If Supply is not a Factor, Why Should Oil Companies “Use It or Lose It”?
Those opposed to new domestic oil drilling attempt to deflect criticism of their stance by pointing to factors other than supply which may be contributing to the high and climbing price of gas and heating oil. Count all four members of Rhode Island’s Congressional delegation in these ranks. In Sunday’s Providence Journal, John Mulligan describes the pro-drilling feedback they have received from constituents. [Paragraphs quoted out of order.]
Rep. Patrick J. Kennedy said energy prices were easily the top concern among voters who greeted him during the Bristol parade. “It must have been 30 times along the two-mile route” that constituents raised the topic. “They are saying the most about that over any issue in the 15 years” he has been in the House, Kennedy said.
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Sen. Jack Reed heard it on the Fourth of July parade routes and other members of the local congressional delegation have detected a similar message from Rhode Island constituents worried about the soaring price of gasoline and other oil products: “Drill. Drill. Drill.”
Senators Reed and Whitehouse and Congressmen Kennedy and Langevin have so far resisted the calls, pointing instead to other factors such as oil speculation and attempting to make the case that any new drilling would not affect retail prices for a very long time. Certainly speculation in oil futures and a weak dollar have had an upward influence on the price of oil, though the extent of the former is difficult to quantify.
Contradictorally, however, our Senators and Congressmen have indicated support for the so-called “use it or lose it” bill, legislation currently pending on Capitol Hill that would compel oil companies to promptly drill on the sixty eight million acres for which they currently hold exploration leases or hand the land back to Uncle Sam.
And here we reach the crux of the matter. Let’s hold off for a moment consideration of some reasonable questions of the efficacy of forcing exploration on the sixty eight million acres where the location and existence of oil is problematic (unlike in Anwr and off US shores) and remain focused on the logic and thought process of our elected officials. If drilling will not solve the problem, if supply is not the issue, why do all four gentlemen support this legislation? In a related matter, do they support the call by House Speaker Nancy Pelosi to tap US strategic oil reserves? If yes, why?