Wednesday, September 17, 2008

House Passes Tepid Offshore Bill

House OKs bill allowing more offshore oil drilling.

WASHINGTON (CNN) -- The House of Representatives on Tuesday night passed an energy bill clearing the way for more oil drilling off U.S. coasts, but not nearly as much as Republican leaders wanted.

The bill would expand offshore oil drilling, but not to the extent that many Republicans want.

The bill was passed by a vote of 236-189.

Many Republicans opposed the bill because it would allow new oil drilling only between 50 and 100 miles offshore. Republicans generally want to allow new drilling starting 3 miles from shore.

Republicans also objected to provisions repealing tax cuts for the oil industry and what they said was a lack of incentive for states to allow drilling on their land.

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, a California Democrat, told reporters Tuesday: "The American taxpayers have been ripped off for years on offshore drilling. This bill changes that."
Excuse me? There has been an offshore drilling ban for 26 years. Taxpayers have been ripped off by nonexistant offshore drilling? You really need to have attended Moscow University's Karl Marx department to follow that line of reasoning. Government has been ripping off taxpayers for 200 years so I'm not sure why Pelosi has a problem with oil companies.

Before the vote, Pelosi said the bill presented a choice between "the status quo, which is preferred by Big Oil," and "change for the future to take our country in a new direction."

Fifteen Republicans voted for the largely Democrat-backed bill. Thirteen Democrats voted against it.

The Senate, meanwhile, could vote on various energy proposals, including more offshore drilling, as early as this week.

The House bill would require states to give their permission for drilling on their land. It also would offer incentives for renewable energy, require the government to release oil from its emergency reserve, and force oil companies to drill on federal lands they already lease from the government.

Democratic leaders had previously opposed Republican-led efforts to repeal a 1981 law barring most offshore drilling. But they changed course over the August recess, saying their new plans would allow some expanded drilling. See where U.S. offshore drilling is banned »

But Republicans say the House bill wouldn't expand offshore drilling enough. Before the vote, Rep. Mike Pence, an Indiana Republican, called the bill "a charade," denying it would do what its backers claim.

"This is not 'yes' to drilling. This is 'yes, but,' " he said.

"This is 'yes, but no drilling in Alaska, no drilling in the Eastern Gulf, no drilling inside 50 miles,' " Pence said. "This is 'yes, but no litigation reform that will prevent radical environmental attorneys from tying up leases even before a single shovel of dirt is turned.' "

Democrats and Republicans traded harsh words on the House floor Tuesday in the debate over the bill.

Rep. Anthony Weiner, a New York Democrat, said President Bush's "idea of an energy policy is holding hands with the crown prince of Saudi Arabia, embracing him with a big smooch."

When the Republicans "controlled Congress, [they] passed their own energy bill, signed into law by the president. We got into this mess," Weiner said.

But Rep. Jeb Hensarling, a Texas Republican, shot back that the Democrats' bill is a "sham" and a "fraud."

"This is a bill designed to ensure Democrats' re-election, not designed to ensure affordable energy in America," Hensarling said.

Hensarling also complained about how the bill was brought to the floor: "No amendments, no substitutes, no committee hearings. Is this democracy? No."


Anaconda said...


Is this a good bill? No, its not.


It does get the ball rolling. Almost every other country that has a coastline with the potential for offshore oil & gas is producing oil or has started the process of producing oil.

My hunch is that once average Americans see the benign environmental effects of offshore oil exploration & production, opposition will decrease and support will increase even more than is already the case.

Also, the Senate has to pass a bill and hopefully the bill can be improved, i.e., increase the amount of area open for drilling.

One must recognize that for the Democratic leadership this is a significant turn around. Turn arounds don't happen all at once.

Is this bill enough? No, it's not.

But the ball is rolling and I suspect the ball will roll even faster as time passes.

The Oil Is Mastery website has chronicled offshore oil & gas production and offshore geology because it's the future of major new discoveries and it's the best proof of oil's Abiotic origin.

America needs to "jump" into the future with both feet.

The future is Abiotic Oil.

Anaconda said...


Should this bill become law in its present form, there still appears to be areas that can be explored for oil & gas production.

The oil industry should take advantage of the opportunity to be environmentally responsible.

The oil industry already has proved their environmental safety record in the Gulf of Mexico.

There are areas where the House bill allows oil drilling that have potential for discoveries.

The scientific paper entiltled: Formation of spreading zones on the ocean floor (by the example of hydrocarbon deposits formation in the Sakhalin Island). gives a good description of 'transform fault' tectonics as it relates to oil. An example of a 'transform fault' is the San Andreas Fault in California of big earthquake fame.

There also happens to be oil and gas seeps that run along the San Andreas' length.

There are transform faults in offshore areas where drilling is allowed in the current bill.

Getting back to the paper on Sakhalin Island, it states in part:

"Transform plate boundaries representing wide zones of deep faults along which shifting of lithospheric plates occurs, are just such structures in the ocean."

And futher:

"These basins, in which the crust is thinned and cut by numerous deep faults, are most prospective for formation of hydrocarbon accumulations belonging to the type under consideration."


"We can consider here a model of hydrocarbon deposits formation on the example of Sakhalin hydrocarbon deposits, in conditions of oceanic crust extension (transform
fault zone), in the thermal convection regime, and with serpentinite layer as a contributing


"Let us consider in more detail possibilities of hydrocarbon deposits formation in similar geodynamic situation on the Sakhalin Island, in the adjacent area of the Sea of Okhotsk, and in the Aleutian islands region. The geological situations comparable with the conditions of hydrocarbon deposits formation along shift plate boundaries may also appear within the tectonic microplate boundaries."


"Serpentinites may present in thrust blocks and detached masses, as well as in nuclei of chariages composed of low-density serpentinites. These chariages are overlain by oil and gas bearing deposits of the Pilski complex, and are underlain by Nizhnenutovsk rocks. Traps of the serpentinization zone are characterized by the massive reservoir type, porous-fissure and cavernous-fissure collector

The transform faults in U.S. territorial waters are more than 50 miles off the West coast, and present virgin unexplored territory for oil & gas production.

When the Sakhalin paper's description is considered in conjunction with Keith's Hydrothermal Hydrocarbons, theory it seems quite possible that large deposits of oil & gas exist in deposits more than 50 miles offshore.

When the ball is rolling, pick it up and run with it.

Anaconda said...


This writer has railed on the Democratic Leadership for its blocking of offshore oil exploration & production.

At first blush, this writer wanted to lend some support to the House passed energy bill, trying to make lemonade out of lemons.

And in an effort to support compromise because energy policy should be bipartisan.

But in reviewing other commentary, it's apparent this bill is a sham.

When Democratic Senator Mary Landrieu from Louisanna states the House bill is "dead on arrival" in the Senate, that's significant.

The House bill is a fig leaf.

Energy policy is too important for election year "fig leafs."

Apparently, the Democratic Leadership still doesn't get it.

Energy policy needs a bipartisan foundation, but it needs to be a real energy policy.

Unless, substantial changes are made in the U.S. Senate, either the Senate should not move the bill, or President Bush should follow through on his veto threat and veto this Democratic fig leaf.

The Democratic Leadership in the House is duplicitous -- that is sad. Let's hope the Senate rises to the challenge of leadership and sends a realistic bill back to the House.

But there is an ultimate backstop that favors offshore oil drilling: The moratorium on offshore drilling ends without an affirmative vote from both the House and Senate that is signed by the President.

While a bipartisan agreement on offshore drilling is preferable, a "down to the mat fight" maybe the only way to make the Democratic Leadership see the light and come to their senses.

The American People support an agressive offshore drilling policy.

The Democratic Leaderhip has to come to terms with that reality or pay the political consequences.