'Drill Now' Revolt Continues

Today House Speaker Nancy Pelosi jets her way into the fourth week of her book tour with a dismal sales rank (as of Saturday night) on of 22,184th.   Some 22,183 books are selling better than Pelosi’s own as House Republicans maintain their high-voltage revolt on Capitol Hill and nationwide demanding that Pelosi bring the House back into session for a vote to end the Congressional embargo on offshore drilling.

Instead of returning to debate their colleagues on practical energy policy last week, Democrats kept floating their wacky ideas.  Democrat Majority Leader Steny Hoyer asked the Office of Personnel Management to provide him with “a comprehensive analysis” of a transition by federal government employees to a four-day work week.  Not altogether surprising, given the breathtaking void between these elitist Democrat leaders and Americans living in the real world.  Without getting even one of the twelve annual  appropriation bills to the President’s desk for signature, Pelosi adjourned the House for a five-week vacation.  Now it’s a four-day work week for federal employees put forth by Hoyer.  If Democrat leadership would prefer to live in socialist Europe, they should relocate with all speed and take their failed ideology with them.

Back in the House Chamber, Republican members of Congress continued to put forth practical ideas for solutions to America’s struggle with high gasoline prices.

Rep. Darrell Issa (R-Calif.), Army veteran and founder of a very successful California-based electronics company, gave a thorough rundown of the tax and royalty benefits that would pour into the federal government from offshore drilling and ANWR to an audience of vacationers on the Capitol Hill tour.  

I caught up to Issa after his speech to ask him to recap the stunning facts he put forth in his speech.  Issa graciously reiterated that from “the $700 billion that goes overseas [for oil each year], we get no royalties.  We would get about $140 billion in royalties if that oil were being produced on federal land.  We also would pick up about $210 billion in taxes from the people and the companies employed to do it in the United States.  So that puts you at around $350 billion of domestic benefit just from taxes and direct royalties, and that doesn’t include the fact that those people with their high-paying jobs employ other people, buy boats, buy cars and do the other things that feed America.”

Now we’re getting somewhere.  Numbers like this coming into federal coffers should cause politicians on both sides of the aisle to salivate.  Since Issa clearly has a firm grasp of the issue and the rare political courage to speak plain English, I asked about radical environmentalist objections to drilling in the Arctic National Wildlife Reserve.  Issa said, “ANWR is just the name for an area that is contiguous to Prudhoe Bay where we have been producing millions and millions of barrels a day for decades… We could take several thousand acres that would be used for drilling in ANWR and we could give ten times as many [acres] to the preserve just contiguous to it, just a little bit over.  I’ve been up there personally.  I’ve seen the tundra that stretches on for hundreds of miles.  It is a beautiful, pristine wilderness but there’s no shortage of beautiful, pristine wilderness up there when you have tens of thousands of square miles of identical wilderness.”

Contrast that plain speaking with Pelosi’s rhetoric: “… [we must] invest in renewable energy resources, which will bring a faster return than drilling offshore, which will take 10 years and produce two cents’ reduction in 10 years off the price at the pump.”

Actually, the market responds immediately to the knowledge that supply is headed for the pipeline.  America also get bonus points for rattling OPEC’s cage  as oil prices drop.

When asked to respond to Pelosi’s “ten years” nonsense, Issa quipped, “In Washington we don’t call people liars.  What we say is that they’re being disingenuous.  The Speaker is being disingenuous.”

When asked about the length of time it would take to get oil from the ground to the pump, Rep. Steve King (R-IA) responded, “Here are the facts:  It took an act of Congress in 1973 to clear out the environmentalist litigation hurdles for Alaskan oil and initiate development of the North Slope oil.  Once the environmentalist hurdles were cleared, it was a mere 35 months before oil was pouring from the pipeline at Valdez.  Developing ANWR oil will be the same terrain but logistically far easier than developing the North Slope.”

As difficult as it may be for many of us to acknowledge, 1973 was 35 years ago.  Without getting into a great deal of technical jargon, it is safe to assume that some technological advances have been made in the oil industry in that timeframe.

Rep. Marsha Blackburn (R-Tenn.) brought up some urgent conditions that governments at the local level are facing.  Blackburn told me, “Our local governments look at it from a couple of different angles.  Number one — the increased cost at the pump for all of our school systems, our law enforcement agencies and counties that have motor vehicle pools.  They’re trying to work those budgets out, they’re getting ready for fiscal year to begin and they don’t know exactly what to expect.  Because what they have learned in the past year is that this just might not have a ceiling.  People thought $3 a gallon might be a ceiling and then they thought $4 a gallon might be a ceiling.  I talked to some folks here from California last week and they had paid $6 a gallon on Pacific Coast Highway.  $6 a gallon!  So there is a concern for what the expectation may be as they’re working up that angle of their budget.  The other end of it affects our state governments when they are looking at the revenue that comes into their highway trust fund as people are looking to try to find ways to drive less.  Then what they are seeing is that decrease in revenue and saying how is this going to affect us?”

Pelosi’s actions — as she leaves a massive carbon footprint in her apparently fruitless book tour — are indicative of the quality of life these limousine liberals have in mind for the people in flyover country.  We are the ones who are expected to do all of the conserving, we are the ones who are expected to put in a full work week and pay ever-increasing taxes to support the Democrats’ failed extreme environmentalist policies.