Even Some Republicans Oppose Plundering
|December 31, 2005||Posted by Staff under Progress Report, The Progress Report|
Even Some Republicans Oppose Plundering
GOP Group Rebukes Party Leaders for Post-Katrina Drilling Push
So far, we have seen three news releases from the Republicans for Environmental Protection, and every one was on-target. These smart people ought to keep using their brains and leave the decaying GOP altogether, and move into a much stronger role with the Green Party instead. REP America, the national grassroots organization of Republicans for Environmental Protection, is disappointed that Republican leaders in Congress plan to use the Hurricane Katrina disaster and gasoline price increases to push their longtime goals of opening up protected areas to oil and gas drilling.
“What we are seeing is a blatant effort to exploit a national tragedy to advance long-held oil and gas industry objectives,” said David Jenkins, government affairs director for REP America. “I hope that a majority of our Republicans in Congress will see this misguided opportunism for what it is and reject it.”
Last week, Congressman Joe Barton, chairman of the House Energy & Commerce Committee, described the possibility that the hurricane might increase public support for expanded drilling as a “silver lining,” and called for lifting offshore drilling restrictions and for drilling in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge.
Other congressional leaders are exploiting the Katrina aftermath in an effort to rush through opening of protected areas to oil and gas drilling. They include House Majority Leader Tom DeLay, Resources Committee Chairman Richard Pombo, and Senator Pete Domenici, chairman of the Energy and Natural Resources Committee, who announced his intent to open protected offshore areas by saying, “I’m going to go after OCS (Outer Continental Shelf).”
Citing energy security concerns and environmental impacts, REP America has been lobbying Congress to reduce the nation’s dangerous dependence on oil. America, a nation that holds only 2 percent of the world’s crude oil reserves, cannot continue to depend on oil to meet 40 percent of its energy needs.
“If anything, Katrina has spotlighted the increasing perils of our heavy dependence on oil,” said Jim DiPeso, REP America policy director. “There is no prospect whatsoever that opening the Arctic Refuge and protected offshore areas to drilling would reduce the nation’s energy supply and price vulnerabilities. Whether it comes from off America’s coasts, from Alaska’s Arctic via an aging aboveground pipeline, or from the politically unstable Middle East, oil is an increasingly vulnerable energy source. Heavy oil dependence leaves our economy wide open to price and supply shocks.”
Opening the Arctic Refuge would have virtually no impact on gasoline prices. REP America pointed to a recent report from the federal Energy Information Administration (EIA) showing that drilling in the Arctic Refuge would reduce gasoline prices by less than a penny 20 years from now.
“Anyone who claims that drilling in the Arctic Refuge will substantially reduce gas prices is either astonishingly misinformed or is intentionally not telling the truth to the American people,” DiPeso said.
The report, “Modeled Provisions of HR 6 EH: The Energy Policy Act of 2005, was published July 29.
Energy efficiency and alternative fuel and transportation technologies will reduce our economy’s vulnerability to hurricanes and other events that drive up oil and gas prices. The United States demonstrated in the early 1980s that greater fuel efficiency is an effective path to gasoline price reductions.
“At a time when our party should be providing forward-thinking leadership on energy, it is truly unfortunate that some choose instead to exploit current events and perpetuate America’s dangerous dependence on oil,” Jenkins said. “It is time for our Republican leaders to step up and act in the long-term interest of the American people, rather than the short-term interests of the oil and gas industry.”
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