Sunday, August 21, 2011

Newt's newsletter on energy exploration

(So I have been late in getting this up, but there have have been a lot of things going on and I try not to go over five posts a day.)

But here it is. And as always to sign up for Newt's newsletter, follow this link.

Newt asked House Republicans to follow the lead of both Virginia Democrat Senators who have authored a bill that would open up offshore drilling. Which would, writes Newt, "create jobs, grow federal, state, and local revenues with no tax increase, and speed the production of American energy.

Since the vast majority of Americans favor an American energy policy for economic and national security reasons, this bill should be very popular with Democrats, Republicans, and Independents."

Offshore oil development could add more than 15,000 jobs in Virginia and add $3.2 billion to the Commonwealth’s economy, according to a 2009 report published by the American Energy Alliance.

Governor Bob McDonnell supports the bill. Both candidates for U.S. Senate from Virginia in 2012 (Democrat Tim Kaine and Republican George Allen) also support it. Since Kaine was previously Chairman of the Democratic National Committee, his support may make it easier for some Democrats to vote in favor.
McDonnell is a conservative Republican, as in Allen. So while some short-sighted conservatives balk at any idea of "bipartisanship," this bill is basically everything conservatives want in the area of offshore drilling.

Newt writes:
Senator Webb's statement described that the bill would direct the Department of Interior to include Lease Sale 220 in the nation’s 2012-2017 five-year oil and gas lease plan.

The area could have a resource potential of as much as 750 million barrels of oil, but again, that number is based upon seismic research done more than 30 years ago with technology that is out of date today. Given new exploration capabilities and new drilling technologies, the real number could be billions of barrels.

Such outdated estimates have often dramatically underestimated the potential of American energy. The estimate of the Bakken formation in North Dakota has jumped 25 fold (2500%) since 1995 due to new technology.

The amount of natural gas in shale has increased our estimated supply of natural gas by more than 15 fold (1500%) in the last decade.

A modest 4 fold increase in the oil estimated off the coast of Virginia would yield reserves of three billion barrels of oil—a supply worth hundreds of billions of dollars.

New oilfield innovation has turned around a 25 year decline in American oil production, and domestic supplies are growing once again.

American oil production could grow even faster if President Obama’s unnecessary regulatory barriers were removed. Drilling off the Virginia coast is an excellent place to start.
On the strategic value of passing bill that is great policy but also has significant Democrat support, Newt writes:
House Republicans should seize the opportunity.

They should pass the House bill exactly as it is and challenge the Senate to act on this bipartisan proposal.

There are a significant number of Democratic Senators who have said they favor energy development. This would be a chance for them to be bipartisan and solution-oriented.

With the support of some Democrats, President Obama would have to decide if he would veto a bipartisan bill that would creates jobs, energy, and federal revenues.

Offshore drilling has enormous potential to be a first step toward breaking gridlock in Washington and toward a real plan to American Energy for Prosperity. Washington should act soon on this truly bipartisan plan.
If the bill came up for a vote in the House, it would almost assuredly get some Democrats to vote for it. So would Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid really table a proposal that has bipartisan support in both chambers? And if he does, it's a great issue to take to the American people in just over 14 months.

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