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Day Two: Free Our Oil From Strategic Petroleum Reserve

American families and businesses continue to struggle with record high prices at the gas pump as the national average hovers above $4.10 per gallon. Yet the Bush-Cheney policy, an energy plan crafted by two oilmen in the White House, relies solely on expanding domestic oil and gas drilling and protecting tax breaks for Big Oil.  Newspapers across the country are dismissing “drill only” as a flawed energy policy - saying the argument for opening the Arctic Refuge and lifting the offshore drilling ban is a ‘ploy' and a ‘pander,' and would not reduce gas prices in the short term.

America uses nearly a quarter of the world's oil, but sits atop less than 2 percent of the world's reserves.  The fact is, we can't drill our way to energy independence or lower gas prices - but this Congress does support responsible drilling.  Oil companies already have leases on 68 million acres of federal lands that are open to drilling but not developed.

The Democratic-led Congress is working to bring real relief to those feeling the squeeze from high gas and diesel prices and launch a more affordable, cleaner, greener energy future and economic boom.

Mercury News Editorial (California): “Editorial: Offshore drilling opens oil pipeline to nowhere”

“The surge of gas prices…is hammering consumers and the economy. It calls for dramatic action - but instead of looking to the future, President Bush and Republican presidential candidate John McCain grope for answers in the discredited past: They want to end a 27-year ban on offshore oil drilling.

“It must not happen - and the peril to already-fragile oceans is the least of the reasons. The billions of dollars it would cost to pull finite supplies of oil from the bottom of the sea instead should be invested in renewable energy sources.

“The drilling proposal feeds America's self-defeating addiction to oil. But innovation can be a cure for long-range energy needs and restore the United States to economic leadership…” [6/22/08]

Baltimore Sun Editorial (Maryland): “Domestic oil drilling won't trigger a return to cheap gas”

“Consumer frustration over high gasoline prices has apparently been judged blind-rage inducing enough to trot out the usual discredited solution, domestic oil drilling. President Bush recently reiterated his desire to drill just about everywhere from Alaska's Arctic National Wildlife Refuge to the Gulf of Mexico as a way to offer consumers relief at the pump.

“Sen. John McCain, whose energy credentials were already suspect with his earlier endorsement of a counterproductive (at least as a solution to gas prices) summer-long gas tax holiday, joined the fray last week…

“Allowing oil companies to drill within 200 miles of the U.S. shoreline would certainly have an impact - but only on the environment and producer profits. Prices wouldn't go down. In global terms, North America doesn't have the reserves to do that…” [6/23/08]

Salt Lake Tribune Editorial (Utah): “Bush's crude: President's gas plan is a political ploy”

“Once an oil man, always an oil man. And once a con man, always a con man. No doubt, President Bush is showing his true colors with a four-prong strategy he erroneously claims will bring skyrocketing gasoline prices back to Earth.

“None of his election-year proposals - building new refineries, opening the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge to oil rigs, drilling in long-restricted areas of America's coastline and bypassing a ban on leasing federal land for oil shale development - will save you a nickel any time soon, if ever…
“Don't be fooled. A wise man would chart a course that weans us, not off foreign oil, but all oil. Wise voters will be looking for such a man in November.” [6/22/08]

Springfield News-Leader Editorial (Missouri) - “Drilling for oil not the solution”

“…Despite the delusions of those hyping drilling and oil shale as a solution, it can't be done. Domestic oil production is about 5.1 million barrels per day and dropping. ANWR might add 1.5 million barrels and extensive offshore drilling might add 1.1 million barrels. Oil shale reserves are essentially unrecoverable. Even at full capacity, we can produce only about one-third of our homeland needs…” [6/21/08]

Post Tribune Editorial (Indiana) - “Expanded drilling not answer on oil”

“…With the enormous impact of the cost of a gallon of gasoline, it is easy for emotion to cloud judgment. We shouldn't allow that to happen.

“Opening the coasts and wildlife areas to drilling will do more harm than good. And allowing each state to make the decisions about drilling off its coast is wrong. Contaminated water doesn't adhere to state boundaries, as we found out as a result of the damage caused to drilling rigs by Hurricanes Katrina and Rita.

“Drilling won't offer consumers much, if any, relief from high gas prices, but instead only will increase the record profits being raked in by the oil companies…” [6/24/08]

New York Times Editorial: “The Big Pander to Big Oil”

“This is worse than a dumb idea. It is cruelly misleading. It will make only a modest difference, at best, to prices at the pump, and even then the benefits will be years away. It greatly exaggerates America's leverage over world oil prices. It is based on dubious statistics. It diverts the public from the tough decisions that need to be made about conservation…

“The whole scheme is based on a series of fictions that range from the egregious to the merely annoying. Democratic majority leader, Senator Harry Reid, noted the worst of these on Wednesday: That a country that consumes one-quarter of the world's oil supply but owns only 3 percent of its reserves can drill its way out of any problem -- whether it be high prices at the pump or dependence on oil exported by unstable countries in Persian Gulf. This fiction has been resisted by Barack Obama but foolishly embraced by John McCain…” [6/19/08]

Seattle Times Editorial - “Bush's last gasp on oil”

“…America's energy independence will not be found in offshore oil drilling. Two federal bans exist to make that point. Relief from high oil and gasoline prices is a byproduct of conservation, a broader menu of energy options and increased efficiencies.

“Any imagined relief from an infusion of new oil supplies would be years away. News accounts make it clear the industry lacks the tools and capacities to find, recover and process more oil…” [6/23/08]

Boston Globe Editorial - “John McCain, drill seeker”

“...Maybe McCain doesn't mind lending his name to the oil industry's cynical efforts to scrap a wise policy, using sky-high gas prices as an excuse. Or maybe he really thinks more offshore drilling - which would take a decade to yield even modest amounts of oil - will bring prices down right now. Either way, McCain is disturbingly willing to sell out the marine environment to preserve an oil-guzzling status quo.

“There's too little oil off the US coast to have much effect on the world market. As the earth's climate warms, the federal government should be promoting conservation and identifying alternatives to fossil fuels - not just because rising demand from China and India makes oil ever more expensive, but because the welfare of the planet depends on it…” [6/23/08]

Newsday Editorial - “We Can't Just Drill Our Way Out of This”

“It sounds so simple. Painless even. Turn oil companies loose to drill in vast areas off the country's coast. There's crude there that, if tapped, would reduce the nation's dependence on foreign oil and lower the price of gasoline. Right?

“Yes and no. More offshore drilling could reduce the nation's reliance on foreign oil - though only a bit and no time soon. And it could drive down the price of gas - again, though only a bit and no time soon. It takes 10 to 20 years for oil to go from discovery to the gas pump.

“Officials and consumers should beware, lest a debate over drilling divert attention from what really needs to be done, which is conservation and expanding the use of alternative fuels. The nation will be dependent on oil for a long time to come. But using less of it is the only long-term strategy that makes economic and environmental sense…” [6/22/08]

Pensacola News-Journal Editorial (Florida) - “No magic drill bit to solve the oil issue”

“… the reality is that no matter how much we drill in the United States, by far most of our oil will continue to be imported until and unless we change our energy equation.

“The real solution is not desperate measures to chop a few pennies off the cost of gasoline, it is to create a sense of national urgency in attacking energy use as a priority national security issue with the aim of reducing our dependence on oil, not just foreign oil…

“What we need is new, innovative thinking to change how we produce and use energy. Trashing the environment to cut a few pennies off gas prices is old thinking that clings to the problem.” [6/22/08]

Hartford Courant Editorial (Connecticut) - “Preserve Drilling Ban”

“…Opening offshore reserves to drilling could expand domestic oil supplies by an estimated 18 billion barrels, according to the federal Energy Information Administration. Yet under a best-case scenario, the EIA says the impacts of supplies from the Atlantic, Gulf and Pacific regions wouldn't be felt on domestic production or prices until 2030.

“Clearly, that won't relieve the current crunch. But offshore drilling isn't a long-term answer, either.

“Drilling would expose the nation's shores to oil spills and other environmental devastation at a time when coastal resources -- fisheries and habitats especially -- are already severely strained. Spills also would muck up beaches and damage the multibillion-dollar tourism industry.

“Offshore drilling would also expand the nation's stake in fossil fuels at a time when we should be steering toward cleaner, renewable alternatives…” [6/24/08]

Peoria Journal-Star Editorial (Illinois) - “Bush would keep America addicted to oil”

“…Proponents have been pushing for three decades to drill in the Alaskan refuge and off the coasts. Oil companies have been trying to extract oil, economically, from sedimentary shale for about as long. So much for the 'breakthrough' ideas Bush promised two years ago…

“Conservation groups point out the potential drawbacks of drilling. Other industries could be impacted. Costly reclamation would be required. Is the trade-off worth it?

“Then there's the math. Americans consume more than 7 billion barrels of oil each year. The U.S. Geological Survey estimates that between 4.2 billion and 11.7 billion barrels of recoverable oil lie in ANWR's coastal plain, maybe not even a year's worth of oil consumption...

“Meanwhile, seven years plus and we still haven't seen a comprehensive energy plan from the Bush administration. The former Texas oilman's new strategy seems a last gasp from a leader who's realized that if he doesn't offer up some semblance of an energy blueprint before he leaves office, he'll be remembered as the guy under whom gasoline prices nearly tripled…”  [7/7/08]

Deseret News Editorial (Utah) - “No Quick Fix for Energy”

“…There are no quick fixes to the world's oil supply problem. Nor is seeking more hydrocarbons a solution to the nation's dependency on imported oil, considering the growing competition for available supplies from India and China. The solution lies in meaningful conservation measures and research on vehicles that are not fueled by petroleum products.” [6/24/08]

Albany Times-Union Editorial (New York) - “The Energy Panic”

“…Drilling there and off shore wouldn't necessarily add to the U.S. oil supply. The oil instead would go into the world supply. The United States controls a mere 3 percent of oil reserves. Some 75 percent of the world's oil production is consumed by people living outside the United States. That portion is most likely going to increase, too…

“We need to consume less energy, and that begins with steering clear of the panic button.” [7/4/08]