Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Same day, different perspectives

Senator John McCain: "... would not drill in the Grand Canyon... I believe this area (ANWR) should be kept pristine."

Senator Kay Bailey Hutchison: "ANWR is not all a pristine Eden."

If Maverick ever showed up for work at his paying job, some of this may have sunk in.
When investigating America’s assortment of energy problems, a common theme starts to emerge: the more you look around, the more you’ll find government taxes, regulations, and subsidies that distort the market, raise prices, and increase our dependence on dictators thousands of miles away.

In May, I joined my Senate Republican colleagues to introduce legislation that would go a long way toward solving our energy problems. How? By increasing the supply through development of our own natural resources. Our bill, The American Energy Production Act of 2008, will remove unnecessary government barriers to domestic energy production.

The most obvious example of unnecessary federal interference is the ban on oil production in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge. Despite its lofty name, ANWR is not all a pristine Eden. Rather, the area that would be drilled is a frozen tundra where temperatures can reach 70 degrees below zero in the winter. As even the Washington Post admitted, ANWR “is one of the bleakest, most remote places on this continent, and there is hardly any other where drilling would have less impact on the surrounding life.” In 1995, the Republican Congress passed legislation to open ANWR — which is estimated to contain 10.4 billion barrels of oil — for energy production. But President Clinton vetoed our bill. If he had signed it, today America would be producing almost enough oil to replace all of our daily imports from Saudi Arabia. By consistently blocking ANWR production, we are failing to help America become less dependent on foreign imports for basic economic needs.

But the problem goes beyond ANWR. Current federal law prevents oil and gas production in the deepwaters off the Atlantic and Pacific Coasts. These laws, which were first passed in 1981 when the price of oil was $35 per barrel, were a luxury at the time, but today, given America’s growing energy needs, they are indefensible. The fact is, these areas, along with another energy-rich section of the Gulf of Mexico, could contain as much as 115 billion barrels of oil — which is greater than Venezuela’s current reserves — and 565 trillion cubic feet of natural gas — which is greater than the combined reserves of Iraq, China, Yemen, Oman, Nigeria, and Venezuela. Federal laws also prevent us from exploiting one trillion barrels of shale oil in Colorado, Wyoming, and Utah — an amazing amount that is three times what Saudi Arabia has on reserve. Our bill, the American Energy Production Act of 2008, would allow us to tap these resources with environmental safeguards.

As conservatives, we must unite to repeal one of the most misguided policies of the last decade — government mandates to increase the production of corn-based ethanol. These policies — which give incentives to farmers to divert their plantings from other crops to corn in order to produce ethanol — have been robbing the world of one of its most important sources of food.
Read the entire column by Senator Kay Bailey Hutchison at NRO.

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