Today’s speech by President Bush calling for America to drill its way out of its energy crisis is, in the words of Sen. Harry Reid (D-NV), replete with the “failed policies of yesterday” designed to “pad the pockets of Big Oil.”
There are two central facts about fossil fuel use President Bush carefully avoided when he called on Congress to increase the supply of oil accessible to his industry cohorts:
– The United States has only 2% of the world’s proven oil reserves, but consumes 24% of the world’s oil production. There’s simply no way for us to drill our way to energy independence or eliminate what Bush calls our “addiction” to oil. [EIA 1/29/07, 6/9/08]
– The energy future Big Oil and Bush desire involves burning up the planet. The American Petroleum Institute is promoting an increase in oil demand of 45% by 2030, which would lead to global warming 8.9 to 11°F above pre-industrial levels — guaranteeing global catastrophe. Bush’s “rational, balanced” approach to global warming is in line with this scenario. [CAPAF 4/16/08, 4/25/08]
Bush’s justification for ending the federal moratorium on Outer Continental Shelf drilling that was signed into law by President Reagan and extended by President George H.W. Bush after the Exxon Valdez relies on misleading and false statements. In the Rose Garden today, Bush 43 said:
So my administration has repeatedly called on Congress to expand domestic oil production. Unfortunately, Democrats on Capitol Hill have rejected virtually every proposal — and now Americans are paying the price at the pump for this obstruction.
Congress — which was under Republican control for most of the Bush presidency — is not blocking drilling. The number of off- and on-shore drilling permits has exploded in recent years, going from 3,802 five years ago to 7,561 in 2007. Between 1999 and 2007, the number of drilling permits issued for development of public lands increased by more than 361%.
In fact, Congress and this administration have already opened the floodgates for more oil and gas drilling in the years to come. Since 2002, the number of permits issued has greatly outstripped the number of new wells drilled. In the last four years, the Bureau of Land Management has issued 28,776 permits to drill on public land; yet, in that same time, 18,954 wells were actually drilled. That means that companies have stockpiled nearly 10,000 extra permits to drill that they are not using to increase domestic production.