Production of oil within the United States is the highest it’s been in ten years. The average price of gasoline in the United States is twenty cents lower than it was a year ago.
Nonetheless, this week, the U.S. House of Representatives approved H.R. 6082, a bill by Doc Hastings that would take Barack Obama’s radical expansion of offshore drilling and make it even larger. Why?
The excuse for H.R. 6082 was that the United States is importing too much petroleum from foreign countries, and so needs to produce even more within its own borders. Actually, the percentage of oil being used by Americans has already dropped – by eleven percent.
Besides, the perpetual cause of dependence on foreign oil is that the United States consumes too much of the filthy stuff. Americans consumption of petroleum is more than one fifth of all the petroleum consumption on Earth, yet the USA has only two percent of the world’s underground oil available to tap. No amount of offshore drilling is going to change that fact. The data clearly show that the rate of importation of oil from foreign oil is correlated with the rate of consumption of oil by Americans.
The rants from Republicans about dependence on foreign oil are just a bluff, but before H.R. 6082 was passed, U.S. Representative Ed Markey called that bluff. He introduced an amendment to the legislation that said, in effect, that if we’re all so worried about dependence on foreign oil, let’s make sure that this bill addresses that. Markey’s amendment would have simply required all gas obtained under new offshore drilling leases to be sold in the United States, rather than exported to foreign countries.
Doc Hastings was furious that Markey would offer such an amendment. So, Hastings voted against it. So did almost all of the other House Republicans.
Six Republicans, though, had sufficient integrity to vote for the Markey amendment. They were: Michael Fitzpatrick, Jeff Fortenberry, Chris Gibson, Walter Jones, Frank LoBiondo, and Chris Smith.