Death of offshore ban is an American victory

Despite the gloom on Wall Street, Americans should be celebrating one of the most significant legislative victories in a generation. A victory that, if protected against legislative and legal challenges, could bolster U.S. economic strength for years to come. As of Oct. 1, the congressional ban on offshore oil drilling in federal waters will die an entirely salutary death. Also dead, hopefully, is the longstanding ban on development of oil shale deposits in the American West.

First, as to the size of the victory: The Associated Press noted that being pro-drilling went from a “political liability” to a triumphant position in just “a matter of months.” It never would have happened without Indiana’s Mike Pence in the House and his compatriots taking to the House floor, day after day in August, protesting against the House officially being in “recess” during an energy crisis. And it would not have happened without South Carolina’s Jim DeMint in the Senate heading off bogus “compromise” drilling bills by repeatedly reminding wavering colleagues that the ban would die on its own if they stayed firm.

They and like-minded Republican members of Congress and some hardy pro-drilling Democrats alike made a strong public case. A new survey by the Institute for Energy Research shows that a whopping 73 percent of Americans now believe, rightly, that we can do more offshore drilling while still protecting the environment. The public understands that more domestic drilling means greater security and lower prices at the pump.

Still, hurdles remain. House Appropriations Chairman David Obey, D-Wis., pledged to try reinstating the drilling ban later. This week, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid was pushing an amendment to renew the ban on oil shale. And the giant six-month spending bill about to pass Congress includes language that is an open invitation for lawsuits against offshore drilling. Rep. John Shadegg, R-Ariz., has noted that radical environmentalists are using the courts to harass existing leases, so much that they have filed lawsuits to block the entire five-year program for areas already open to drilling.

The next battles, then, will be to block Reid’s oil-shale amendment, and to pass Shadegg’s eminently reasonable proposal to consolidate all anti-drilling lawsuits into one court and ensure that the trial and appeals be heard within one year.

General OpinionOpinion

If you find our journalism valuable and relevant, please consider joining our Examiner membership program.
Find out more at www.sfexaminer.com/join/

Just Posted

Second grader Genesis Ulloa leads students in an after-school community hub in a game at the Mission YMCA on Friday, May 7, 2021. (Kevin N. Hume/S.F. Examiner)
SF parents face school year with hope, trepidation and concern

‘Honestly, I don’t know how I’m going to deal with it’

Health care workers in the intensive care unit at Providence Saint John’s Health Center in Santa Monica, with Alejandro Balderas, a 44-year-old patient who later died. Even in California, a state with a coronavirus vaccination rate well above average, the number of people hospitalized with COVID-19 has nearly doubled in the past two weeks, according to a New York Times database. (Isadora Kosofsky/The New York Times)
Why COVID took off in California, again

‘The good news is: The vaccines are working’

Lake Oroville stood at 33 percent full and 40 percent of historical average when this photograph was taken on Tuesday, June 29, 2021. (Brian van der Brug / Los Angeles Times via Tribune News Service)
A kayaker on the water at Lake Oroville, which stands at 33 percent full and 40 percent of historical average when this photograph was taken on Tuesday, June 29, 2021 in Oroville, Calif. (Brian van der Brug / Los Angeles Times via Tribune News Service)
Facing ‘dire water shortages,’ California bans Delta pumping

By Rachel Becker CalMatters In an aggressive move to address “immediate and… Continue reading

Most Read