Accuracy in Media

The year was
1967. I was on a private aircraft belonging to an oil company with my boss, the
late Senator Gordon L. Allott (R-CO). We were flying to Oklahoma City, where Allott
was to address the State GOP Convention. An oil company executive asked me if
ever I had seen oil shale. I said I had not. Whereupon he picked up a piece,
took out his cigarette lighter, and lit the piece. It burned like high grade
coal. The oil company man proceeded to tell me that if oil ever reached $30 a
barrel it would be profitable to develop oil shale. Even with inflation oil has
exceeded that price so why aren’t we developing the trillions of barrels of
oil-shale reserves. There is a one word answer to that question:
Congress.

I receive mail
from folks who tell me they don’t vote because there is no difference between
the political parties. In some ways they are correct but not when it comes to
energy. Representative Roy Blunt (R-MO), House Minority Whip, has presented his
colleagues with data which clearly makes the case that in terms of developing
oil and natural gas there is a profound difference between the parties, at least
in the House of Representatives.

Blunt’s figures
show that for the past 14 years 91% of House Republicans voted to develop oil at
ANWR while 86% of Democrats opposed drilling there. In the conversion of coal to
liquid category 97% of House Republicans supported the concept while 78% of
Democrats opposed it. Regarding the development of oil shale in Colorado and Utah the level of support among House
Republicans was 90% while the level of opposition to the development of oil
shale among Democrats was 86%.

When it comes
to oil exploration for the Outer Continental Shelf 81% of Republican House
Members said yes while 83% of Democrats said no. And look at this figure: 97% of
House Republicans want to increase refinery capacity while 96% of Democrats
said, no way. Historically, Blunt said, 91% of Republicans have favored
development of oil and gas reserves while 86% of Democrats historically have
been against oil and gas exploration and
development.

Blunt’s staff
also compared the plans of each of the parties to deal with the skyrocketing
price of gasoline. The Democratic plan includes seven investigations of
price-gouging, four investigations of speculators, suing OPEC, $20 billion in
new taxes against the oil companies. None of these would reduce the cost of
gasoline. The only item in their plan which would do so is to stop the oil going
to the Strategic Petroleum Reserve. That would lower the cost of a gallon of
gasoline by 5 cents The Republican plan would develop oil in the Continental
Shelf and develop it deep in the sea. It would develop oil shale, and it would
abolish earmarks to pay for the Federal gas tax holiday. Republicans and
Democrats agree on the Strategic Petroleum Reserve. Taken together these items
would reduce the cost of a gallon of gasoline by at least $1.95  and maybe a lot
more depending on the productivity of each of the development
projects.

What many of us
wonder is this: When will the people of the United States say enough is enough
and demand of their elected representatives that we develop our own resources?
If we did we would not need to import one drop of oil from these ruthless
dictators who would like to see us defeated or dead. I love the pristine beauty
of nature, too. But we have made so many strides in new technology that we do
not have to ruin the environment to explore and develop oil and gas. $4 a gallon
doesn’t yet seem high enough for a public revolt. What will do it? $5 a gallon?
How about $8 to $11, which is what some Europeans are paying already. I hope and
pray the revolt comes before it is too late.


Guest columns do not necessarily reflect the views of Accuracy in Media or its staff.



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