Saturday, April 23, 2011

We Need Oil Drilling, Not a Commission, Mr. President

President Obama wants to blame the rising cost of gas at the pump for his low approval in the polling numbers. He announced that Eric Holder will form a commission to investigate any possibility of price gouging or price manipulation from Wall Street speculators or from the oil and gas industry. This is a smoke screen, my friends. Many times these commissions have been formed and nothing much at all is ever found. Obama simply wanted to say something to a campaign event audience that would bring a possible headline that he is actually doing something to circumvent further pain at the pump by those driving SUVs and trucks with big tanks.

Holder's commission is a distraction. And, distractions are a specialty with this administration. Rising gas prices don't help the president in polling numbers but they are just a piece of the puzzle. Obama's unfavorable numbers continue to rise because the longer he is in office, the evidence becomes more clear - the guy is in over his head.

Last week the House Natural Resources Committee traveled to Houma, Louisiana to hear testimony about the oil drilling moratorium that the administration says doesn't exist.

Testimony heard by the committee connected the dots of the moratorium - the "big oil" boogie man description of our nation's energy woes isn't taking the better part of the pain, it is ordinary working Americans who are supporting families and themselves from jobs in the industry.

As Lori LeBlanc, Executive Director of the Gulf Economic Survival Team, explained, “This moratorium was not on big oil, it was a moratorium on middle class Americans who had good paying American jobs working for small American businesses who support the American energy industry.”

It cannot be stressed enough. It is not just the "big oil" executives that see a shrinking profits report if drilling isn't allowed to happen off our own shores. Those truly hurting are the support industries - mostly small businesses along the Gulf coast. It is a domino effect. If drilling rigs aren't working then helicopter and boats taking personnel out to the rig sites in the Gulf are not running. Those hired to cook and do laundry on rigs aren't working. Parts companies are feeling the loss of business. Eating establishments and small hotels are feeling the pinch all along the Gulf coast. This isn't rocket science. This is economics 101.

Unemployed oil and gas drilling personnel aren't buying goods from merchants in their own communities. Just like the rest of the unemployed in our country, if they are struggling to pay a mortgage or rent or put food on the table, they are not buying movie tickets or enjoying a meal in a restaurant or buying anything considered a non-essential item.

This is common sense. By the president and his administration blatantly attempting to kill an entire industry sector in our country on the basis of a willfully strident ideology they are ruining life along the Gulf coast and other parts of the country, too. This is an administration that doles out big bucks from the American taxpayer and giving it to Brazil, for instance, and then telling Brazil that we will be their biggest customer. This is insanity.

Last week, the Natural Resources Committee passed three American Energy Initiative bills with bipartisan support that will help create much-needed jobs by boosting American energy production in the Gulf Coast and addressing skyrocketing gas prices nationwide. All three bills are expected to be debated on the House Floor in May.

It is some much needed action.

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