Senate Democrats

Bush Republican Energy Plan – Good for Big Oil, Bad for Consumers

Since President Bush came to office, the price of gas has soared 182 percent, to $4.11 per gallon.  But Bush Republicans refuse to work with Democrats to address the root causes of these record prices, instead continuing to offer more of the same failed policies that have helped Big Oil reap record profits and squeezed American drivers.  Rather than giving oil companies more offshore land in which to drill – despite failing to produce any oil and gas from 68 million acres of existing leases, an area bigger than Colorado – Bush Republicans should work with Democrats to address the root causes of high gas prices, reduce America’s dependence on oil and invest in renewable energy to create jobs and lower gas prices.

Oil companies are not drilling in areas currently under lease:

There Are 68 Million Acres of Leased Federal Lands That Are NOT Producing Oil.

  • 33.5 Million Outer Continental Shelf Acres Under Lease Are NOT Being Drilled. There are 33.5 million acres of the federal OCS lands that are under lease but are not producing. In contrast, just 10.3 million acres of offshore leases are producing. [MMS, 2007]
  • 34.2 Million Onshore Acres Under Lease Are NOT Being Drilled. There are 34.2 million acres of the federal onshore lands that are under lease but are not producing. In contrast, just 13.3 million acres of onshore leased lands are producing. [MMS, 2007]
  • 68 Million Acres Is Slightly Larger Than Colorado – Bigger Than All But the 7 Largest States. 68 million acres is equivalent to 106,000 square miles, just larger than Colorado at 104,000 square miles. The only states larger are Alaska, Texas, California, Montana, New Mexico, Arizona and Nevada. [Enchanted Learning]

Just 21 Percent of Outer Continental Shelf Leases Are in Production. There are 7,740 active leases in the outer continental shelf and only 1,655 are in production. [Department of Interior]

Just 19 Percent of Outer Continental Shelf Acres Under Lease Are Producing. There are over 41,000,000 acres in the outer continental shelf have been leased for oil drilling, yet only 8,123,000 acres are in production. [Department of Interior]

Most recoverable offshore oil and gas is open to drilling:

79 Percent of Recoverable Offshore Oil Is Open to Drilling. Currently 79 percent of America’s technically recoverable offshore oil reserves are open for leasing, while just 21 percent are closed to drilling. [Minerals Management Service, 2006]

82 Percent of Recoverable Offshore Natural Gas Is Open to Drilling. Currently 82 percent of America’s technically recoverable offshore natural gas reserves are open for leasing, while just 18 percent are closed to drilling. [Minerals Management Service, 2006]

Bush Republicans have given billions in tax breaks to big oil, helping them reap record record profits as gas prices soar:

Big Oil Is Set to Receive $27 Billion in Taxpayer Subsidies From 2006-2010. According to Taxpayers for Common Sense, the oil and gas industry enjoys a variety of taxpayer support.  Today, these subsides include royalty relief, expensing of intangible drilling costs, and accelerated amortization of geological and geophysical expenses. Between 2006 and 2010, oil companies will receive taxpayer subsidies totaling $27 billion. [Taxpayers for Common Sense, 6/23/08]

On President Bush’s Watch, Big Oil Companies Have Made More Than $600 Billion in Profits. Since 2001, the major oil companies have amassed close to $600 billion in profits and they have used those excessive profits to purchase approximately $185 billion on stock buybacks rather than making serious and significant investments in clean alternative fuels, new refinery capacity and utilization, and renewable forms of electricity. [Based on ExxonMobil, Shell, BP, ChevronTexaco, and ConocoPhillips annual company financial reports for 2000-2008]

…Meanwhile, Price of Gas Is $4.11 Per Gallon. According to AAA’s Fuel Gauge Report, the national average price per gallon of gas reached $4.11 on July 7, 2007. [AAA Fuel Gauge Report]

  • Gas Cost $1.46 When President Bush Took Office, Has Risen 182 Percent on his Watch. When President Bush took office, the cost of a gallon of gas was $1.46. The average price of gasoline on July 7, 2008 was $4.11. Therefore, on President Bush’s watch gas prices have increased 182 percent. [Energy Information Administration; AAA]

Bush Republicans talk tough on oil speculation, but blocked legislation to strengthen regulation of oil markets:

Bush Republicans Blocked Passage of Bipartisan Legislation to Crack Down on Speculation in the Oil Market. Republicans objected to a unanimous consent request to pass legislation approved by the House 402-19 that would have directed the Commodity Futures Trading Commission to immediately crack down on oil speculation.

Senator Cantwell: So, Mr. President, while we’re taking a holiday, there’s no holiday for consumers on higher gas prices.  But one thing that we can do is make sure that the chief agency in  charge of policing these oil markets uses its emergency authority while we’re gone to do everything they can to protect consumers.  I think that this is important legislation and the fact that 402 of our colleagues also agreed, I think it’s time that we do the same thing.  As I said, they didn’t have a lot of too many to discuss this.  They were just all in an agreement that this is an emergency situation and we should make sure the CFTC uses that emergency authority.  So I ask unanimous consent that the Senate proceed to the immediate consideration of this House bill, H.R. 6377, the Emergency Marketers Emergency Act, which was just received from the House and the bill be read three times and passed, and the motion to reconsider be laid on the table, with no intervening action or debate.          

The Presiding Officer: Is there objection?

Senator Sessions: Mr. President, I would object. On behalf of the Leadership on this side. [Unofficial transcript, 6/27/08]  

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