The People of America's Oil and Natural Gas Indusry

Energy Today - March 17, 2011

Rayola Dougher

Rayola Dougher
Posted March 17, 2011 Unproductive: Senators Propose Penalizing Domestic Leaseholders: Alaska's senators teamed up Wednesday to deflate a bizarre idea floated by three colleagues -- to charge oil companies a steep penalty fee for any new federal oil leases they don't put in production. The legislation, introduced Wednesday by three Democratic senators, is a public relations stunt intended to distract from the difficulties government policies are creating for new domestic oil development even as fuel prices rise through the roof. The trio of sponsoring senators, in announcing their bill, said oil companies are contributing to high oil prices by hoarding leased areas for "a rainy day." To discourage this alleged behavior, they would slap an annual fee of $4 per acre on new leases if they remain undeveloped. The Obama administration has proposed a similar fee. But Alaska Sens. Lisa Murkowski and Mark Begich both noted development efforts on federal leases in or near our state often have been delayed not by dithering oil companies but by sluggish federal agencies.

Get the facts on 'use it or lose it' at Obama Energy Secretary: "Drill Baby Drill" Won't Make Us Energy Independent: So we can develop oil everywhere...except ANWR? We can develop oil everywhere except where the oil producers most want to develop oil? That sounds self-defeating, which is no doubt the point given that these guys don't actually want to develop oil resources, and Chu's claims about permitting for gulf coast off shore drilling are just plain misleading. According to the Energy Information Administration, the Obama administrations foot-dragging on permitting off shore drilling have already and will continue to lead to significant declines in gulf oil production. Erik Milito, upstream director for the American Petroleum Institute, also took the president to task for the way he talked about how much oil was being produced in the Gulf. "Production levels in 2010 are a credit to the vision of previous administrations, which opened areas to development, and to the men and women of the U.S. oil and natural gas industry who have produced more from our resources than anyone anticipated," said Milito.

EnergyInDepth: Fact Checking The USA Today: Hydraulic Fracturing is a Critical, Environmentally Proven Energy Production Technology: Taury Smith, NY State's Top Geologist, "a self-described liberal Democrat": "He said he has been examining the science of hydrofracturing the shale for three years and has found no cases in which the process has led to groundwater contamination." (Albany Times Union, 3/14/11); Fmr. PA DEP Sec. and Fmr. PennFuture CEO John Hanger: "It's our experience in Pennsylvania that we have not had one case in which the fluids used to break off the gas from 5,000 to 8,000 feet underground have returned to contaminate ground water." (Reuters, 10/4/10); Taury Smith: "As it turns out hydraulic fracturing itself appears to be safe." (WNED-NY, 3/15/11); EPA: "The [2004 EPA] study determined that fracturing posed 'little or no threat'" to groundwater. (E&E News, 2/24/11)

Additional Resources:

The Hill: Dems urge the president to open the Strategic Petroleum Reserve

The Hill: Top House Republican to Offer Drilling Bill Oil Extraction Tax Simplification Offered In State Senate As An Amendment