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U.S. Senate Approves Drilling in ANWR

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Old Tuesday 22nd March 2005, 00:26   #51
michaelboustead
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The logic behind drilling in ANWR would also seem to apply to ending the ban on exploration and drilling off the West Coast of US. Guesstimated reserves exceed ANWR's and would be much more profitable.

Just a thought.

Mike
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Old Tuesday 22nd March 2005, 01:26   #52
Katy Penland
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It's already begun, Mike. This from the San Francisco Chronicle on 10 March:


Quiet talk of drilling offshore
'Stealth strategy' worries opponents

Jane Kay, Chronicle Staff Writer
Thursday, March 10, 2005


The powerful House Resources Committee, headed by a California Republican lawmaker, is quietly circulating what environmentalists call a "stealth strategy" to overturn nearly a quarter-century of bans against new offshore oil and gas drilling along much of the U.S. coastline.

The obscure draft legislation, called SEACOR, or the State Enhanced Authority for Coastal and Offshore Resources Act of 2005, would expand state control over energy development in offshore waters -- and at the same time eliminate the blanket West and East Coast moratoriums given by Congress since 1982.

California and a dozen other states have depended on the hands-off policy to protect sensitive coastal waters against catastrophes such as the Santa Barbara pipeline blowout of 1969, which blackened beaches and killed countless numbers of birds and other sea life.

The measure, under the wing of the committee chairman, Rep. Richard Pombo, R-Tracy, has not been formally introduced in Congress, but it has been quietly making
the rounds of industry groups for a year and a half. Trade groups such as the American Gas Association, the Industrial Energy Consumers of America and the American Iron and Steel Institute, which says it gave input to the House Energy Committee on preparing SEACOR, have been lobbying for its inclusion in a pending omnibus energy bill.

Last week, representatives of the House committee and the American Gas Association took the SEACOR proposal to the Coastal States Organization and the National
Governors Association, calling it draft legislation that may be raised in connection with the energy bill, which goes before Congress next month.

Environmentalists fear it could get slapped onto the energy bill in last-minute joint House-Senate conference meetings and become law without public scrutiny.

"It wouldn't be the first time that a piece of legislation that has never been subjected to public debate in Congress or anywhere else has been tacked onto the energy bill," said Richard Charter, marine conservation advocate with Environmental Defense and
longtime foe of offshore oil drilling. "We see SEACOR as part of a stealth strategy to undo all protections of U.S. coastlines for offshore drilling."

Even if a state chooses to prohibit drilling off its own shore, that safeguard wouldn't protect the coast from accidents elsewhere, he said.

"If you consider that the Exxon Valdez oil spill traveled hundreds of miles over a period of months," Charter said, "it's ridiculous to think that routine drilling discharges and accidental spills wouldn't affect all adjoining states."

Brian Kennedy, Pombo's spokesman, said SEACOR won't make it into the energy bill this year. It's not yet a proposal but "one of a number of policy concepts that originated in the House Resources Committee," he said. "It's not ready for prime time."

SEACOR would remove existing moratoriums, increase the states' share of revenue royalties within federal waters, and provide the states with veto power over some energy development in offshore zones if they're willing to give up some of the royalties.

In anticipation of the introduction of the energy legislation, 11 bipartisan senators from coastal states, including California Democrats Dianne Feinstein and Barbara Boxer, sent a letter last month to Rep. Pete Domenici, R- N.M., chairman of the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee. In the letter, they did not address the issue of SEACOR but said they were expressing "strong objection to any proposed provisions that would open currently restricted areas'' to offshore oil and gas exploration.

The senators referred to language in a measure authored by Rep. Barbara Cubin, R- Wyo., which would give the Interior secretary sole authority over approving energy development 200 miles off the U.S. coastline. Without a vote of approval from any
congressional committee, the so-called Cubin amendment was previously put in the energy bill, where it remains for consideration again this year.

SEACOR is already starting to produce fissures in the coastal chain of anti-drilling moratoriums.

Two weeks ago, the Virginia House of Delegates passed a bill directing its state liaison office to work with the Virginia congressional delegation to enact "the proposed federal SEACOR, or similar legislation." Democratic Gov. Mark Warner has until April 6 to veto
the measure or allow it to take effect.

East Coast environmental groups expect SEACOR to emerge next in North Carolina with other states to follow.

Pombo's spokesman, Kennedy, said the measure has "gotten a lot of traction."

It "has garnered a lot of attention because it is a paradigm change in energy policy," he said. "SEACOR would take away authority from the federal government and empower the states.

"Rep. Pombo certainly thinks the idea has merit and could potentially work in the future. From a political standpoint, it would have to come up from the states."

The Resources Committee has yet to release the measure to members of the public who request it.

Pombo came into Congress as part of a conservative wing bent on changing federal regulatory policy. Last month, he came under heavy criticism for proposing to open the closely protected Farallon Islands seabird habitat to boaters and amateur radio operators.

But Pombo supports the moratoriums in many coastal states, said Kennedy, although he believes they could be eliminated under SEACOR because the states would have the authority to veto energy projects in zones off their coasts.

Former President George H.W. Bush issued the first executive order placing a moratorium on new leases offshore California, Oregon, Washington, Maine, Massachusetts, New York, New Jersey, Maryland, Virginia, North Carolina, South Carolina and Florida. President Bill Clinton extended it to 2012.

Congress also has continued a moratorium every year since 1982 by putting language in appropriations bills that prohibits spending money on conducting leasing activities. Bristol Bay in Alaska was added after the Prince William Sound spill in 1989. In January,
President Bush's budget reiterated the moratorium.

Bipartisan congressional representatives, except in Texas, Louisiana, Alabama and Mississippi, generally support the bans. Polls along the West and East coasts show that residents strongly favor sacrificing increased royalties from natural gas and oil drilling to prevent spills and industrial energy development that could harm recreation, tourism, and fish and wildlife.

Michael Town, director of the Sierra Club's Virginia Chapter, called the selling of SEACOR a double-pronged approach -- working the measure in cash-strapped states as well as in Congress.

The measure caught the public off guard, Town said. "We didn't even know the bill was there until it passed the (Virginia) Senate. The measure didn't go to the Agriculture and Natural Resources Committee or Commerce Committee but a committee we never track -- General Laws. It's obvious it was more politics than policy," Town said.

"The purpose of this bill in Virginia isn't to just put platforms off our coast," said Town. "The purpose is to dismantle the moratoriums that have protected our coastlines nationwide for more than 20 years. It's a national energy policy being played out at the state levels, and the public doesn't have a say."

E-mail Jane Kay at [email protected].

Page A - 1
URL:
http://sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cg...NGHOBN6M11.DTL

2005 San Francisco Chronicle
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Old Tuesday 22nd March 2005, 01:40   #53
TexasFlyway
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Tim Allwood
depends who's counting the votes of course Tex!

still can't believe Catherine Harris and her Floridean cronies are not in jail

stopping well over 90,000 innocent people from voting was a touch immoral...

Tim
Please Tim. The law was followed, it went through the judicial system. End of story.
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Old Tuesday 22nd March 2005, 01:45   #54
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Tim Allwood
hi Tex

unfortunately the World Bank has failed so spectacuarly in its mission statement described above having arguably the exact opposite effect to that it espouses. It's faiure being so dramatic that it's ex Chief Economist Joeseph Stiglitz resigned and wrote a book about the damage it was doing
atb
Tim
I'm in full agreement here Tim. Get rid of the d**n thing.
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Old Tuesday 22nd March 2005, 01:56   #55
TexasFlyway
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Quote:
Originally Posted by streatham
Texas,

I think it's a bit silly to present this as a question of morals? Why don't these same elected officials introduce legislation to stop US companies shifting jobs abroad? Surely that is much more in the interest of US citizens? Also the polls seem to be fairly divided on whether the majority of US citizens feel that it is in their own best interests to dig for oil in Alaska.

Luke
I didn't bring up the moral issue. I responded to people who did. Please check posts 14, and 18.
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Old Tuesday 22nd March 2005, 13:48   #56
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Colin, Katy made a comment to ALL Posters to keep on topic; you seemed
to translate that into a dig at yourself - it wasn't.


We've been from an Alaskan wilderness, through a Floridean election, a
religious slur, the World Bank, I.M.F., moral issues ...

But - the debate is the issue of whether wild areas should be exploited for commercial, industrial or other mis-uses of the public trust. As has just been expressed by michaelboustead and by the Chronicle article, this can and apparently already is leading to other areas being similarly exploited. Or is one a threat to coerce the public into acceptance of the (least-valued) other area being exploited?

I'm sure the thread starter had intended this to provoke thought in all countries as to how their wild lands are being used or mis-used and to encourage appropriate action by their concerned citizens and not simply to invite criticism of one country's policies.

I hope you'll all understand when some O/T Posts are deleted/edited in the interest of bringing this Thread back into line?

Thanks,

Andy.
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Old Tuesday 22nd March 2005, 15:01   #57
michaelboustead
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I had not heard that drilling off the East Coast was being considered. Frankly, I was unaware that there was any recoverable reserves of oil off the East Coast with the possible exception of Florida.

I believe that there is production of off shore natural gas in Eastern Canada-maybe some forum members from Canada could comment. I am completely ignorant of the environmental cost of drillling for gas vs oil. I observe that oil production is not perfect, accidents will occur and the environmental cost of these accidents are very high. Congress seems to ignore these costs.

I had always assumed that higher oil prices would cut demand in US. I drive a Prius so it worked for me. No evidence that it is working generally in the US, probably to early to tell-may be no market oriented solution to this and I doubt the ideologues will ever accept it.

I suspect that the long term result will be burning of a lot more coal.

Mike





Quote:
Originally Posted by Katy Penland
It's already begun, Mike. This from the San Francisco Chronicle on 10 March:


Quiet talk of drilling offshore
'Stealth strategy' worries opponents

Jane Kay, Chronicle Staff Writer
Thursday, March 10, 2005


The powerful House Resources Committee, headed by a California Republican lawmaker, is quietly circulating what environmentalists call a "stealth strategy" to overturn nearly a quarter-century of bans against new offshore oil and gas drilling along much of the U.S. coastline.

The obscure draft legislation, called SEACOR, or the State Enhanced Authority for Coastal and Offshore Resources Act of 2005, would expand state control over energy development in offshore waters -- and at the same time eliminate the blanket West and East Coast moratoriums given by Congress since 1982.

California and a dozen other states have depended on the hands-off policy to protect sensitive coastal waters against catastrophes such as the Santa Barbara pipeline blowout of 1969, which blackened beaches and killed countless numbers of birds and other sea life.

The measure, under the wing of the committee chairman, Rep. Richard Pombo, R-Tracy, has not been formally introduced in Congress, but it has been quietly making
the rounds of industry groups for a year and a half. Trade groups such as the American Gas Association, the Industrial Energy Consumers of America and the American Iron and Steel Institute, which says it gave input to the House Energy Committee on preparing SEACOR, have been lobbying for its inclusion in a pending omnibus energy bill.

Last week, representatives of the House committee and the American Gas Association took the SEACOR proposal to the Coastal States Organization and the National
Governors Association, calling it draft legislation that may be raised in connection with the energy bill, which goes before Congress next month.

Environmentalists fear it could get slapped onto the energy bill in last-minute joint House-Senate conference meetings and become law without public scrutiny.

"It wouldn't be the first time that a piece of legislation that has never been subjected to public debate in Congress or anywhere else has been tacked onto the energy bill," said Richard Charter, marine conservation advocate with Environmental Defense and
longtime foe of offshore oil drilling. "We see SEACOR as part of a stealth strategy to undo all protections of U.S. coastlines for offshore drilling."

Even if a state chooses to prohibit drilling off its own shore, that safeguard wouldn't protect the coast from accidents elsewhere, he said.

"If you consider that the Exxon Valdez oil spill traveled hundreds of miles over a period of months," Charter said, "it's ridiculous to think that routine drilling discharges and accidental spills wouldn't affect all adjoining states."

Brian Kennedy, Pombo's spokesman, said SEACOR won't make it into the energy bill this year. It's not yet a proposal but "one of a number of policy concepts that originated in the House Resources Committee," he said. "It's not ready for prime time."

SEACOR would remove existing moratoriums, increase the states' share of revenue royalties within federal waters, and provide the states with veto power over some energy development in offshore zones if they're willing to give up some of the royalties.

In anticipation of the introduction of the energy legislation, 11 bipartisan senators from coastal states, including California Democrats Dianne Feinstein and Barbara Boxer, sent a letter last month to Rep. Pete Domenici, R- N.M., chairman of the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee. In the letter, they did not address the issue of SEACOR but said they were expressing "strong objection to any proposed provisions that would open currently restricted areas'' to offshore oil and gas exploration.

The senators referred to language in a measure authored by Rep. Barbara Cubin, R- Wyo., which would give the Interior secretary sole authority over approving energy development 200 miles off the U.S. coastline. Without a vote of approval from any
congressional committee, the so-called Cubin amendment was previously put in the energy bill, where it remains for consideration again this year.

SEACOR is already starting to produce fissures in the coastal chain of anti-drilling moratoriums.

Two weeks ago, the Virginia House of Delegates passed a bill directing its state liaison office to work with the Virginia congressional delegation to enact "the proposed federal SEACOR, or similar legislation." Democratic Gov. Mark Warner has until April 6 to veto
the measure or allow it to take effect.

East Coast environmental groups expect SEACOR to emerge next in North Carolina with other states to follow.

Pombo's spokesman, Kennedy, said the measure has "gotten a lot of traction."

It "has garnered a lot of attention because it is a paradigm change in energy policy," he said. "SEACOR would take away authority from the federal government and empower the states.

"Rep. Pombo certainly thinks the idea has merit and could potentially work in the future. From a political standpoint, it would have to come up from the states."

The Resources Committee has yet to release the measure to members of the public who request it.

Pombo came into Congress as part of a conservative wing bent on changing federal regulatory policy. Last month, he came under heavy criticism for proposing to open the closely protected Farallon Islands seabird habitat to boaters and amateur radio operators.

But Pombo supports the moratoriums in many coastal states, said Kennedy, although he believes they could be eliminated under SEACOR because the states would have the authority to veto energy projects in zones off their coasts.

Former President George H.W. Bush issued the first executive order placing a moratorium on new leases offshore California, Oregon, Washington, Maine, Massachusetts, New York, New Jersey, Maryland, Virginia, North Carolina, South Carolina and Florida. President Bill Clinton extended it to 2012.

Congress also has continued a moratorium every year since 1982 by putting language in appropriations bills that prohibits spending money on conducting leasing activities. Bristol Bay in Alaska was added after the Prince William Sound spill in 1989. In January,
President Bush's budget reiterated the moratorium.

Bipartisan congressional representatives, except in Texas, Louisiana, Alabama and Mississippi, generally support the bans. Polls along the West and East coasts show that residents strongly favor sacrificing increased royalties from natural gas and oil drilling to prevent spills and industrial energy development that could harm recreation, tourism, and fish and wildlife.

Michael Town, director of the Sierra Club's Virginia Chapter, called the selling of SEACOR a double-pronged approach -- working the measure in cash-strapped states as well as in Congress.

The measure caught the public off guard, Town said. "We didn't even know the bill was there until it passed the (Virginia) Senate. The measure didn't go to the Agriculture and Natural Resources Committee or Commerce Committee but a committee we never track -- General Laws. It's obvious it was more politics than policy," Town said.

"The purpose of this bill in Virginia isn't to just put platforms off our coast," said Town. "The purpose is to dismantle the moratoriums that have protected our coastlines nationwide for more than 20 years. It's a national energy policy being played out at the state levels, and the public doesn't have a say."

E-mail Jane Kay at [email protected].

Page A - 1
URL:
http://sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cg...NGHOBN6M11.DTL

2005 San Francisco Chronicle
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Old Tuesday 22nd March 2005, 15:30   #58
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Here is a link to the Defenders of Wildlife website who quotes at length from the US Fish & Wildlife Service report on the consequences of oil exploration and drilling on Alaska's North Slope, compares historical impacts to the region, and speculates on what consequences might be with increased and intensified exploration and extraction in this region. This is just one page; I urge all of you to read all the pages from this report as offered on this site, if you can't get a copy of the report itself.

http://www.defenders.org/wildlife/ar...ll/usfws4.html
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Old Tuesday 22nd March 2005, 16:15   #59
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Quote:
Originally Posted by streatham
Why don't these same elected officials introduce legislation to stop US companies shifting jobs abroad? Surely that is much more in the interest of US citizens?

Luke
It doesn,t work like that though. Protectionism=High domestic prices , increasingly disconnected from the market level. Industry becomes innefficient & exports fall . Its a quick route to poverty ( remember the USSR ? )-look at the EEC growth rate & ask whether it's protected & subsidised industries are paying back to consumers.
You aint seen nothing yet on job losses-look to China. The statistics are mind boggling.You will be buying Chinese textiles/Cars/Consumer electronics-you name it-they will be making it at prices you ( or us) cant touch.
Their Oil consumption will exceed yours by 2030-its growing 7 times faster than yours now.They will have more cars than you by 2030. They will buy 70% of Middle East Oil output by 2015.
Just wait till they decide to "take back" Taiwan!!

USA imports 54% of its oil-a strategy to pump your own & stop buying it from Arab Countries who may become anti-West Theocracies makes sense . But I can't see how ANWR helps. On USGS figures-over the 50 year life of a field there it contributes 1% to 5% of US total oil consumption. In any case only 3% of US Electricity is generated using Oil . Can't the US motorists reduce their fuel use by a measly 5% to save ANWR ?
I remain entirely pessimistic about man's ability to curb fossil fuel consumption. China & India are making it more unlikely by the minute. There will be more & more desecration of wild places as we try to find the last drop of oil .

Colin
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Old Thursday 24th March 2005, 03:13   #60
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Hi Colin,

You kind of caught the wrong end of the stick on my post - can't quite be bothered to answer all the issues raised in your post right now.

However this latest story does little to boost confidence in the levels of safety at US oil refinerys - sounds bad: http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/world/americas/4377519.stm heard on the news that BP were fined for an explosion at the plant and the death of two workers over the last year.

Luke
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Old Thursday 24th March 2005, 07:53   #61
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Hi Luke-No problem.
All the best
Colin
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Old Thursday 24th March 2005, 15:38   #62
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A boycott of participating oil companies is the logical next step when and if Congress passes a final vote to allow drilling in the Alaskan National Wildlife Refuge. Here's one initial effort to get that boycott organized, and an opportunity to sign on:

http://ga4.org/campaign/boycott?source=boycott_kos

Zack
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Old Thursday 24th March 2005, 16:28   #63
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Quote:
Originally Posted by zack2
A boycott of participating oil companies is the logical next step when and if Congress passes a final vote to allow drilling in the Alaskan National Wildlife Refuge. Here's one initial effort to get that boycott organized, and an opportunity to sign on:

http://ga4.org/campaign/boycott?source=boycott_kos

Zack
The date of the auction for the oil leases would be important here. I doubt they will be auctioned until after the 2006 mid-term election. Just not sure.

I think more important is to defeat a few congressmen and senators. The only thing they respond to more than money is fear. Historically, the Dems should do great in a mid-term election in a President's second term. If they don't do well then something is seriously out of whack.

I am willing to join a Republicans against Santorum. Didn't take ANWR for me to detest him.

Mike
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