EPA standing in the way of more oil coming out of Alaska

Rep. Fred Upton Blames EPA for Obstructing Alaska Oil Drilling

Uploaded by on Jun 22, 2011

House Energy and Commerce Chairman Fred Upton (R-MI) visited Heritage yesterday and sat down to talk about the high price of gasoline and why more energy production is the answer.

The House of Representatives did pass the bill that the Congressman is talking about but the Senate killed it.
H.R. 2021, the Jobs and Energy Permitting Act of 2011

The bill would eliminate needless permitting delays that have stalled important energy production opportunities off the coast of Alaska. Rather than having exploration air permits repeatedly approved and rescinded by the agency and its review board, the EPA will be required to take final action – granting or denying a permit – within six months. The Jobs and Energy Permitting Act of 2011 would speed up the permit process to help create jobs.

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Liberals like Max Brantley of the Arkansas Times Blog have always been critical of any votes that would encourage more oil exploration in Alaska, but it is time to do so. We have to get these gas prices down. Take a look at this fine article from the Heritage Foundation:

Mike Brownfield

April 25, 2011 at 12:03 pm

There are an estimated 27 billion barrels of oil waiting to be tapped in the Arctic Ocean, off the coast of Alaska. But after spending five years and nearly $4 billion, Shell Oil Company has been forced to abandon its efforts to drill for oil in the region.

With gas at $4 per gallon and higher, one might think that more oil would be a good thing. So what’s the road block? The Environmental Protection Agency. Fox News reports that the EPA is withholding necessary air permits because of a one square mile village of 245 people, 70 miles from the off-shore drilling site. From Fox News’ Dan Springer:

The EPA’s appeals board ruled that Shell had not taken into consideration emissions from an ice-breaking vessel when calculating overall greenhouse gas emissions from the project. Environmental groups were thrilled by the ruling.

“What the modeling showed was in communities like Kaktovik, Shell’s drilling would increase air pollution levels close to air quality standards,” said Eric Grafe, Earthjustice’s lead attorney on the case.

Who at the EPA made the decision? Springer writes:

The Environmental Appeals Board has four members: Edward Reich, Charles Sheehan, Kathie Stein and Anna Wolgast. All are registered Democrats and Kathie Stein was an activist attorney for the Environmental Defense Fund. Members are appointed by the EPA administrator.

President Barack Obama said in his weekly address on Saturday that “there’s no silver bullet that can bring down gas prices right away,” but that one thing America can do is pursue “safe and responsible production of oil at home.” Too bad his words and his actions are not one and the same. Aside for the EPA’s decision on Shell, the Obama administration has imposed a months-long moratorium on deepwater offshore drilling that curtailed domestic production and sent some seven drilling rigs elsewhere.

The Heritage Foundation’s Nicolas Loris recommends the following actions for Congress and President Obama if they truly want to expand access to America’s domestic energy supply:

  • Allow access to domestic reserves. Permitting exploration of reserves in Alaska, Colorado, Wyoming, and federal waters offshore would inject confidence into the market, create jobs, and stimulate the economy.
  • Roll back regulatory burdens on companies. Strapping companies with onerous regulatory processes only hinders access. Litigation opportunities should be limited and the permitting process made more rational.
  • Issue offshore drilling permits. Lifting the de facto moratorium on offshore drilling permits would gain companies access to domestic resources and increase our domestic energy supply.

Now it’s your turn. What do you think about the EPA’s decision? Join in the conversation by leaving a comment below.

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