Saturday, April 30, 2011

A Lizard Enters the War on Oil Drilling

Not all Democrats have fallen for the blind ideological hype coming from this White House on punishing oil companies for the sin of success. Some elected officials on the Democratic side are demanding more than smoke and mirrors in lieu of an honest energy policy that includes the production of fossil fuels.

Democratic U.S. Rep. Dan Boren said Obama just needs to be quiet.
“Americans are tired of empty rhetoric on both sides and want a real plan,” Boren said. “If the president doesn’t want to stand up and be a leader, then his silence would be appreciated from people who are trying to find solutions.”
Boren described Obama as completely uninformed about the oil and gas industry.
“The industry is not made up of just major companies,” he said. “It is made up of small independent firms like those in Oklahoma that produce a vast majority of our domestic production.”

For every CEO of a major company, Boren said, there are thousands of blue-collar jobs that are affected by the Obama administration’s energy policy.
“It is a policy that is very inadequate and has left so many on the Gulf Coast unemployed.” Boren said.

If Team Obama wants to destroy an entire industry it should at least do it honestly. They want to take away tax break incentives to oil drilling and exploration. Fine. But, do it by making the case that the government is broke and not able to allow incentive programs to continue. Then do that across the board without making winners and losers. Do it honestly and not to demonize the people working within the industry as the bad guys for doing their jobs - which is providing energy for our nation's needs.

A new obstacle is emerging in Texas that would hinder land drilling for oil and gas. Now the endangered species act may be used to include a desert lizard that would stop drilling - even on private property. I can't make this stuff up.

$61 million is being set aside in the budget for legal expenses at EPA.

Administrator Lisa Jackson says that the agency is setting aside $61 million of next year’s budget for legal advice. “Well, we are sued quite often,” she says, “by many sides.” Officials describe an agency stuck in the middle. Environmentalists think the EPA is too soft on polluters, and industry leaders feel they’re being singled out. So how bad is it? The EPA’s Office of General Counsel is defending 650 cases, say officials.

No doubt some of that will be used in Texas, if the anticipated declaration of the Dunes Sagebrush Lizard as an endangered species becomes law.

Specifically, the Dunes Sagebrush Lizard. That's the latest more-important-than-people critter being used to lock-up resources in the name of planet Earth. The drilling moratorium didn't cause enough pain, so onto the Endangered Species Act - known at the Sierra Club as "Ol' Reliable" - to make certain Texas has lizard-filled poverty.

Lizard or livelihood? That's what's at stake. And the pro-poverty Earth Firsters stratifying government can't have both. If it determines that the lizard is indeed endangered, the Fish and Wildlife Service will shut down the most productive oil counties in Texas, ban roads, and slow farm activity, as it "studies the ecosystem" for up to five years.

This should please Secretary of Energy, Steven Chu, who in 2008 said, "We must increase gas taxes to force people to turn to alternative energy. Somehow, we have to figure out how to boost the price of gasoline to levels in Europe."

It would be hard to imagine increasing taxes on gas as they are high now. The gas you purchase at the pump is the highest taxed commodity you will purchase. The oil and gas profits amount to 1% of the total. The government takes 41% off the top. Choosing green energy solutions to energy demands is one thing. To allow that choice to destroy the oil and gas industry in the meantime is unacceptable. Green energy solutions in the amount of production needed are decades away. Punishing the consumer with high prices as a way of engineering behavior in purchasing the product is wrong. There is no viable alternative to accommodate the masses. Insisting people purchase an electric car or hybrid auto is unrealistic.

In the meantime, life goes on. People have to get to work and take care of families. Hybrid solutions are coming but an overnight transformation is not on the horizon. Punishing an entire industry for votes in an ideological battle is wrong.

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