July 13, 2008

Today President Bush lifted the executive ban on off-shore drilling first enacted by his father is 1990, and had the audacity to blame Democrats for the high price of gas. No, I'm not kidding.

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Bush's cynicism on this issue is simply breath-taking. He's trying to exploit the anger Americans are feeling over the crushing price of fuel by blaming Democrats and challenging them to allow a vote on a bill that would have ZERO immediate impact on fuel costs, but would be very difficult (politically speaking) to oppose. Just like the Republicans do with every possible issue, they feed off voter resentment and play cynical politics with a very serious and complicated problem.

The fact that opening up off-shore drilling sites won't yield more resources for at least a decade doesn't matter. What matters is that Republicans can use the issue as a political bludgeon to bash Democrats with, all the while just prolonging our addiction to foreign oil. Shameful.

Nicole adds: And for all the talk that drilling would provide a psychological boost and drop prices, it's noteworthy that oil is slightly up today at more than $145/barrel. You'd think such a presidential announcement would provide a nice drop -- even if short-lived -- if there was a psychological element to this. Nope.

Senator Obama:

If offshore drilling would provide short-term relief at the pump or a long-term strategy for energy independence, it would be worthy of our consideration, regardless of the risks. But most experts, even within the Bush Administration, concede it would do neither. It would merely prolong the failed energy policies we have seen from Washington for thirty years.

Check below the fold for more responses and a thorough debunking on this farce George Bush and John McCain call an energy policy.

Carol Pope, Executive Director of the SierraClub:

"This is the most cynical of political ploys. Even the Bush administration admits that offshore drilling will do absolutely nothing to lower gas prices, today, tomorrow, or even a decade from now. This is nothing more than an attempt to exploit the suffering of hardworking Americans in order to pad Big Oil’s bottom line. [...] America simply cannot afford another president from the Grand Oil Party.

Speaker Pelosi:

Once again, the oilman in the White House is echoing the demands of Big Oil.

Progressive Accountability put together this fact sheet:

McCain's Voting Record And Policies Favor Big Oil

McCain's Tax Plan Gives Top Five Oil Companies $3.8 Billion A Year In Tax Breaks. According to a study conducted by the Center for American Progress, “The McCain plan would deliver approximately $170 billion a year in tax cuts to corporations, including some corporations that are very large and profitable. Just one of the proposals-cutting the corporate rate from 35 percent to 25 percent-would cut taxes for five largest U.S. oil companies by $3.8 billion a year.” [Center for American Progress, 3/27/08]

McCain Voted Against Reducing Dependence On Foreign Oil. In 2005, McCain voted against legislation calling on the President to submit a plan to reduce foreign petroleum imports by 40 percent. [Senate Roll Call Vote #140, 6/16/05]

In 2005, McCain Voted Against a Windfall Profit Tax on Oil Companies At Least Twice. McCain voted against a measure that would have provided an income tax rebate to Americans by taxing enormous oil company profits temporarily on an sale of crude above $40 a barrel. [S 2020, Vote #331, 11/17/05; S 2020, Vote # 341, 11/17/05; Houston Chronicle, 11/17/05; Las Vegas Review-Journal, 11/18/05; Environment and Energy Daily¸ 11/18/05]

McCain Voted Against Taxing Oil Companies To Provide $100 Rebate To Consumers. In 2005, McCain voted against an amendment to impose a temporary tax on oil company profits from the sale of crude oil. The funds would be used to provide every taxpayer with a $100 non-refundable tax credit for 2005 for each person in their household. The amendment failed 33-65. [S 2020, Vote #341, 11/17/05]

McCain Voted Against Temporarily Taxing Oil Companies to Finance Tax Rebate For Consumers. In 2005, McCain voted against an amendment to would impose a temporary 50 percent tax on oil company profits from the sale of crude oil. Funds collected from the tax would be used to provide a consumer tax credit for petroleum products. The amendment failed 35-64. [S 2020, Vote #331, 11/17/05]

McCain Called To End Off Shore Drilling Ban; Boon For Big Oil

McCain Now: McCain Called For Lifting The Off Shore Drilling Moratorium. During a press availability in Arlington Virginia, John McCain called for a lifting of the federal moratorium on offshore drilling. McCain said, “I think that's a subject of negotiation and discussion. But right now, as you know there's a moratorium. And those moratorium, in my view, moratoria, have to be lifted. And they have to be lifted so that states can make those decisions. I'm not dictating to the states that they drill or they engage in oil exploration. I am saying that the moratoria should be lifted so they have the opportunity to do so. And by the way, I would also like to see perhaps additional incentives if the states, in the form of tangible financial rewards if the states decide to lift those moratoria.” [McCain Press Avail 6/16/07]

  • Houston Chronicle: McCain Announced Drilling Stance To “Make Amends With Texas Energy Producers.” The Houston Chronicle Reported, “Republican presidential candidate John McCain, seeking to make amends with Texas energy producers who did not support him during the 2008 GOP primary season, said Monday he wants to end a federal moratorium on offshore drilling and create “additional incentives” for states to approve new exploration ventures.” [Houston Chronicle, 6/17/08]

McCain Said Coasts “Should Be Open To Exploration and Exploitation.” John McCain said, “So I do believe that there are places in the world, as I said, that we should not drill. But I certainly think there are areas off our coasts that should be open to exploration and exploitation. And I hope that we can take the first step, by lifting the moratoria in order to do so.” [McCain Press Avail 6/16/07]

McCain Then: He Opposed Off-Shore Drilling At Least Three Times, and Twice Supported Florida Efforts To Prevent Drilling Off Their Coasts.

  • McCain Voted Against Off-Shore Drilling. In 2005, McCain voted for an amendment that would strike language instructing the Interior Department to conduct a comprehensive inventory of Outer Continental Shelf oil and natural gas resources. The amendment failed 44-52. [H.R. 6, Vote #143, 6/21/2005]
  • McCain Voted Against Off-Shore Drilling. In 2003, McCain voted against a provision requiring a survey and inventory of possible off-shore oil and natural gas deposits by the Secretary of the Interior. He voted for an amendment striking the provision. The amendment failed 45-53. [S. 14, Vote #221, 6/12/2003]
  • McCain Voted for One-Year Moratorium on Oil and Gas Exploration in North Aleutian Basin. In 1989, McCain voted for a bill making appropriations for the Department of the Interior and related agencies for the fiscal year ending September 30, 1990, and for other purposes. The bill contained a total of $956.4 million for the Bureau of Land Management of which $442.1 million is for management of lands and resources; $535.5 million for the Fish and Wildlife Service. The bill also imposed a one-year moratorium on oil and gas exploration and development in the North Aleutian Basin and ensured that the Department of the Interior will continue its assessment of damage from the Exxon Valdex oil spill through September 30, 1990. The bill also contained $1.5 billion for the Department of Energy, which includes $422.1 million for the fossil energy research program; $192.1 million for the Naval Petroleum and Oil Shale Reserves; $413.3 million for energy conservation. The bill passed 91-6. [H.R. 2788, Vote #241, 10/7/1989]

Bush Also Called For Oil Drilling In the Outer Continental Shelf. President Bush said, “This morning, I asked Democratic Congressional leaders to move forward with four steps to expand American oil and gasoline production. First, we should expand American oil production by increasing access to the outer continental shelf or OSC. Experts believe that the OCS could produce about 18 billion barrels of oil. That would be enough to match the current oil production America for almost 10 years. The problem is that congress has restricted access to key parts of the OCS since the early 1980's. Since then, advances in technology have made it possible to conduct oil exploration in the OCS that is out of sight, protects coral reefs and habitats, and protects against oil spills. With these advances, and a dramatic increase in oil prices, Congressional restrictions on exploration have become outdated and counterproductive. Republicans in congress have proposed several promising bills that would lift the legislative ban on oil exploration in the OCS. I call on the House and Senate to pass good legislation as soon possible.” [President Bush statement, 6/18/08]

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