mike Pence (R-IN) has issued a call to arms:

I wanted to make sure you don’t miss the charade that’s being carried out on the floor of the U.S. House today. The Drill-Nothing Democrats finally brought their no-energy energy bill to the floor of the House today for a vote.

We need your help to defeat this bill. Call the Capitol switchboard at 202-224-3121 and tell the Democrats in your state delegation to vote “NO” on Speaker Pelosi’s energy bill.

They bypassed the entire committee process in order to do this. In fact, just last week, the drill-nothing Democrat Congress announced they would bring an energy bill to the floor that includes more drilling, and now they say Republicans have to take “yes” for an answer.

I would suggest that they look at the fine print. The drill-nothing Democrat Congress has brought a bill that actually includes basically “drill-almost-nothing” provisions.

They say “yes” to drilling, but not in Alaska, not in the Eastern Gulf and not within 50 miles. They say “yes” to drilling but states must decide, even though they get absolutely no revenues for choosing to drill. I guess states are just going to allow drilling out of the goodness of their hearts. They say “yes” to drilling but litigation rules will allow environmental lawyers to tie up all leases from the very day they’re filed.

It’s time to end the charade! Stop playing politics with American energy independence! Bring a full and fair debate to this floor, and we will achieve a bipartisan result.

We need your help to defeat this bill. Call the Capitol switchboard at 202-224-3121 and tell the Democrats in your state delegation to vote “NO” on Speaker Pelosi’s energy bill.

Congresswoman Virginia Foxx (R-NC) is on the warpath as well:

Washington, DC—Congresswoman Virginia Foxx today voiced strong opposition to legislation drafted behind closed doors that will prohibit North Carolina from receiving revenue from new offshore oil drilling. Instead all revenue from new offshore drilling leases will go straight into federal government coffers. The bill, HR 6889, does not allow for any amendments and was written and introduced without Republican input.

“This bill is a slap in the face to the state of North Carolina” Rep. Foxx said. “It would lock North Carolina out of a share of the $2.6 trillion in tax revenue from new drilling right off our shores. What a sham.”

The new 290-page legislation was introduced just before midnight last night, only hours before it is scheduled for a vote. It does not allow amendments or Republican alternatives. In addition, bill was written behind closed doors and did not go through the normal committee process.

“This bill is wrong for North Carolina and it is wrong for America” Rep. Foxx said. “Is Speaker Pelosi so concerned with placating her extremist environmental backers that she has to push through this legislation to lock coastal states out of oil revenue?”

“Today’s farce of a bill not only steals North Carolina’s new coastal energy revenue, but it also locks us out of the energy debate. Thanks a lot, Speaker Pelosi. This bill is a perfect example of the House Democrats’ broken promises.”

Foxx today also voiced opposition to provisions in the legislation that would permanently lock up more than 95 percent of offshore oil on the west coast and 88 percent of offshore oil overall.

Note: Gulf coast states like Texas and Louisiana currently receive a share of revenues from offshore drilling, which last year were about $9 billion. The Norfolk, Va. Virginian-Pilot reports that this bill blocks “coastal states from sharing in a $2.6 trillion bonanza of tax revenue expected to flow from offshore fields.”

ST reader stevegg’s Congressman Paul Ryan (R-WI) is on the same page.

Here’s the AP story on the back and forth going on between House Dems and Reps on this bill:

WASHINGTON (AP) — The House moved toward a vote Tuesday on whether to allow oil drilling off the nation’s Atlantic and Pacific coastlines — but only 50 or more miles out, well beyond where most of the estimated 18 billion barrels of recoverable oil is believed to be located.

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said the bill “represents a new direction in energy policy” as it also funnels billions of dollars collected from new taxes and royalties on large oil companies to promote alternative fuels and energy efficiency in an attempt to move the country away from fossil fuels.

But Republicans called it a ruse to provide political cover to Democrats feeling pressure to support more drilling at a time of high gas prices and maintained it would not lead to more oil production.

Pelosi, who not long ago characterized Republican demands to lift the ban on offshore drilling a hoax, shifted gears in recent weeks and conceded some drilling measure would have to be part of any energy package.

Expanded offshore drilling has become a mantra of GOP energy policy that has been felt on the presidential and congressional campaign trails, despite wide agreement that lifting the drilling ban — in place for 26 years — would have little if any impact on gasoline prices or produce any oil for years.

Republican presidential candidate John McCain’s vowed at the recently concluded GOP convention to push for new offshore oil and gas drilling amid delegate chants of “drill, baby drill” and his Democratic rival, Barack Obama, said he supported more drilling as part of a broader energy package.

The Democrats’ bill would allow drilling in waters 50 miles from shore almost everywhere from New England to Washington state as long as a state agrees to go along with energy development off its coast line. Beyond 100 miles, no state approval would be required. The drilling ban would remain in the eastern Gulf of Mexico.

But Republicans lashed out at the Democratic concession and accused Pelosi of trying to deceive the public and simply provide cover from Democrats this election year with a vote on offshore drilling.

They cited Interior Department estimates that 88 percent of the 18 billion barrels of oil believed to be in waters now under drilling bans would remain off limits because they are within 50 miles of shore. And they said few states would likely agree to drilling since the bill does not provide states with any of the royalties from the new energy production.

It’s a bill “written in the dark of night” that won’t do a thing about the supply of energy, said House Republican leader John Boehner of Ohio. “It’s a hoax on the American people. This is intended for one reason … so the Democrats can say we voted on energy.”

Republican anger punctuated the floor debate as Democrats refused to allow any amendments to the 290-page bill, keeping GOP leaders from to bring up a much broader drilling proposal that would open waters as close as 12 miles from shore if states agree.

Should this bill pass the House, it may be DOA in the Senate according to Lousianna Democrat Senator Mary Landrieu:

Even if the bill reaches the Senate, he said, the bill is in trouble, given strong opposition by Sen. Mary Landrieu, D-La., who calls it “dead on arrival” since it fails to provide revenue sharing between the states and federal government.

“The Senate will never pass a bill without revenue sharing, in my view” she was quoted as saying.

Now would be a great time to contact your Senator(s), Democrat or Republican, and let them know how you feel about the issue of domestic offshore drilling and any phoney attempts on the part of Congressional Democrats to craft toothless bills which do nothing but provide them with political cover in time for the elections.

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