Senate Democrats

Reid: When It Comes To Ideas For Relieving Pain At The Pump, Bush Republicans Are Running On Empty

Washington, DC—Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid made the following statement today in response to Republicans’ energy plan:

“When it comes to ideas for helping Americans paying more and more every day at the gas pump, Bush Republicans are running on empty.  Their only answer is to drill for more fossil fuels and drill deeper into Americans’ pockets to line those of Big Oil.

“After seven years of disastrous policies and distorted priorities, it’s time for Republicans to care more about their constituents than their cronies.  It’s time they stand up to OPEC and countries that collude to set high oil prices.  It’s time they stand up to Big Oil instead of giving tax breaks and subsidies to companies that rake in record profits.  It’s time they stand up to greedy oil traders who manipulate the market.  The Bush Administration’s oil-friendly, anti-environment policies of the past seven years have resulted in one of the greatest shakedowns of American families in our nation’s history, and Democrats are committed to reversing them.”


Bush Republicans Offer The Same Old Ideas: Drill, Drill, Drill 

Today, Bush Republicans unveiled an energy bill that heavily favors Big Oil and OPEC, and would simply prolong our nation’s addiction to oil.  After seven years of Bush Republican policy failures that have driven the dollar down and energy prices sky high, the new Bush Republican energy plan has one overarching theme: drill, drill, drill down deeper into consumers and taxpayers pockets while failing miserably to shift our economy and our government away from the control of OPEC and the oil companies and their price-setting behavior.   

These facts must have eluded the Bush Republicans during bill drafting:   

America Consumes 25 percent of the World’s Oil, But Has Just 3 Percent of the World’s Oil Reserves. Americans consume 25 percent of the world’s produced oil, but our nation holds less than 3 percent of the world’s proven oil reserves. [NRDC]

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]

There Are 45.5 Million Acres of Federal Onshore Lands Leased to Oil and Gas Companies, But 31 Million Acres Are Not Producing.  There are 45.5 million acres of federal onshore lands currently leased by the oil and gas industry—but there is over 31 million acres not producing. Likewise, there are 33 million acres of the federal OCS lands that are under lease but are not producing. [Department of Interior]

Just 21 Percent of OCS Leases Are in Production, Just 19 Percent of OCS Acres Under Lease Are Producing. There are 7,740 active leases in the outer continental shelf and only 1,655 are in production.  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]                                 

On President Bush’s Watch, Big Oil Has Failed to Invest in Refineries Allowing Refinery Utilization and Capacity to Fall from 93 Percent to 89 Percent. Since 2001, the Big Oil companies have failed to adequately invest in new refinery capacity and utilization and which has resulted in a reduction of refinery utilization and capacity from 93 percent to 89 percent. [Energy Information Administration]  

The Bush Republican Strategy of Focusing Solely on Drilling Only Prolongs America’s Addiction to Oil and Reliance on OPEC. The Bush Republican strategy will only further exacerbate the American taxpayer’s padding of OPEC treasuries.  Since 2001, almost $100 billion more taxpayer dollars have been sent to OPEC per year. Specifically, $41 billion was sent to OPEC in 2001, by 2007 the amount rose to $140 billion. [U.S. Census Bureau; Foreign Trade Statistics]