American Elephants

Poof! Nancy Pelosi solves the oil crisis! by The Elephant's Child
June 20, 2008, 6:34 pm
Filed under: Economy, Energy, Environment, Humor | Tags: , , , ,

Nancy Pelosi

Democrats are at it again, trying to trick you with fast action. Nancy Pelosi decides to stick it to the oil companies because they aren’t producing oil from the 68 million acres they already have. Why should Congress give them more land to do nothing with. (See, it is now not Congress’ fault for irresponsibly refusing to open onshore and offshore lands to exploration.We gave them 68 million acres and WHERE IS THE OIL?)

Well, Congress will fix that!

Congress will just compel them to produce oil. So there!

Red Cavaney, president and CEO of the American Petroleum Institute, responds in today’s Wall Street Journal:

If only it were that easy to find and produce oil. Imagine, an act of Congress that could do what geology could not.

These lawmakers ask why oil and gas companies want more access to federal lands to drill if they aren’t using all of the 68 million acres they already have? Anyone with even the most basic understanding of how oil and natural gas are produced — and this should include many members of Congress — knows that claims of “idle” leases are a diversionary feint.

A company bids for and buys a lease because it believes there is a possibility that it may yield enough oil or natural gas to make the cost of the lease, and the costs of exploration and production, commercially viable. The U.S. government received $3.7 billion from company bids in a single lease sale in March 2008.

Pelosi is getting so silly that she just makes me laugh. YOU — Produce oil now!!! That’ll do it. Our gas crisis is solved.

It is always fascinating when Congress takes on business and industry. It is such unfamiliar territory for members of congress, and they know so little, yet are so completely condescending. Businessmen are so polite and so knowledgeable that it never reflects well on their inquisitors. But nobody ever watches committee meetings anyway, and far too often, never reads the response of industry to unfortunate lawmaking.


Democrats Drive Up Gas Prices and Blame Oil Companies by The Elephant's Child
May 22, 2008, 10:18 pm
Filed under: Economy, Politics, Taxes | Tags: , , ,

Gas Taxes in Cents Per Gallon

Oh My! The Congressional Democrats are at it again. Today the Senate Judiciary Committee dragged in executives from the American petroleum industry for an imperial inquisition that Chairman Pat Leahy thought would be politically helpful. The price of gas has reached a new high, and Senator Leahy wants to be sure that you are blaming the right people.

They called on the executives to explain high oil prices, and attacked them for their profits and pay packages. ( I’m sure you have noticed the portion of the Constitution that allows Congress to determine how much profit is allowed and to set salaries for businessmen.)

The group from industry was a formidable bunch. John Hofmeister, President of Shell Oil Co., John Lowe, Executive Vice President of Conoco Philips Co., Steven Simon, Senior Vice President of Exxon Mobil Corp., Robert Malone, Chairman and President of BP America, Inc. and Peter Robertson, Vice Chairman of the Board of Chevron Corp. The petroleum executives quickly demonstrated that they were immeasurably better informed and far more public-spirited than their inquisitors.

Because foreign companies and foreign governments control the majority of the world’s oil, most of the price you pay at the pump is what the American oil company has to pay to buy crude oil from someone else. Exxon Mobil refined 2 million barrels per day in 2007. Ninety percent of that was purchased abroad. Exxon Mobil spends nearly $1 billion each day to maintain current operations and make needed capital investments.

On average, Federal and state government taxes account for 15 percent of the cost of gasoline at the pump (And likely much more if you live in Democrat-run state, and much less if you live in a Republican-run state), while oil companies’ profits amount to only 4 percent. So much, senators, for your supposed “price gouging”. Shell’s John Hofmeister explained clearly where the problem lies:

Meanwhile, in the United States, access to our own oil and gas resources has been limited for the last 30 years, prohibiting companies such as Shell from exploring and developing resources for the benefit of the American people.

Senator Sessions, I agree, it is not a free market.

According to the Department of the Interior, 62 percent of all on-shore federal lands are off limits to oil and gas developments, with restrictions applying to 92 percent of all federal lands. We have an outer continental shelf moratorium on the Atlantic Ocean, an outer continental shelf moratorium on the Pacific Ocean, an outer continental shelf moratorium on the eastern Gulf of Mexico, congressional bans on on-shore oil and gas activities in specific areas of the Rockies and Alaska, and even a congressional ban on doing an analysis of the resource potential for oil and gas in the Atlantic, Pacific and eastern Gulf of Mexico.

The Argonne National Laboratory did a report in 2004 that identified 40 specific federal policy areas that halt, limit, delay or restrict natural gas projects. I urge you to review it. It is a long list….

The problem of access can be solved in this country by the same government that has prohibited it. Congress could have chosen to lift some or all of the current restrictions on exportation and production of oil and gas. Congress could provide national policy to reverse the persistent decline of domestically secure natural resource development.(emphasis added)

On Tuesday, the House of Representatives passed a bill that will allow the U.S. government to sue OPEC for conspiring to raise prices. If you think this is sensible, reverse the situation and assume that OPEC wanted to buy our timber, but was demanding that we drop the price and cut more trees. (h/t R. Rapier)

According to the U.S. Minerals Management Service, the outer continental shelf contains as much as 86 billion barrels of oil and 420 trillion cubic feet of gas, 10 times the oil and 20 times the natural gas we use each year. The oil shale formations across the Rocky Mountains and into Canada contain at least 1 trillion, or possibly as much as 2 trillion barrels of crude oil, more than 7 times the amount of crude oil reserves in Saudi Arabia and enough to meet current U.S. demand for over 250 years. Yet Congress prefers to put it off limits. The mud-flats in ANWR would add another 1 million barrels of oil a day.

Why? Well, environmental organizations show you pictures of cute baby animals and tell you that the Earth will die unless you send them money. They use the money to lobby Congress and to sue anyone asking to drill for oil. Or they use it to sue the EPA to demand that the cute animals are put on the endangered species list, to prevent any drilling. They oppose drilling, not for any environmental damage that oil might do, but to destroy our capitalist economy, for they don’t like capitalism.

If this stupidity makes you angry, don’t grumble at the gas station attendant. Call your representatives in Congress. Let them know that you’re mad as hell and you won’t take it any more.

Another Black Spot on Al Gore’s Record by The Elephant's Child

Al Gore

Al Gore has a lot to answer for. He didn’t really understand the science that he rushed to popularize with fear-mongering about rising sea levels and a dying earth. Bureaucrats, with little understanding of the science, rushed to legislate to prevent “global catastrophe”.

When the buzz among the cognoscenti reaches a certain level, the pressure to do something becomes difficult to resist. And buzz often comes in forms of preconceived notions and oft-repeated slogans such as “big oil” or “addiction to oil”,”renewable energy”and above all “biofuels“.

A liberal Congress quickly fell victim to the common liberal delusion, as David Horowitz once said, that good intentions, earnestly expressed, are good policy. “Big oil” is obviously evil (gas prices are too high and they are making too much money). Forgotten in the haste to do something is the realization that nothing moves in this country that is not powered by petroleum. So of course they provided vast subsidies for ethanol, made for the most part in this country from corn.

But there are consequences. The U.N. World Food Program is preparing to ration food aid for the world’s hungriest poor. The richest countries are burning food in their automobile gas tanks. The mandates for biofuels by the wealthiest countries have doubled and tripled world food prices in less than three years. WFP costs are rising by millions of dollars each week, but donations aren’t keeping pace. The Program is trying to feed 70 million people, but can’t afford to meet their commitments.

Three years ago, the price of corn was $1.86 a bushel, now it is over $5.00. You have probably noticed rising prices in your grocery. Corn is not only in most cereals, but as cornstarch, as a sweetener, a thickener is found on most shelves. At the meat counter corn is in most animal feed. In paste form, it is in the drywall.

Pakistan says it will reimpose food rationing. China’s food inflation rate is 18.2%. In Yemen prices of staples have nearly doubled and at least a dozen people have been killed in food riots. The poor in much of the Third World spend over 60% of their income on food. It is expected that American farmers will plant 30% more corn this year than last, directed to the higher prices they receive for subsidized biofuel.

But ethanol delivers less energy per gallon than gasoline. Studies suggest that it pollutes more, and can only be used in engines specially designed for ethanol. Demand for better food is growing as millions of Indians and Chinese enter the middle class.

The EU is committed to provide 10% of its transportation fuel from biofuels, grown both in Europe and in Indonesia and Thailand; and they are unwilling to consider that burning food crops in our gas tanks has anything to do with high food prices.

The most extreme environmentalists hope to eliminate — from a good portion of the human life on this planet — to all of it. They have told us so often enough. So there is a little more to their refusal to allow drilling in proven oil fields in Alaska and in coastal waters than many people realize.

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