OpenCongress Blog

Blog Feed Comments Feed More RSS Feeds

Drill, Baby, Drill?

May 6, 2011 - by Donny Shaw

Oil prices may have had their biggest drop since 2008 yesterday, but that didn’t stop the House from using the bubble to push forward their legislation to expand offshore oil drilling. By a vote of 266-149 yesterday, the House passed the “Restarting American Offshore Leasing Now Act,” which would force the Secretary of the Interior to conduct lease sales on three drilling sites in the Gulf of Mexico and one of the coast of Virginia. The Obama Administration had put these leases on hold indefinitely following the BP spill in order to ensure that the lax regulatory environment that made that spill possible had been improved. So far, however, Congress has not passed a single piece of legislation to improve offshore drilling safety.

The bill would also dodge existing protections by deeming environmental impact studies that were conducted on the sites prior to the BP spill to be sufficient for satisfying the requirements of the National Environmental Policy Act. Those environmental impact statements became the subjects of legal challenges following the BP spill, but this bill would block the court system and the federal government from completing their review.

Remember, BP was exempted from proper environmental impact studies for their wells in the Gulf of Mexico, and we know how that turned out. Last year when we learned that BP had been exempted, members of Congress from both parties were supportive of pausing the expansion of offshore drilling and revamping safety requirements. But it appears that the recent oil bubble provided cover for Congress to be able to “do something” and have that something be exactly what Koch Industries, Exxon Mobil and the other big oil interests want — more drilling, less regulation.

The bill now goes to the Senate, where its prospects are uncertain. Republicans in that chamber will likely try to attach it to some must-pass appropriations or reauthorization bill, but they will need to pick off at least 9 Democrats to vote for it in order to overcome an inevitable filibuster. 33 Democrats voted for it in the House, so 9 Democrats in the Senate seems possible.

Like this post? Stay in touch by following us on Twitter, joining us on Facebook, or by Subscribing with RSS.
 

Comments

fakk2 05/06/2011 4:07pm

Aren’t we talking about an industry that has an average profit margin lower than other industries like railroads, internet services & retailing, and network & other communication equipment?

fakk2 05/06/2011 4:17pm

Here’s an updated list from YAHOO showing oil and gas drilling and exploration is less profitable than 44 other industries at 11.50%

fakk2 05/06/2011 4:35pm

Darn those:
soft drink makers
periodical publishers
personal computers
brewers and wineries/distillers
book publishers
long distance carriers
internet information providers

and others that just make too much money and are bad for the environment! We should

put these leases on hold indefinitely…in order to ensure that the lax regulatory environment…improve(s)

gonefishin 05/08/2011 1:23pm
Hi Luminous, I disagree that you won’t see any effects for 5 to 10 years. The drop in oil…

I’ve been of the opinion that the best way the US can approach the (immediate)raising barrel of oil is to move forth, even if there is little movement forth. The worst thing that opec and non-opec could do is to push the US to the point where we take action. May 05, Congress voted/passed to restart offshore drilling. A smart move which I agree with. Now the best thing opec and non-opec producers could do is to appease the US by lowering prices. If we are forced to continue to pay high prices for oil we will eventually get more aggressive with our legislation toward oil production. But, I believe that opec knows that the US is lazy, and if they appease us by lowering prices we will soon forget about our dependencies. What? upper 70’s to mid 90’s??? But their aim should be to keep us appeased for a bit. The US will soon forget moving ahead on anything if we are kept “happy”.

luminous 05/09/2011 3:10pm

“domestic oil $70 per barrel, then we will buy it from off shore at $60”

Their is no difference in price, both are bought and sold in the same futures exchange markets around the globe.

“If we are forced to continue to pay high prices for oil we will eventually get more aggressive with our legislation toward oil production.”

No we need to be off oil it is an expensive, dirty, unhealthy addiction. We need to push companies to build more electric cars, we need to get the electricity for those vehicles from nuclear power. We should increase production in some places such as the huge amount of known land accessible oil reserves in the US. No need to risk the all the other industries tied to the ocean for the sole benefit of oil production.

The fishing and tourism industries as well as the shoreline swamp lands that act as tidal flood barriers for populated coastal area’s are important to. More poorly regulated ocean drilling is simply a disaster waiting to happen

valleri 05/06/2011 7:06pm

The failure of proper inspections is a contributing factor to the safety of offshore drilling. Why can’t the entire inspection program be tossed out and replaced with something that balance safety and our need for energy? It seems there is so much bureaucracy that many government agencies simply can’t perform their basic duties.

luminous 05/06/2011 2:57pm

This drill baby drill stuff is so silly, It takes 5 to 10 years to get a well up and going so it won’t have any effect on gas prices for at least that long, And even if we allowed unregulated drill where ever the hell yea want style permitting and drilled in every possible location in the Gulf of Mexico, East Coast, and West Coast we could extract an amount of oil equal to about 1% of our demand in the year 2030.

We need real solutions to our energy problems, and this ain’t it. The risk to our fisheries, coastal lands and beaches, coastal state tourism, and human health just isn’t worth the risk.

Mahlalie 05/06/2011 7:23pm

I sure wish they hadn’t been making that arguement 5-10 yeara ago.

luminous 05/06/2011 6:22pm

I never disputed your information!, I simply did not need to provide what you had already provided!

Providing only half the information is your problem, I am merely adding to the discussion what was left out. In this case that would be the sheer volume of revenue. Of course I am neglecting all of the middlemen involved in the futures market speculation taking their slice out of that as well, but I suppose argument for another day(maybe when the republicans try to defund/repeal the CFTC again =p)

Really I don’t see why you are so protective of these guys!

Mahlalie 05/06/2011 7:21pm

What you added is completely extraneous. How is the amount of product a company sells relevant? A company couid sell at a loss and still have a very large amount of total revenue.

eth111 05/09/2011 7:16am

@luminous; What fakk2 was getting at is the real bottom line for these companies, revenue is meaningless when talking about how much money a company makes. If they make $500M at a loss, they go out of business. Also, do not assume that the big oil companies are doing the actual exploration any more, a large part of it is done by “pure” drilling and exploration companies. The biggest profit generator for the big oil companies is refinement.
@gonefishin; Americans are not lazy, it is simple economics. If the regulatory and tax structure in this country, along with other costs make domestic oil $70 per barrel, then we will buy it from off shore at $60 if the opportunity presents itself. What is required is that we follow through on the drilling. We didn’t get into this mess last week, it has taken over 3 decades to get into this mess.

gonefishin 05/08/2011 1:20pm
Hi Luminous, I disagree that you won’t see any effects for 5 to 10 years. The drop in oil…

I’ve been of the opinion that the best way the US can approach the (immediate)raising barrel of oil is to move forth, even if there is little movement forth. The worst thing that opec and non-opec could do is to push the US to the point where we take action. May 05, Congress voted/passed to restart offshore drilling. A smart move which I agree with. Now the best thing opec and non-opec producers could do is to appease the US by lowering prices. If we are forced to continue to pay high prices for oil we will eventually get more aggressive with our legislation toward oil production. But, I believe that opec knows that the US is lazy, and if they appease us by lowering prices we will soon forget about our dependencies. What? upper 70’s to mid 90’s??? But their aim should be to keep us appeased for a bit. The US will soon forget moving ahead on anything if we are kept “happy”.

luminous 05/06/2011 4:41pm

http://www.wsws.org/articles/2011/apr2011/econ-a29.shtml

Exxon-mobile could be the first corporation to reach one half a trillion dollars in yearly revenue.

Context fakk2, context is everything.

fakk2 05/06/2011 5:05pm

Do you read what’s actually posted? Profit margin, including the dollar amount of money that percentage is, does not equal total revenue. Here’s some basic business: I sell you a stick of gum for $1. It cost me $0.90 to get the stick of gum. Thus, my profit margin is 10%, and although my total revenue is $1, I actually only have a take-home amount of $0.10.

If we’re talking about context, then please remember profits does not equal revenue.

Due to the archiving of this blog, comment posting has been disabled.