A lot of to-do about nothing

Special Commentary by Chris Graham
freepress2@ntelos.net

I can’t tell if this latest bit of misinformation involving Bob Goodlatte is from his congressional office or his campaign office – for some reason, I’ve not been getting news releases from either for a few months now – or if it’s the result of overzealousness on the part of The News Virginian.

So I can’t get upset that Goodlatte used our tax dollars to lead us astray, not yet, anyway.

There are plenty of other reasons to be bent out of shape, of course.

“Sixth District Congressman Bob Goodlatte, and other House Republicans, took to the House floor Friday to demand that Speaker Nancy Pelosi reconvene the House of Representatives to consider the comprehensive American Energy Act,” the report on the News Virginian website began. “Last Friday, Speaker Pelosi adjourned the House for the next five weeks, without voting on legislation to lower gas prices. Immediately following the vote on the motion to adjourn the House of Representatives, which Goodlatte voted against, the Speaker had the lights, microphones and CSPAN cameras in the House chamber turned off. ”

That’s an awful lot of hullabaloo about not much, considering that this American Energy Act was only introduced by Ohio Republican John Boehner on July 22. In case you were wondering, it’s a drilling bill, which means it would do nothing for us for 20 years, considering estimates from the Bush administration’s own Department of Energy regarding how long it would take new drilling to have an effect on gas prices.

So as you might guess, no, despite the rhetoric in the NV report, it isn’t legislation that would “lower gas prices.” Far from it, it’s just legislation that would call for leasing regulations for offshore natural gas by 2010, the removal of restrictions for outer continental shelf drilling, and the opening of sections of ANWR for drilling.

Considering that the American oil and gas industry already has 68 million acres under lease that it is not drilling, one has to wonder what adding more to that total would do to lower gas prices even in 10 years, much less today. One has to assume that the fact that there are all those millions of acres under lease that are not being drilled must mean that oil and gas companies consider it unprofitable to drill in this market. Giving them more leases would certainly add to their bottom-line holdings, but would do nothing to help any of us out here in the hinterlands paying $3.60 a gallon or more to fill ‘er up.

So we could probably do without the breathless rhetoric and grandstanding from the likes of Goodlatte, if that’s what this is, and I suspect that it is, and would stand to be better off if he and others in the elected-leader set would spend their time taking substantive steps to address our energy crisis.


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