A new bill, HR 1230 Restarting American Offshore Leasing Now Act, sponsored by Doc Hastings from Washington state, would expedite increased offshore drilling in U.S. waters. Several sites in the Gulf of Mexico and one off the coast of Virginia would be opened to drilling “as soon as practicable”.
To the point that domestic offshore drilling won’t decrease American gasoline prices for consumers, Representative Hastings said “…it will send a strong signal to the world markets that the U.S. is serious about producing our own resources and bring more American production online.” You can see these remarks at about 3:30 to 3:50 in the video below.
He doesn’t address the fact that increasing domestic offshore drilling won’t decrease gasoline prices in America, even though he says the main reason for doing so is the rise in gasoline prices. He seems to be admitting more offshore drilling won’t solve the problem, but continues to advocate for it anyway. (The amount of oil generated by these new drilling sites is so small compared to the total used in the United States, it wouldn’t have much of an impact.)
Equally ludicrous is the lack of understanding that gas prices are cyclical, and that they eventually always fall after the high point on their own, without any drastic measures on the part of Congress required. What drives this cycle are market forces over time, and are of such a complex nature they are not forseeable by members of Congress over their individual terms, and therefore not something they can predict accurately or even comprehend fully, as evidenced by their futile cries to drill more. So what is more likely about this particular bill is that some Republicans are trying to use high gas prices as a political lever to increase drilling for American oil companies. Some Congress members are already too influenced by Big Oil, and this latest bill is simply more of what we don’t need.
It appears amnesia is already setting in about what happened in the Gulf of Mexico oil disaster–even though much of the oil is still in the Gulf, some are acting as though it is already distant history. Our commitment to preserve what is left of the natural world is not dependent upon the inconvenience of fluctuating gas prices. It has been proven when gas prices rise, many people simply drive less, car pool more, and ride public transportation more.
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