Finally, House to Allow Drilling Ban to Expire!

It seems the groundswell of public outcry was finally heard by the idiots (a.k.a., “House Democrats”) in Washington, D.C.  Late this afternoon, they announced they will finally allow a quarter-century-old offshore drilling ban to expire, according to an Associated Press news alert.

It began on this blog with a July 23 post in which I used a headline to declare Congress Should Delay Recess, Lift Drilling Ban.  Updates followed, keeping the issue in the spotlight:

Democrats Won’t Budge; Fuel Costs to Keep Rising (July 31)

World’s Deepest Offshore Drilling Rig Takes Root (Aug. 19)

‘Bought by Big Oil’ Paid for by ‘Big Labor’ (Sept. 8)

Readers Urged to Offer Input on Drilling Debate (Sept. 9)

‘Dry Hole’ Energy Bill Passes Democrat-Led House (Sept. 17)

Chinese Drill, Americans Suffer, Congress Sleeps (Sept. 19)

Hopefully, this post will mark the last time I have to point out how poorly Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi and her liberal colleague behaved during the energy crisis of 2008 — and, for that matter, during the past 25 years — when it comes to U.S. energy policy.

‘Dry Hole’ Energy Bill Passes Democrat-Led House

Oil and gas industry experts described it as a “dry hole” energy bill that “does little to increase oil and natural gas supplies and, in fact, may well result in less domestic production, which would make America more dependent on foreign energy.”  Regardless, the Democrat bill that purports to allow more offshore drilling passed by a vote of 236-189 in the U.S. House of Representatives.

The plan, according to an American Petroleum Institute statement issued prior to the vote last night, does more harm than good as follows:

  • It guarantees $18 billion in new taxes on the industry, which would discourage new energy production.
  • It offers the illusion of increased offshore access but with no guarantee that energy would ever be produced in new areas on the Outer Continental Shelf.
  • It all but guarantees that states will not agree to allow drilling off their coasts since the legislation does not permit states to share revenue derived from lease bids and production royalties.  The arbitrary 50-mile buffer puts off-limits some of the most potentially promising areas for oil and natural gas production.  In fact, under this bill, 15 billion barrels, or more than 80 percent of the OCS oil resources under current moratoria, would remain off-limits.
  • The “conservation of resource fee,” which proponents acknowledge is designed to force certain OCS leaseholders to renegotiate the terms of their lease contracts with the government, raises serious Constitutional and contract law concerns and likely would further reduce investment and lower domestic oil and natural gas production.  Imposing this fee also would undermine the U.S. reputation as being a safe place to do business, putting our country in the same league as nations that abrogate contracts at will.

Though API stood “ready to work with the Congress towards policies that encourage all forms of domestic energy production, while avoiding taxes, fees and penalties that run counter to our shared goal of increased energy security,” it’s apparent through the House vote that Speaker Nancy Pelosi and others in the Democrat-controlled House are content playing politics with the nation’s energy future.

According to a Wall Street Journal article this morning, it appears two slivers of hope still remain for those in favor of real solutions to safeguard that energy future:

  • The White House announced late Tuesday that Mr. Bush’s senior advisors would recommend he veto the House measure, should it reach his desk. The White House cited the royalty issue among its objections. The Senate appears unlikely to pass a drilling proposal, based on interviews with lawmakers in recent days.


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UPDATE:  The Bush Administration offered it’s opinion of the House Democrats’ actions. Below are the highlights:

  • The Administration strongly opposes H.R. 6899.  At a time when American families are in need of genuine relief from the effects of high fuel prices, this bill purports to open access to American energy sources while in reality taking actions to stifle development.
  • If H.R. 6899 were presented to the President, his senior advisors would recommend that he veto the bill.
  • Including these poison pills further demonstrates a lack of seriousness about expanding access to the vast domestic energy resources in the OCS.

Click here to view the entire statement issued by the White House this morning.

Scientists Harness Kinetic Energy from Keyboards

Researchers at the American Petroleum Research Institute’s Laboratory for Fuels announced today they have developed an economical means via which they can use the kinetic energy generated by users of computer keyboards to make a dent in the nation’s energy bill.

Keyboard Nanogenerator“The fact that many Americans spend eight hours or more per day typing on computer keyboards caused us to explore the feasibility of harnessing the energy being expended by computer users as they type,” said Dr. Isaac M. Postor, CEO at the St. Louis-based institute which receives a majority of its funding from DARPA, the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency.

“What we found is that the typical American office worker executes an average of 20,000 keystrokes per day,” Postor continued. “When harnessed using the nanotechnology we’ve developed, that number of keystrokes can power a 60-watt light bulb for one hour.”

Not yet named, that nanotechnology device appears similar in size and dimensions to a typical USB flash drive and, in fact, plugs into a computer’s USB port, Postor explained. The difference, however, is that this flash drive features a thin cord protruding from one end which plugs into any standard 110-volt electrical outlet.

“In essence, small nanogenerators inside this device enable computer users to send electricity back to their utility provider and thereby reduce their power consumption by several dollars per month,” Postor added. “Since more than half of Americans use computer on a regular — if not daily — basis, this device promises to make a significant dent in the ever-increasing energy costs.”

Postor expects to be able to market the device at a suggested retail price under $30, meaning that most users will realize returns on investment within one to two years, depending upon the amount of time spent at the keyboard.

For more information, click here to visit the institute web site.