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The truth about gas prices

By John Bender
web posted May 12, 2008

The far left, including Barack Hussen Obama, and their shills in the dinosaur media are moaning about, and disparaging John McCain and Hillary Clinton's proposal for a temporary suspension of the federal gasoline tax.  The elites don't care that gas prices will keep many working Americans from taking any vacation this summer.  Nor do they care that the price of gas is forcing Americans to pay more for everything from food to clothing.  They're just outraged that anyone would expect the government to get by with a little less even while the citizens are suffering.

Mrs. Clinton suggested "paying" for the tax holiday by increasing taxes on oil companies.  A far better way to pay for the tax holiday would be to stop raping the highway trust fund to throw money down the toilet of so called mass transit during those months.  If the political hacks stopped plundering the highway trust fund during those months the money saved would more than offset the tax holiday without doing any harm what so ever.

But the tax holiday will do nothing to solve the real problem of the artificially high price of oil and everything made from it or shipped.  The real problem is that our liberal politicians will not allow companies to tap into most of our own oil.  Both Democrats and liberal Republicans are at fault.  The Destin Dome is just one glaring example of liberal politics trumping both our national security and national economic interests.

The Destin Dome lies 25 miles south of Pensacola, Florida.  It contains more than three trillion cubic feet of much needed dry natural gas.   Chevron acquired leases at Destin Dome in 1984 during the Reagan administration.  But Reagan was out of office before the field could be developed and Bush the Elder came to power.  Bush the Elder imposed an ill-conceived moratorium on leasing oil and gas fields off most of the Florida coast.

The initial hydrocarbon discovery on the structure occurred in 1987 on Chevron's Block 56 leaseholding. In accordance with the Coastal Zone Management Act, Chevron submitted an exploration plan to both the U.S. Minerals Management Service and the state of Florida, seeking approval to proceed with drilling operations.  Bush the Elder came to power while the application was pending and the Bush Commerce Department sat on the application waiting for Florida to act.

The plan was rejected by Florida political hacks, but the denial was overruled by the U.S. Commerce Department. After delineating the lease, Chevron again submitted a development plan in 1996 and Florida again moved to block them from harvesting the much needed natural gas.  Once again Chevron was forced to appeal to what was now the Clinton Commerce Dept.  The Clinton administration blocked any ruling by creating a catch 22.   Not only did the companies need Commerce to again overrule Florida, they also needed clean air permits from the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) before drilling could begin. In 1999, the Clinton Commerce Department refused to rule on the appeal until the Clinton EPA acted first. The Clinton EPA refused to act until Commerce ruled.  By setting up this shell game the Clinton administration left the matter to languish in bureaucratic hell, and the much needed natural gas untapped.

Finally disgusted with the Bush and Clinton administrations' failure to honor their contract, Chevron and partners filed a lawsuit against the U.S. government for denying the companies "timely and fair review" of plans and permits and an appeal concerned with the Destin Dome 56 Unit on July 24, 2000.  The Clinton administration lawyers dragged their feet on the suit and it outlived the administration.

Bush the Younger came to power in January of 2001 and instead of honoring the contract and harvesting the much needed natural gas, dragged the suit out running up the oil companies' legal expenses and denying the American people the much needed domestically produced energy. In 2002 as the gas and oil prices were raising drastically, Bush proposed buying back the leases instead of tapping the much needed domestic energy source.

The oil companies had had enough.  There was no way they could continue to fight.  The government didn't care what the suit cost because they have unlimited tax dollars to spend to fight against the interests of the American people.  The oil companies settled and enough domestic natural gas to heat every home in Florida for 16 to 20 years is now permanently blocked from getting to the American people.

Reacting to the news of the settlement, R. Skip Horvath, president of the Natural Gas Supply Association, said; "The Destin Dome was one of the largest fields in the Gulf of Mexico. We cannot continue to chisel away at America's own resources and expect to continue to be self-sufficient in filling future demand. National energy supply has certainly been handed a setback."

But the Destin Dome fiasco isn't the only case where liberal hacks blocked the domestic production of oil and gas reserves.  Huge reserves off the coast of North Carolina's outer Banks are also denied to Americans.  Other large reserves are also languishing untapped as Americans ship billions of dollars to despots and corrupt regimes around the world.

The truth is, the United States is awash in domestic oil and natural gas.  The Baken Oil Formation that covers North Dakota, as well as parts of South Dakota, and Montana, contains at least as much oil as there is in Saudi Arabia.  Other fields off both coasts and in Alaska as well as in our territorial waters in the Gulf of Mexico would also be available if the liberal hacks would let us develop them.  Our domestic oil reserves are so great we would not need to import one drop of oil if our politicians would stand up to the leftists and allow our companies to develop the fields.

We are also the Saudi Arabia of coal.  Our domestic coal reserves would last 500 years at the currently projected need for this energy source.  But instead of maximizing the use of this vast domestic energy resource, our politicians throw roadblock after roadblock in front of energy companies forcing them to use overpriced imported oil instead.

When you fill your gas tank or pay your electric bill you can thank the liberals we've put in office for the price you're paying.  As your food bill raises and the cost of air travel soars, as the cost of just about everything rises faster than your income, you can thank the liberal politicians and the people who voted for them.  There is no energy crisis.  There is a political crisis, and it's getting worse rather than better.

Of course, the dinosaur media will not tell you any of this.  Nor will the liberals who are firmly in charge of both major parties.  Nor will the talk radio shills tell you any of this unless the people get out in front on the issue like they did on the Bush/Kennedy/McCain amnesty for criminal aliens.  That's our only hope.

The trouble is, it doesn't look like it will happen. ESR

John Bender is a freelance writer living in Dallas.  He is a past staff writer for EtherZone.  His columns have appeared in both Internet and print publications.





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