Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Boehner Column: "We Need an 'All of the Above' Energy Strategy"

We moved one step closer to developing our own natural resources to provide American energy with the White House announcement that President Bush will lift an executive ban on deep-ocean drilling. But that alone does nothing as it must be matched by congressional action.

Unfortunately, those in control of the U.S. House stubbornly refuse to unlock U.S. resources to help bring down prices at the pump while we wait for emerging technologies and alternative energy sources to become viable for mass consumption. As American families and small businesses face record prices at the pump, they are counting on their leaders in Congress to work together on reforms to help reduce fuel costs. Ending this outdated ban now will help reduce our costly dependence on foreign sources of energy, empower states and local jurisdictions to make decisions about energy exploration, and will also create thousands of good-paying jobs.

For weeks now, House Republicans have tried to bring legislation to a vote in the U.S. House that would help bring down gas prices and put us on a path to being energy independent. Time and again, those bills get caught up in political maneuverings from the Majority party that worships at the altar of radical environmentalism. We’re looking to open up remote, barren land in Alaska for drilling, unlock our deep-ocean resources and develop clean coal-to-liquids technology in what we call an “all of the above” energy strategy. All options should be put on the table, and lawmakers should have the opportunity to vote on them.

While I am promoting the “all of the above” strategy, others in the House are clinging to a “no energy” agenda. Democratic House leaders have announced they would support supposedly speeding up development of energy resources out of Alaska ’s National Petroleum Reserve (NRP-A). But just last year, Democrats passed an energy bill that would actually discourage development in this area. Do they plan to overturn their previous legislation and join House Republicans in unlocking our natural resources for development?

Democrats also claim they will “reconstitute a ban on the export of Alaskan oil” but we currently do not export Alaskan oil so “reconstituting” a ban would be pointless, although it makes for a good rhetoric. The much-heralded “use it or lose it” legislation also makes for good rhetoric but again, it’s completely unnecessary as oil and natural gas companies exploring on federally-leased land must produce results within five to 10 years or they will lose their lease. And the millions of acres some claim is just sitting around untouched is false. At today’s prices, it makes no sense that a company would sit on an oil find rather than develop it and get it onto the market.

We have few legislative days left before the House is scheduled to begin its traditional August break. I believe that we should not leave Washington until lawmakers have the opportunity to vote on meaningful legislation that will help bring down gas prices and set us on the road to energy independence. The more time we waste, the more our working families and small business will suffer. The American public has made it clear that they expect their leaders in Washington to take action to provide some kind of relief from soaring energy prices. The Democratic-run House should stop defying the will of the people and join with Republicans to implement an “all of the above” comprehensive energy strategy that will end our near-total dependence on foreign resources and allow us to develop our own.


Anonymous said...

You say "And the millions of acres some claim is just sitting around untouched is false. At today’s prices, it makes no sense that a company would sit on an oil find rather than develop it and get it onto the market."
It may seem to make no sense, but it IS TRUE that oil companies already have leases on vastly MORE millions of acres than could be "freed up" under any Bush proposal for new exploration. Just check it out, my friend. It isn't nutty left-wing propaganda either -- it just simply happens to be TRUE. Your push for a balanced approach ("all of the above") is generally sensible, but you don't acknowledge the lag of 8 to 10 years before a drop of oil from "new exploration" could reach the market. Better to emphasize conservation NOW, to have any measurable effect NOW. While we'll always need oil, we do NOT need to rely on oil for our general energy needs into the distant future.

Matt Hurley said...

I will pass your comments along to the congressman's staff, but I wanted to address a few of your comments myself...

The problem with the leases is that those are lands upon which oil must be explored. Meaning no one is sure that there is oil on those lands.

As for the 8 to 10 years business... Personally, I don't think it will take that long. 2 to 5 years at most with current technology. It may have taken 8 to 10 back in the Clinton administration when this was first proposed, but oil extraction techniques have improved over the years.

And the truth is, we don't necessarily need the oil in the market to effect the price. When President Bush rescinded the Executive Order on exploring the outer continental shelf, the price light sweet crude oil dropped quite a bit. Nearly overnight. Why? Because we aren't paying for the gasoline we are putting in our cars, we are paying for the gasoline that will be replacing the gasoline we are putting in our cars.

Conservation is a good and noble purpose...and it is also already having an effect, as we are now driving at rates similar to those from years ago. But let's not pretend that conservation alone is the answer...we do need to take an "all of the above" strategy and get to work right now. The longer we delay, the longer there will be higher gas prices and the more likely that our economy takes a stronger hit.

Anonymous said...

Matt --
I appreciate your measured response to my comments. Your position now is clearly not the same as that displayed in the dismissive comments of your original blog entry. I take it you DO now acknowledge that there are millions of acres already leased that aren't now producing; it's unclear exactly how much exploration has in fact occurred.

These links are quite informative:




It's also being reported today that a Senate compromise may be afoot. It takes more of the "all of the above" approach we both appear to advocate:


Matt Hurley said...

Well, please don't confuse the publication of a column written by John Boehner as being my words... I do have an email in to Congressman Boehner's staff regarding your comments, but I do not speak for him.

Having said that, this is a true statement by the Congressman: "And the millions of acres some claim is just sitting around untouched is false. At today’s prices, it makes no sense that a company would sit on an oil find rather than develop it and get it onto the market." If there was oil on those lands, it seems highly unlikely that an energy company would just sit on it. And if there isn't any oil produced, those leases do become void...that is the law already. That is the point that Boehner is making when he says that the "use it or lose it" legislation sounds good, but is not necessary, nor is it a solution.

I support -- as John Boehner does -- a solution that supports expanding our energy supplies by any method that we can do so. I think the Pickens Plan (and I haven't asked Rep. Boehner about the Pickens Plan) is not likely to work to achieve the objective he has laid out, but I certainly support the effort to give it a try.

And there is certainly room for more conservation efforts as well...